Make us your home page
Instagram

Fear of job loss making employees try harder

As the ranks of the nation's unemployed grow, more Americans are changing the way they behave at work and at home. • With deep waves of layoffs and experts predicting joblessness will continue for at least another six months, fear, uncertainty and anxiety are taking hold. Worried workers are afraid to take time off, some even sinking into depression. Others are canceling vacations, working longer, dressing better, getting more training and accepting all business travel requests.

"There's more fear about what might happen than what's actually happening," says Steve Zaffron, CEO of the Vanto Group, a consulting firm. "Workers who still have a job are worried about when the other shoe is going to drop."

On maternity leave, Miami labor lawyer Grace Mora can't help but feel concern. Layoffs have become an industry standard, with dozens of the nation's top law firms showing practitioners the door and a torpid job market, according to the National Law Journal.

Six weeks into her maternity leave at Hunton & Williams, Mora began getting work FedEx'd to her home. In August, she decided to limit her leave to 12 weeks and postpone four weeks' vacation.

"Certainly, all the layoffs reaffirm I have to get back," Mora says. "I don't feel like my job is in jeopardy, but you never know."

Most significant, the sense of job entitlement is evaporating as unemployment figures rise. Workers are afraid to say no to business travel, demanding assignments or adding the work of those who were laid off. Michael Goldberg, a shareholder at Akerman Senterfitt in Fort Lauderdale, says young associates at his firm are working harder and no longer asking for raises. "They have less options than before, so they are taking it more serious."

Small-business owners say fear is driving them harder, too.

Sharon Thompson feels increased pressure to be "accessible and available" for clients of her Miami personnel staffing firm.

"It's harder to find time for a personal life," she says. "I'm working harder than ever to make not even as much."

Dressing in hopes of success

Even more, fear of unemployment appears to be speeding up the resurgence of power clothes. In Coral Gables, Christian Garcia, bespoke tailor of high-end suits, says formality has returned to workplaces. He's seeing more executives trying harder to dress for success, wearing white shirts and classic quality suits. "They feel the need to look good, more serious and less flashy."

Motivated to try harder

To impress the boss and clients, employees also are taking courses, getting additional training and networking more. "These are things people should have been doing anyway. They knew they should, but there was not a pressing need," says career/life coach Deborah Brown-Volkman.

Fear of job loss making employees try harder 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works

    Retail

    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  2. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  3. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  5. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil

    Corporate

    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]