Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To the best of their Jabil-ity

There's certainly more than enough pain to go around on the job front, isn't there? Pink slips, "jobless recovery", unemployment benefits that are running out - even after they'd been extended so long that they were starting to look like almost like a UK-style permanent dole...

As anyone who's been laid off can tell you, there's only so much the company giving you the boot can do for you.

If you're lucky, and you were working for a "good" (and lucky) company, you get a decent severance package, decent outplacement services, and maybe even a hanky to cry into.

If you're unlucky, and were working for "bad" and/or unlucky company, you get shown the door. (Don't let it hit you as it slams behind you on the way out.)

But with all the bad news, there's occasionally, if not a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of true decency on the part of the company doing the laying off.

I read about one a couple of week's ago in a Boston Globe article that wrote about the local facility of Jabil Circuit, which is letting go over 300 workers as they shut down their plant in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Jabil earlier this year gained national attention when it advertised its plant closing and urged other companies to hire its “exceptionally skilled and experienced workers.’’

It has continued to follow through, working with the state to match its workers to training programs, and to job openings.

Jabil worked with the state to set up an "emergency" career center at the plant, donated computers and printers for the workers to use, and - with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts playing matchmaker - set up a recruiting effort for Raytheon - which has some jobs opening up for skilled manufacturing workers - to come and interview Jabil employees.

In addition to being less crowded than the presently over-taxed state career centers, the Jabil career center provides the benefit of having the laid off employees see their friends and colleagues. (As anyone who's been laid off can tell you, one of the worst things is being suddenly cut off from the folks you've been spending most of your time with for the last n years.)

Of course, having Raytheon there in the wings with some actual jobs certainly helps make this a relatively rosy situation. And I'm sure the small-ish number of employees involved helps, too.

Still, with all the terrible stories we keep reading about, it's nice to hear about a company that's treating its employees so decently. I know nothing about their business, but I do hope that fortune smiles on Jabil. If nothing else, efforts like this certainly have to help with morale of Jabil workers, wherever they are. And a lot of people, in fact, do prefer to do business with firms that show a modicum of goodness, so Jabil may get back far more than it has invested in the outplacement support they're giving their employees.

I was also going to say that it's also nice to see something modestly positive about government -  something that would seemingly have few nay-sayers. Then I thought about how those who see government ogre-ism, mismanagement, and waste everywhere would surely see this effort as communistic involvement in the inner working of divinely-inspired capitalism. And how those who are driven insanely jealous by any benefit that accrues to someone who doesn't share their name, habitat, or ethnicity, would point out that every hour spent by a state employment counselor with one of those 300 Jabil employees represented a loss of one minute each to 60 equally deserving ex-employees who didn't work for Jabil. (No wonder El Globo didn't allow comments on this article.)

Still, even an old cynic like me was happy to see a bit of a feel-good story for a change.

1 comment:

Thomas Rogers said...

I love the "jobless" recovery comment. Bernake said we may be "technically" out of the recession but we will see increasing unemploymnet. Remember in the 80's we said if you have a job its a recession, if you don't its a depression. Maybe twenty million of us will remember the great depression of the 21st century and 330M will just remember they kept their car for a few more years.