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Is Our Profession at a Crossroad James Green DRJ

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14 DISASTER RECOVERY JOURNAL | FALL 2020 Is Our Profession at a Crossroads? By JAMES GREEN A s the world turned upside down this year, my new morn- ing routine has become this: wake up, workout, meditate, stretch, shower, and catch up what's going on in the world while I drink a few cups of coffee, the last great vice. In full disclosure that is my GOAL morning routine, and it is quite often derailed by late nights and stress. But one part of that routine remains constant: catching up on what happened overnight. As I work through my traditional news sources and end up on social media, there is one type of troubling post on LinkedIn I am seeing with more and more fre- quency. It goes something like this: "Today will be my last day at GlobalCorp. I have enjoyed my time working in the business continuity department and am looking forward to my next chapter." Have you seen something similar? I notice a few of these a week now, and have for months. My heart goes out to all of our col- leagues who have lost their job this year. This is an issue that hits close to home for me. One of my best friends and multiple members of my immediate family, includ- ing my wife, have all been laid off since March. Amidst all of the carnage, there is an issue with which I have been struggling: How can a company layoff business continuity staff during the biggest global business continuity event of my life time? To me, there are two types of layoffs organizations perform. The first is when there has been a long-term change or disruption to the business or market. Blockbuster Video had to close stores and downsize staff as the consumer preference for watching and renting movies moved to online streaming. We will save how Blockbuster missed this market shift for another day. A more recent example is the commercial airline industry. According to Flightrader24, a website which tracks global flights, commercial airline travel in April and May was down 74% and 70% respectively compared to the same time last year. As COVID-19 continues to spread, particularly in the U.S., many airlines believe leisure and business travel will be impacted for months on end, if not longer. Airlines feel they need to adjust staffing levels in order to survive. This is an unfortunate byproduct of a global pandemic, but there is rational thought behind them. There is another type of layoff which I call panic layoffs. Organizations trying to manage a quarterly financial target often engage in these types of layoffs. The long-term damage to a company from these types of downsizing often outweigh the immediate financial benefits. One of the negative effects is loss of institutional knowledge. Another is pushing second- ary or tertiary responsibilities onto the employees who are left, employees who may not be qualified to do the job. We are seeing both types of layoffs in today's market. But how is business continuity staff on the dreaded "list"? One of the biggest challenges we as professionals often face is convincing management to plan ahead, to look past the here and now.

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