"Impossible until inevitable" completely on target
Once again, you are on target with your musings. Very few people consider that the mill where they work will ever close and most certainly not prior to their retirement. I was one of them. But….my experience has not supported that. All of the three paper mills where I have been employed have closed; two dismantled completely and the site sold and one is currently going through a reconfiguration process where portions of the mill have been modified and restarted. In all three, astute employees could have seen the end coming---maybe not the timing, but the eventual end. In two of the cases, employees and the unions were routinely informed of profitability (or lack of it) and progress against financial goals, and involved in discussions as to how the mill could improve it delivered results. In these two mills, the employees could clearly see the end coming. In one, they even had a feeling for the timing such that the announcement of the 90-day WARN Act shutdown notice was not a shock.
All employees need to become involved with the financial performance of their company as well as their primary competition. They need to read trade publications to gain understanding of what is happening around them. This may sound like an unreasonable expectation on the one hand, but on the other what can be more important than being aware of the likelihood that the paychecks will keep coming and fringe benefits will be maintained. Properly informed, we might anticipate bad news and begin to prepare for a career shift before the black curtain is dropped. All of us should see this as a primary responsibility of the wage-earner in today’s family.
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