Those old enough to remember Star Trek, or geeky enough to have watched the repeats, will remember that every episode, the crew were beamed down to some hostile planet. Among them would be one or two people you’d never seen before who were wearing red shirts. They were always the ones to get zapped by the aliens.
HR Minion gives some advice on how to avoid becoming a red shirt. Finding myself a niche and a peculiar but useful mix of skills always worked for me. Or, at least, I think it did. Then again, I might just have been lucky.
A couple of months ago, Chris Dillow reported that, despite the approaching recession, 87% of employees expected to keep their jobs. In other words, most of us think the red shirts are being worn by other people.
In the light of recent events, I tend to agree with Chris that the influence people have over whether or not they will be fired is marginal. The sheer scale of some recently announced job cuts means that anything individual employees can do will be about as effective as clinging to a tree in a tsunami. It might just work but most people will still get swept away.
Loyalty, skills and a record of good results, hard work and long hours will count for little. Thousands of people who thought they were Spoks, McCoys or even Kirks will soon discover that they have been wearing red shirts all along.