We’ve been here before.
We’ve listened to a major employer who for decades said one thing and often did another. We’ve heard whispers and listened to double talk about what’s in the ground (or isn’t) and about plans to reopen and what the future holds. Our future is not our past.
We’ve seen Plum Creek as a solid community supporter and employer for a long time. Yes, there have been layoffs and temporary closures, but the company continued to support local causes and invest in CFalls – such as the MDF plant and technology infrastructure.
Yet buyouts change things.
We’ve been here before.
No matter what a company says they’ll do after the buyout, companies have a fiduciary obligation to shareholders. No matter what they feel obligated to say, redundant facilities are ALWAYS on the short list for elimination. It’s common sense.
It’s unrealistic, if not wishful thinking to believe that a company says that “closure of (your local) facilities isn’t planned” after buying out a massive competitor.
Columbia Falls knew better. We understand companies have to say those things. The officers have a responsibility to protect the company. That includes not inciting panic, drama or worse by telling staff in that area that “closures are possible but we don’t anticipate closing anything here”.
In this situation, a company’s thought process has to include something like “If we tell them what’s planned (or what we think will happen), people will leave (including some we want to stay), and those who stay will be distracted (or worse). The speculation will negatively impact the attitude and performance of the CFalls team.”
When buyouts happen, people worry about feeding their family, much less being able to take care of a house payment, the bills, college expenses, etc. You expect that. Professionals take care of business, even when worried about their families – no matter what the press release said.
I’m losing my job, now what?
Even though we’ve been here before, that doesn’t make it any less scary, worrisome, or frustrating. The pressure to produce cash flow to feed the family and pay the bills is on everyone’s mind.
If you’re targeted for layoff, I’ll bet you have skills, experience and knowledge that you’ve taken for granted for years. They’ve become second nature to you. I could wake you up at 2:00 am and ask you something related to whatever you do or know and without having to think about it, you’d rattle off great advice about how to deal with it, fix it and/or do it.
This is an opportunity to take control, even though you probably don’t feel you have much of that right now. You might have a dream that was always delayed by the “golden handcuffs” of a long-term job. Can you pursue it now?
There is no better time than now to start your own business. There is no better motivation than to create some control over your family’s economic future. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be yours.
It’s easy to say the phrase “redundant facilities“, isn’t it? Who would want such a thing? Sounds wasteful.
When you say “redundant facilities“, you don’t have to think about 200 families who are wondering how they’ll pay their bills. It lets you sidestep the economic effect the job losses could have on the community. Say it, and you don’t have to wonder about the impact of families who leave the valley in order to meet their employment / financial needs. Saying “redundant facilities” allows you to ignore the impact on the CFalls real estate market, schools, charities and businesses.
If you’re wondering who will come riding into town on a white horse and rescue Columbia Falls, don’t. We know that no one will do that, and that’s OK. Columbia Falls doesn’t need someone to rescue it.
Columbia Falls is not a redundant facility.
As always, the people of Columbia Falls will make do, find or create new careers, recognize market opportunities, and find a way to manage the economic risks we all face. When you see a new business pop up in town, take a chance on them – and keep visiting our existing businesses. They feed Montana families right here in town.
Columbia Falls is open for business. It’s a great community with awesome, welcoming, kind people and to me, the only place that feels like home. Come see us.