The Page 6, Feb. 12 commentary by Clare Goldsberry (``In defense of downsizing: the management glut buster'') must have rung more bells than mine! Her plea for understanding of the current trends for reducing staff is a reasonable one. However, she must realize that there is more than one reason why middle managers take so long to find jobs, other than the ``fact'' that all they know how to do is manage.
How about that forbidden factor - age?
How many of those so-called no-talent middle managers are over 40? Also, any management recruiter will tell you it takes an average of four to six weeks per $1,000 of annual salary to find a job. Most job-seekers I have met are looking to make ends meet and are willing to change career paths, even at the age of 50-plus, in order to find employment.
As for pitying corporations that are only firing staff in order to improve their competitive edge, if these same companies had expanded properly, they wouldn't be in the bind they are in today and the middle manager and line employee would not be faced with financial loss - or, in extreme situations, ruin.
I don't feel sorry for companies that are cutting back in order to become competitive - they are only reaping what they sowed. Too many times here in Connec-ticut we have seen serious cutbacks in employment only to see the same companies reward top managers for ``rescuing'' the firm from financial loss by giving them large bonuses.
How many of those in the executive echelon of management are ``downsized'' when the company sees its bottom line eroded? How many upper managers take pay reductions or refuse the performance bonuses offered them when heavy firings result in an improved net gain for the firm?
Ms. Goldsberry, please don't paint, as you have, all middle managers as having no skills or talent. Yes, your father was correct - if you have a marketable skill you will always have a job. Just remember that a large number of middle managers came up from line positions and do have skills that they can fall back on. However, the sad truth is that due to heavy labor cutbacks, there are more applicants than jobs.
I have no argument with the point that American businesses must improve their internal structure in order to become competitive in the modern world marketplace. And yes, our educational system may have produced a large number of managers - however, this is the fault of the same corporations now firing those ``excess managers.''
Perhaps if corporate America hadn't climbed the pedestal and had stayed in touch with reality, America and its citizens would not be faced with the embarrassment of being called an also-ran!
As to my personal situation, I am fortunate to work for a small, well-managed corporation that manages its growth by logical and careful expansion of its markets and work force - with one pacing the other.