BEWARE The Ides of March is Coming! You May Want to Run to the Bathroom to Hide.

Beware! The Ides of March Approaches!

The Ides of March in the Bio-Pharma Industry

Lay-offs and Lessons

I’m sure every industry has its “Ides of March.” It just so happens that the one in BioPharma (Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals) literally coincides with the original date around the 15th of March. Go figure. (Or at least it has for the majority of my tenure).

Although, I do think it’s kind of fitting. You know, the whole Brutus stabbing Ceasar in the back saga coinciding with BioPharma companies taking out the ‘low performers’ or ‘laying off ‘ staff to reduce costs.

Now, I’m probably only saying that since I have PTSD from the stress it caused every year (at a certain employer who shall not be named).

Knowing another round of lay-offs were coming that March because I was planning for it myself in FP&A, was traumatic enough. Watching it happen, year after year, seared it in my long-term memory.

That said, I can distinctly remember running for the bathroom one year when I saw our Executive Director coming towards our office cubes. All in the hopes that if he couldn’t find me, he couldn’t fire me.

Or at least that was what I was hoping. Pretty sure it wouldn’t have helped if he really was looking for me.  But I always managed to dodge that bullet.

Now even though I never got the ax on this day I did learn a few lessons from it all. One of them is, it doesn’t matter your tenure or how hard/late you work.  Your head can ALWAYS be put on the chopping block when it comes to hitting a number.  (And even if you’ve just been promoted).

Another, hiding in the bathroom never helps. It only delays the inevitable while ‘stinging the nostrils.’ And quite frankly, there are better places to hide. Just not as close.

Let’s not forget that having a friend in finance (more specifically FP&A) is helpful. They see budget cuts, headcount changes, and long-term plans for the companies’ expenses. I don’t think I need to explain why this is useful.

Oh, and don’t forget the most important of them all. There are some mistakes you can never come back from. As my old boss use to say, “You can do anything, ONCE.

The Ides of March is the 74th day in the Roman calendar, corresponding to 15 March. In 44 BC, it became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar.


Wikipedia – Ides of March

The Ides of March in the Bio-Pharma Industry

Lady Luck

I’d be a jerk if I didn’t mention the other side of the coin when it comes to Pharma. in March. Just because a murderous plot of a dictator tends to be viewed as negative, doesn’t mean there isn’t a silver lining to the cloud.

If you get through the layoffs unscathed, then you get to reap the benefits. And in the Pharma Industry, those benefits come in the form of bonuses and stocks. And I’m not talking about a few pennies.

We’re talking buy yourself a new car, kitchen, or months’ vacation to the Bahamas types of bonuses.

I haven’t heard of too many other industries that take care of their employees as well as big Pharma/Biotech (aside from Wallstreet, Finance, and Tech). And it’s for that reason, Pharma has kept me hooked for over 20 years!

If you have the grit to go through it, you will definitely reap the rewards.  Just make sure you stock up on some tums in the beginning of the month!

BEWARE The Ides of March is Coming! You May Want to Run to the Bathroom to Hide. 1

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