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Packaging pros project concerns over economic uncertainty

The impact of the 2009 economy evoked strong emotions among salary survey respondents who expressed everything from despair over lost jobs to enthusiasm about new opportunities.

Given a chance to freely express their opinions on the impact of the economy on their business in 2009, packaging professionals spoke their minds. What follows are some of the most thoughtful responses, some of which were edited for clarity.

• “In 2008 my responsibilities were more than doubled with minimal pay increase, a promised promotion, and a pay increase that I should have seen in 2009 that did not occur. I did get a merit increase. No merit increases are being given in 2010 and 401(k) matching is discontinued. I am expected to get the same or more work done with fewer people and am expected to be happy I have a job. I am disappointed in my attitude and feel the best thing I could do would be to find another position where I could start over with positive energy.”

• “It really hasn’t impacted us that much. In fact, it allowed us to add on to our warehouse at a lower price due to interest rates and abundance of construction firms competing for limited work. It also allowed us to purchase our products at better pricing due to increased competition from suppliers. Of course we [have] also seen an increased push from our competitors, so that’s kind of a nonissue. I think we’ve been fairly isolated from the recession here in the Midwest due to the more conservative nature of the banks and their lending practices, so it’s been somewhat business as usual.”

• “Doing more work…and the company is not recognizing the lack of people vs. workload, and expect me to handle it. I want and do a great job, but am getting very tired and are many others.”

• “I’m lucky to be working in an area that continues to grow—sustainability. I’ve not experienced any negative impact from the economy. There’s always uncertainty in employment, but right now sustainability is valued by my company and our customers, and is seen as something that can help with cost savings.”

• “No merit increases in two years. No upgrade in position status in 10 years. Fewer designers remaining with the company after layoffs, but the workload has remained the same, meaning that everyone is doing more in less time, with no additional benefits. Currently working 10-hour days to compensate for extra work load/time constraints, at the expense of family/personal time. Bleak economic outlook, more layoffs looming, and few outside opportunities in this area for other work.”

• “Packaging is still strong despite the economic downturn. My company invested heavily during this time to boost sales but did not hire more design/engineering staff to support this. My workload is probably 50 percent higher than in 2008.”

• “Effective leadership has the responsibility to accept the majority of the sacrifices when times are tough. Everyone shares the burden so we can hopefully survive the current crisis and be able to return to sustainable growth this year.”

• To read even more responses, please visit

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