Would you prefer a layoff or a demotion?

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Editor & Publisher reports:

When a newspaper cuts its staff, those who remain in the depleted newsroom become valuable. But as The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. slowly says farewell to 151 newsroom folks who took buyouts last month, at least two longtime journalists have been reassigned to the mailroom.

That’s right. The reporters were considered so valuable they were kept on to sort and deliver their colleagues’ mail. What does that journalism degree earn you if not the right to hand out press releases and ask for a signature on a package?

As layoffs decimate my industry, I feel like every conversation I have with friends in the biz is about what they’ll do next — and I’ll tell you, it ain’t journalism. It ain’t sorting mail, either, though. Which makes me wonder about what motivates people to take such a dramatic demotion. Not that there’s anything wrong with postal delivery; it’s an honorable, honest job. But it’s not what those two reporters trained for or worked so hard to attain. And let’s face it: in the corporate world, the mail room is an entry point, not a destination.

How low on the totem pole would you go to hang on to your employment?