'All I Want for Christmas Is a Layoff'

Sure, placing your head on the chopping block if the company asks for volunteers is perfectly acceptable, as long as you're confident about your future job prospects, said headhunter Nick Corcodilos, author of "How Can I Change Careers?" target="external" and host of AskTheHeadhunter.com, an online clearinghouse of job hunting tips.

But, Corcodilos advised, "I would not step up and ask for a layoff if the company is not offering it. You'll brand yourself lazy or unmotivated or an opportunist. And you probably won't get a deal anyway."

Ungrateful Whiners or Despairing Wage Slaves?

If you're one of the countless Americans who's sent out hundreds of unanswered resumes this year, you might be scowling about all the hand-wringing over a job a person actually has.

'Sick of Living in Limbo'

But being miserable in one's job is nothing new, as years of pre-recession polls conducted by organizations like The Conference Board and Web sites like CareerBuilder.com will attest. Even in flush economic times, many surveys have reported that one in two U.S. workers don't exactly feel warm and fuzzy about their place of employment.

Factor in the stress, paranoia, pay cuts, morale killers and mind-boggling workloads that have gripped employees this year and you have a recipe for some serious job dissatisfaction.

In a CareerBuilder survey of 4,300 U.S. workers released this November, 47 percent said their workload had increased in the past six months, 40 percent said their stress level was through the roof and 24 percent said they didn't feel one iota of loyalty to their employer.

"Giselle," a marketing manager at a New York accounting firm, can relate.

"Several colleagues and I are dreaming of a layoff," the self-described "abused temp" said in an e-mail. "Everyone is searching for another job, some openly. The firm is half the size it was in fall 2007. Clients aren't paying their bills, and we've lost some clients. Every day it's another psychodrama.

"Today my boss and I were reviewing photos from our holiday party," Giselle continued. "One person enthusiastically had his hand up when he won a holiday prize. We joked, 'John X has an inappropriate reaction to his pink slip.'"

As for Matthew, the software project manager who was dreaming of a downsized Christmas, he's retiring his hope for a golden parachute.

"I'm sick of living in limbo, wondering whether and when my employer might cut me loose," he said. "I think maybe it's time to give up the layoff fantasy and make the most of the crummy job I've got -- at least until I can find something better."

So no plans to tell his boss how he feels about the job?

"Are you kidding?" he said. "That's what's known as resigning."

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist and former cubicle dweller. She is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube". For more information, see Anti9to5Guide.com.

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