50:1

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks "mass layoffs." That’s the term for more than 50 people losing their jobs at once. In August of this year, the total number of people hit by a mass layoff was 127,944. The number has been more than 100,000 every month except for one in the last decade.

And that doesn’t count small companies, smaller lay offs, non-profits and other ventures that don’t show up on the radar. The actual number has to be at least ten times as big–at least a million a month is my guess .

Compare that to the tiny number of people who get fired for attempting to do something great.

Sure, Carly got fired. But thousands at HP got laid off. She lost her job for challenging the status quo. They got canned for embracing it.

Sure, that crazy copywriter on the 11th floor got fired for attempting a viral blog-based campaign that backfired, but it’s nothing compared to the entire department that lost their jobs because there just wasn’t enough business.

At least once a day, I get mail from people worrying that if they are too remarkable, too edgy, too willing to cause change and growth… they’re risking getting fired. I almost never get mail from people who figure that if they keep doing the same boring thing day in and day out at their fading company that they’re going to lose their jobs in a layoff.

50 ad agencies lose accounts for being boring, static and unprofitable for every one that gets fired for being remarkable.

50 churchgoers switch to a new congregation because of a boring or uncaring leader for every one that leaves because she was offended by a new way of thinking.

50 employees lose their jobs because the business just faded away for every one who is singled out and fired for violating a silly policy and taking care of a customer first.

50 readers stop visiting your blog (or your site or your magazine or your TV show) because you’re stuck in a rut and scared for every one who leaves because you have the guts to change the format or challenge the conventional wisdom.

50:1.