The Luck of the Draw in Downsizing


Occasionally you do a cartoon that you know is going to sell.

I remember sitting in a big corporate meeting where they’d flown everyone in for the weekend. I was daydreaming through another entirely too earnest presentation and this idea popped into my head. And I knew right then and there that this would sell, probably to one of the bigger magazines.

A few weeks later it sold to Reader’s Digest.

Of course more often I’ve been surprised at who bought what, but over the years, when I’ve had that feeling about a cartoon, I’ve been right most of the time. I can’t explain it, but I’m always hoping that it happens more often.

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonistAbout: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons Cartoon blog.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

10 Reactions
  1. Mark, I howled when I read this one!

    You made my Friday. 🙂

    — Anita

  2. I’ve been through exactly that! We’re downsizing and you were the last person hired, so you’re out. I was shocked. All I said was “So, the new process I put together that you adopted across all the locations means nothing?” They basically said ” oh, yeah thanks that was great, saved us lots of money. You can get unemployment though.”

  3. I can definitely see why this cartoon sold well. It’s really funny and people can relate to the poor guy.

  4. Hi Ivana, Bizarre how downsizing decisions are made sometimes, isn’t it?

    Unfortunately, due to the threat of legal action, all too many businesses are afraid to make decisions based on performance. Instead, they default to criteria that doesn’t help the business, such as last hired, that they think will not be subject to legal challenge.

    It’s not all that far fetched to think they’ll base it on something weird like … letting go the tallest.


  5. Ah, I am a short person (159 cm) so I am not cut off in the above mentioned cartoon! 😉

    You know that you tall people have to pay higher tax in Sweden?! It is a special height tax… 😉

  6. I’m fortunate in that I’ve never been formally laid off because I’ve been self-employed most of my life. I’ve had the companies I started or startups I’ve been involved with crater and crash, but I was the last one out, so i turned off the lights.

    But in many ways, I’ve been laid off by my own inaction or unwise decisions… And been without income for a while. I still take this cartoon to heart, Mark, because it doesn’t matter what happens in the job world. What matters is how we respond, how we stand up quickly and recover and adapt and move on to the next thing.

    What your cartoons do for me, Mark — like most folks here, they make me laugh, and then think. Wow, what am I doing to earn today?

  7. Owww. Mark, I cringed at this one because I am often the tallest one in the room. It is funny, though.

  8. Haha, that is awesome. Luckily I’m self employed but then again, that does make me the tallest person in the company…

  9. Great cartoon Mark – I can picture it developed into a strip, the next image saying “….because you’re the shortest” etc.

    Goalposts can always change to suit. So, tall people don’t worry.

  10. interesting post