Friday, March 20, 2009

Massive Layoffs at My Work Today...

Today was a day of massive layoffs at my work. First let me say that I work I work in a very close-quartered, tightly secure environment. You get to know everyone that works there very well, and even though you may only only see them at work, you view them as your friends. Today at my work they laid off sixteen people, from way up top, all the way to the bottom. This was done without warning. Some of the people that were being laid off were on vacation or taking the day off, etc. They were told they had to come in today for a "mandatory meeting". These people had to come to work all day, on their day off, only to find out at about three o' clock in the afternoon or so that they no longer had a job. The lay-offs were widespread with no consideration given to seniority . The reason was, of course, the down sizing of the economy and re-structuring of the company.

It was a very cruel and grueling experience. Our area was spared and we only lost one person. But the other areas were hit hard, losing about 25% of their crew. The cruel thing about this was that they took all day to do these lay offs, from 8:30 in the morning until about 3:30 in the afternoon. Everyone was in a state of panic and shot nerves, and no one could concentrate on their work. Management (what was left of them) said in a meeting later that they felt this was the most humane way to let people know they no longer have a job. But is it? It destroys morale amongst employees and creates more stress than good. Just sitting there all day watching all your friends and their livelihood getting shot down and being escorted out of the building one by one is enough to make a person crack. And they have to watch you clean out your desk to make sure you aren't stealing anything.

I am disgusted about today. My stomach has been in knots and my nerves are shot. No one was certain that they still had a job until almost quitting time. To me this is not the proper way to do business. Have any of you experienced lay offs like this? What is the best way to let some one know that they are no longer needed at their job? Is it better to give some one their pink slip in person, or through the mail? Sixteen people does not sound like a lot, but it is about twenty percent of the people that work in our building.

Me, I'm losing faith in capitalism. But I don't have much faith in all the other "isms" out there either.


David Abstract said...

The "best" way to lay people off is to take them into the management office and say: "It's not you - it's the firm, it's the economy. I'm afraid we're going to have to lay you off - here is your redundancy / in lieu of notice check, we'll give you a good reference, good luck out there and thanks for all your hard work."
And for goodness sake do it in the morning - then call a meeting after lunch and tell the rest of the staff: "As far as we're concerned that's it - we'll let you know as soon as our plans change."

Good luck Steve - it's tough living with a situation like this.
My step-father works for a high-street bank that's failing by inches, half his savings are in shares that are now worthless, he has to cover for all the people that have been let go, and spends half his day wondering when the axe is going to fall...
The other half he spends fantasising about really big redundancy packages...

Good luck Steve!

Steve Smith said...

Thank you, David. It's getting vicious out there.

Robert Lau said...

I am so sorry...Steve...about you colleagues who were laid off..but I am even more concern about the well being of those still being employed..
it is like who so cruel.

Hang on there Steve.

There shall be no laid off for my company...only paid cut for everybody
...I promise.