RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette

Subject: RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 11:16:29 -0400

In 26+ years as a doc writer and manager, I have been through the wringer on
this ... and been in every possible position: laid off, survivor, layer-off.
There is no good place to be.

In a recent layoff at my place of employment, I made sure that my people who
were OK knew about it at the earliest possible moment so that they wouldn't
wait around on tenterhooks. I also made sure that those who were going to be
axed were done so quickly and as painlessly as possible. It still stinks.

Your boss did as good a job as could be done. There are always some sort of
limitations on what you can and can't do as a manager, and it sounds like he
did what he could.


Anon wrote:

Well, I just survived another round of layoffs at my company. We've had
enough of them now that we've actually fallen into a routine: First, we
get a company-wide message early in the morning that there will be a
layoff (or some other euphemism like "reduction in workforce"). Then we
are told to remain at our desks while we wait to be called in by our
bosses to discuss severance arrangements. Finally, if our phones don't
ring, we still have our jobs. For major layoffs, the process takes hours
and hours to complete.

This is very nerve-wracking, to say the least. This time around, my
team's boss was very humane - he let everybody who would be laid off know
immediately, then he set up appointments throughout the morning to
discuss severance. I thought this was much more sensible, because it
didn't needlessly prolong the agony of not knowing whether we each still
had a job or not. But most other bosses in my company did not follow
suit, and there were people who waited 4 to 6 hours to get "the verdict."
Productivity for the day was shot, of course, and stress was at an
all-time high.

This makes me wonder - what have the rest of you experienced in the
wonderful age of layoffs? Any particularly smooth mass firings? Any
unnecessarily grueling head-chopping? Any suggestions for how to improve
the process, or at least make the process more endurable?

Thanks in advance!

- Third-time-survivor

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