RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette

Subject: RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -dot- Brierley -at- Jenzabar -dot- Net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 14:31:43 -0400

I've seen larger employers look sideways at an employee who has shifted jobs
every 2.5 or so years, yes. But, as this list reinforced, that's not
uncommon for technical writers in the software field. And, those larger
employers are _not_ promising the Nirvana of secure employment. With the
stroke of a pen, a manager-in-charge secures himself a six-figure bonus by
downsizing whole departments and projects.

The conference thing sounds cruel.

Here, in CT, the job market is slowed but not halted. I did notice the
STC-boston chapter web sites lists about 1/3 the number of full-time jobs
that it did three months ago. I work for a dotcom. We had a round of layoffs
in February. While 15% of the total workforce got the axe, slightly more
than 50% of the technical writers did. As far as I can tell, those who were
laid off at my location were told so by the head of the division, privately,
and one-on-one. They were told not to talk about the layoff, given 4-weeks'
severance, and given a couple of hours to pack up, with no restriction on PC
use . . . except for one I.T. employee.

Not nice in any event. At that time, in my group, product development, at
this location, we had about a dozen people. Two of us are left, the rest
have moved along of their own accord. For quite a number of months, much our
work has been done at another site, anyway, in accordance with a change in
product direction.

I really would like to see employers show loyalty to their employees, I just
suppose, for the most part, those days are gone. hakuna Matata.

Cheers,

Sean

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan W. Gallagher [SMTP:SGallagher -at- akonix -dot- com]
In my 18 years in the software industry, I've seen almost
everything. I
remember once working for a small fish that was bought by a big fish
and
they looked sideways at my history of short-term jobs. They wanted
me to
stay forever -- HA! All was well for about a year and we geared up
for
the great "documentation" release. 1/3 of the way through the cycle,
they
laid off the east coast team (the big fish guys) and said they were
moving
everything out west. 2/3s of the way through the cycle, they changed
their
minds and informed the west coast team (me and my group) that we'd
be out
of jobs the day we finished the project. And what a motivator that
was!
Still, they gave good severance and outplacement support; but it
hardly
made six months of he** worthwhile.

I've been asked, quietly, politely, ... "Sue, could you *please*
look
for another job; we just can't afford to pay you anymore!" and I've
been escorted to the door. I've also worked in companies that didn't
lay off but had such an enormous attrition rate I felt as if I was
walking at the head of a parade and every time I turned around the
parade got shorter and shorter.

When the dot.bomb hit me, I was called in to a private meeting with
the
CTO since my boss, the VP of engineering, had already been let go.

In the last round of layoffs I witnessed, everyone in *this*
conference
room stays; everyone in *that* conference room goes. Boy, am I glad
I
got called into the right conference room.

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