Re: FWD: Layoff logistics and etiquette

Subject: Re: FWD: Layoff logistics and etiquette
From: Elna Tymes <Etymes -at- LTS -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 09:56:34 -0700

Janice Gelb wrote:

> Management has indicated that they feel that the fairest way to handle this is
> in large part (although not
> completely) to base their decisions on which projects are cut. I disagree: I
> think the fairest method is to decide what projects are cut and what projects
> are left. Then leave it up to the line managers to fill the number
> of positions on the projects that are left. Otherwise, it seems to me to be
> Russian roulette: if you're on a
> project that happens to be cut, you're gone, regardless of your past
> performance.

Sun has a no-layoff history, so I'm sure that the prospect of layoffs is even more
troubling to Sun employees than it is in most other places. There really is no
"fair" way to handle layoffs, except to draw straws or some other totally random
selection method. I agree that cutting by project isn't really fair, because most
of the people on a project didn't really get to vote on whether they wanted the
project in the first place. However in many other companies, when a project gets
cut, those who worked on the project have some finite amount of time to shop their
resumes elsewhere in the company and join some other project. I gather this isn't
going to be the case at Sun, although that would be your preferred method.

Face it: at some management level somewhere in the company, a critical mass of
people decided that cutting by project was the fairest way to go, and that's it.
Most layoffs happen in an environment of secrecy anyway, so Sun is just joining
the crowd.

> Sometimes I suspect that by "fairest" management means "easiest on them."

No question. Once you prune the obvious dead wood, it's very difficult to come up
with a believable set of criteria to reduce numbers. And from the perspective of
one who's been there, I can vouch for the fact that having to lay people off is a
good way to get an ulcer and to destroy friendships. People who get the ax can't
help but feel some resentment, no matter how often they remind themselves that
"it's not personal."

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems


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References:
Re: FWD: Layoff logistics and etiquette: From: Janice Gelb

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