Re: Layoff Story (very long)

Subject: Re: Layoff Story (very long)
From: Iggy <iggy_1996dp -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 09:30:40 -0800 (PST)

> We put out our first major SDK in December.
> We were on a tight schedule, but got it out on
> time! As a reward for our diligent work, the
> company gave the production team two weeks off
> with pay at Christmas.

A very nice reward, though also a very easy way for
them to plan your dismissal without you knowing...

> On January 2, we came back to work ready to start
> on our next project. Instead, 15 of our 50
> employees were met at the door, given a severance
> package, and told to leave.

Tough break. At least they paid you for your time off
and gave you a package...

> I protested that I at least would like to check my
> e-mail. I knew that it was important to get my
> email address changed for this list (I know how
> irritating it is to get one of those "Diane no
> longer works here" messages). I also would have
> liked to get a few personal emails out of the
> computer, as well as the list of web links that
> I have collected from suggestions on this list.
> Of course, getting one or two old documents to add
> to my portfolio would have been nice, too. But, no,
> my email account was already shut down and I would
> not be allowed anything.

That's pretty much average - they shut you out before
you can do anything nasty. One company I used to work
for actually took away keyboards and mice and other
input devices while we were all in the meeting being
told we were canned!

> How can the company go on without a tech writer?

I hope that was tongue in cheek... ;)

> In August, we hired an assistant for me. It turned
> out that she got the job because she was a personal
> friend of our (then) recruiter, and knew little to
> nothing about tech writing.

Isn't that how most assistants are hired? As a favor
to someone?

> I trained her in RoboHELP, pointed her to web
> resources, and corrected her spelling whenever
> possible. In the meantime, she became VERY GOOD
> FRIENDS with one of our managers. They even got to
> spend weekends together! (Hmmm...did I say that?).
> Since her manager was not on the layoff list, guess
> who they kept?

Ah, yes. Seen that game played time and time again.
Was why some people lasted a lot longer than they
should have...

> At least they gave us two weeks severance pay, and
> paid our medical benefits for the month.

An adequate package, but nothing great. But, better
than nothing...

> I got mad and breathed threatenings about
> discrimination (since they kept the younger tech
> writer who is having a fling with a manager), but
> had no intention of doing anything about it. Just
> thought I would let them think about what they had
> done.

Probably not wise, but no harm seemed to have come of
it. In general, I let others burn their own bridges
and keep mine in tact. Chances are you were
threatening the wrong person...

> So, I ended up with a nice portfolio of LockStream
> stuff anyway. How did I manage to do this? I had
> a recycle box under my desk, that no one knew (or
> cared) about. I just grabbed it on the way out,
> along with every piece of paper in my files and on
> my desk. Sometimes, people underestimate me, even
> though I prominently display my MENSA membership
> certificate and IQ (148) on my wall.

Never bought into the whole IQ thing. It's not how
much smarts you have, but how you use them. FWIW,
we're tied. ;-P Or so my clildhood certificate says...
At any rate, talking about what you took from your
employer on a publicly-available mailing list was
probably not the brightest thing to do, as you DID
point that other writer to web resources, right? Plus,
despite what we all think, the stuff we write is not
OUR STUFF if we wrote it for our employers... Taking
the info without permission can be perceived and
prosecuted as theft... to warn you. Not to say others,
possibly including myself, haven't done this in the

> Remember a few weeks ago when someone sent the link
> to the picture of the guy with the sign, "Will write
> for <stock options> food." ? I thought it was cute,
> and printed it out. I taped it to my monitor on my
> way out the door.

A cute parting gift. :)

My best exit was with another manager - we walked out
arm-in-arm joking and laughing and waving to everyone.
Left an impression that was talked about for months! :)

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