My co-worker, colleague, mentor and most importantly, friend, got laid off today.  I know that in these times people in every field are losing their jobs and that he is but one of many.  However, reading about these happenings and actually being close to someone to whom it happens are very different.

We worked together for nearly 3 years, seated across from each other.  I’ve gone out to lunch with him on innumerable occasions, have been invited over to share dinner with his lovely family, and have spent about 6 hours with him every week day for 3 years.  He’d worked at our company for about 10 years, applying his knowledge and creativity to ensure that things went smoothly.  And just like that, he’s gone.

He got a phone call yesterday morning, I waved him off as I went to help someone with some issues – and never saw him again.

I don’t understand how or why this all happened, save that it was in the “in the name of cost-cutting”.  I know times are hard for all companies now, and perhaps they really tried everything else they could think of to save money in other areas…but I doubt it.  At least not in a way that would make us little people feel like they cared.  I can’t imagine what my friend is feeling, what it must be like to go home and tell his family that he no longer has a job, but I feel betrayed.

It’s just not right to call someone in, strip them of their badge, and send them home.  Not after so many years of service and dedication.  He didn’t even get a chance to pack up his desk – I’ve just finished putting everything in a couple of boxes and mailing it to him with the help of one of the admin staff.  It’s just not right.

There’s already a replacement set to come in from next week, and I’m sure business will run as usual soon enough.  But it’s a shocking feeling, knowing that one is so…replaceable, an insignificant cog in the corporate machine.


  • March 1, 2009 - 21:46 | Permalink

    We’re all going through the layoffs and downsizing. Now that I’m out I can see that I probably left behind a hole, but the whole place is now so riddled with such holes that it’s hard to imagine that the muck-a-mucks would even notice. And it’s the same with your friend. This isn’t about right, this is business and in business (as currently practiced) it’s never clear what the motivations or thought processes are because … there’s no such thing as planning or follow-through. And certainly no accoutability; just look at the mess we’re in!

    To tell you the truth, I figure that this thing is still 5-7 years from levelling off. I doubt that we the public have even the roughest idea as to how extensive the damage is.

    Best of luck to you and your friend!

  • March 2, 2009 - 09:19 | Permalink

    Thanks for your thoughts on this Michael. I was thinking about your situation shortly after this happened – though I definitely sympathized for your situation, it didn’t hit me as hard as it did when it happened to someone I worked with everyday. One thing that shocked me especially was just the coldness of the whole procedure. Certainly, I don’t think betrayal is too strong a word. I just don’t see that it’s a smart move in any fashion – it undercuts moral and removes the smarter/creative people from where they are most efficient.

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