Mine was, I suspect, typical. The surprise was that my new boss was in from Chicago. I doubt he flew in just to let me go. (Side note – when my Dad got “let go” from GE, they called it a “Layoff” and indeed it was for in a year or so, the called him back.)
Its interesting to me that I don’t remember the exact language. He had a 1 on 1 scheduled with me (which he had postponed from last week because I had taken that day off). It said in the schedule the boss “will call … ” because we always did them by phone, he being in Chicago, and I usually called because I would go find a private room for a private meeting. Not everyone’s one on one is private, but I liked to have my one on ones in private.
So my boss was here and I said I wanted to look for a private room for our conversation, maybe one of the little conference rooms off the cafeteria. He said he already had one booked!
He said it was the “Main Conference Room”. That was a surprise. There’s a table in there that seats twenty! But no alarm bells went off. (I’m not as sharp as I used to be.) When we got there and the head of HR was there , I said “Its in use”. Like I said, not as sharp … When he said “No, we’re in here.” I finally figured out that it was my turn.
I think I said something like “So this is it then?” and I think they said yes. It wasn’t surreal. I wasn’t shocked or confused. I knew.
They’ve let so many people go, better people than I. People who had been there longer, and were more central to the place than I ever was, were let go. I wish I knew the numbers. There’s something over 500 people still working there, but there were 1100 when I started. I’ve heard it was 2000 at one time.
There’s still a strong manufacturing base. Three shifts still. But they’ve dispatched whole departments. Gone was the heart of the place, the Creative department. We used to bring in raw paper and ship out boxed calendars and organizers. One process, stem to stern. They removed the whole PrePress department (about which they’re back peddling now). They wiped out Marketing. Decimated Forecasting. Slimed Finance. More that I’m forgetting. And even in manufacturing they started with the 25+ year veterans and over and over removed and reassigned managers.
Let’s just say “Nobody worries about getting a good parking space anymore.” Park wherever you want, there are more spaces today than last week.
Its all typical corporate America. No malevolence. No malice. Not inhumane, just corporate. More and more work has been outsourced. Our company has either bought or been bought by another company at least every other year since I started. Each time, cash went to the new company, and somebody got fired. Many times it was the people in the other company. Many emails were sent that ended in “We wish them well.”
It was always boilerplate.
We always felt bad for them. When the first big layoff (see I said it) came, we were shocked. Some 200 people that we worked with everyday. All those 25 year managers. Poof. Gone!
I worked on a project where the one of the managers I was working with, was let go right in the middle of it. “Talk to so and so instead”. And I did, and brought him up to speed on my issues regarding the project, and then, they let him go. “Talk to so and so.”
And so it goes.
And so I’m gone. Its not personal. Its corporate. Who could ever confuse the two?