Monday, January 12, 2009

Bad News Comes in Manila Envelopes

Today, the obedient HR staff that we are, were sent on a mission to distribute the last of the layoffs. This portion, however, was much more painful than the previous distribution. This round was for the salaried folks. Two on one. As a salaried individual one is not subject to such things as seniority. We do not have our years of loyalty and service to protect and shield us from the daggers thrown by the economy. You cannot 'bump' someone less senior - and are not as easily redistributed from one side of the tracks to the other. As salaried individuals, one is subject to such things as 'job necessity' and 'performance'.

I can honestly say that at age 26 I did not expect nor hope to be sitting across the table from someone watching as they are told that their position has been eliminated or their job duties consolidated. "We are really sorry, but after XXX years, your services are no longer needed." It is a brutal experience and heart wrenching to anyone with any sign of a conscience.

It's been a long day, and a day that I would much rather forget. Unfortunately, the administrative duties that stem from a layoff extend far beyond simply delivering the news. And this experience (while good experience --- I now have WARN, OWBPA, severance agreements, etc. to add to my resume of experience) is one that I will never forget. And I really hope to never need such experience ever again.

I don't know if issuing 'pink' slips would be any more dignified, but bad news is no longer delivered that way. It now comes in a manila envelope (Taryn) - with numerous papers to sign and information to be explained - all by your local HR staff and supervisor.

I am definitely retiring to the couch with a bottle of wine - yes, bottle - that was not a typo.


  1. I knew it was a manila envelope! Bless you, sister. I am sure you delivered the news with as much sympathy as anyone could muster. I can see it's just as hard on the people delivering the news as it is on the people receiving the news...hope the bottle of wine was helpful!!

  2. I've never had to let anyone go and I'm not looking forward to ever having to (although I'm sure I will at some point in my career.) What a day you must have had! Great experience though! I know about WARN - what is OWBPA?

  3. sounds like a total bummer of a day ~ sorry to hear it was so tough! we miss you on the scarf kal ~ hope tomorrow is better but it will probably take a while to shake that feeling ~ better take a few aspirin before you go to bed ~ the difference between a glass and a bottle is a giant headache in the morning ;)
    ~ Melissa (twoknitwit)