Saturday, August 1, 2009
First, I want to thank everyone who left comments, sent emails, e-cards and Twitter nudges to let me know that I was in your thoughts and prayers. It really means so much to me that people that I've never met personally would take the time to send their thoughts and wishes to me. You really are a great bunch of people!
Your prayers were heard because I did survive. Having said that, it still was the worst week I've ever experienced in my entire working life. The entire management level directly above mine, in my dept., was let go, including the person who hired me and the person who promoted me. It all happened late Tuesday afternoon. I saw the woman I reported to (and loved) get summoned to HR, along with the other managers. My first thought was that they were being called in to be told who on their staff they would have to let go. But, when they got back, each of them was escorted back to their cubes with an HR person, to pick up their purses/car keys, to be led out of the building. I felt so helpless. I started to cry (actually sob) out of sadness and definitely anger. I said to the HR person who was with my manager "You can bet that those people who are left, aren't going to forget how this was handled." She looked at me and said "I think you need to take a walk!" Which I did, to another dept to see some friends and share the news. About 15 minutes later, 2 HR people found me and said I needed to get back because there was going to be a meeting with the remaining staff. They said how difficult this was and blah, blah, blah and wanted to let us know that the cuts were over in my department, FOR NOW. They asked if there were any questions. I had to ask what was the reason for dragging this out for the entire week. I don't think I told you that, last Friday morning, the CEO sent an email worldwide, to let everyone know that the lay-offs were starting on Monday and will be done each day until the end of the week. Oh, and by the way, have a great weekend. What the hell were people supposed to do with that information? Start updating our resumes? HR's responses were idiotic and made no sense.
At least, I got the suspense over early in the week. Not so, my friends in other departments. Finally, around 2PM Friday afternoon, the CEO set out an email saying that it was over. So, everyone took a sigh of relief. Except, whoops, the email was sent a bit prematurely because there was one person left who hadn't been told yet she was out of a job, one of our Lunch Bunch. She read the email and, like everyone else, thought she had survived. But about 10 minutes later, she got the call. Word travelled fast, and I went over to her dept to give her a hug and tell her I'd be in touch. There were a few people there and, as I waited my turn, one of the HR people, who I have now renamed Catbert (the "Evil Director of HR" in Dilbert) calls me aside and tells me that, since I'm not in that dept., I need to leave. I told her, not very politely that, no, I wasn't going to leave until I said good-bye. After I did, Catbert called me over and asked me "Are you okay?" I said, "No, I'm not. Are you?" and I walked away.
Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the impact the economy has had and that some hard choices had to be made. But, I don't think the company did enough to cut back costs before resorting to lay-offs. I know everyone I've spoken with said that they were willing to take a cut in salary, if it would save some jobs. Also, I have yet to see or hear how the company's downturn has affected the top execs, except, maybe, in their stock portfolios. I know that they all have contracts detailing what they're entitled to, but, just because it's in your contract, doesn't mean you have to take it. When I leave ther building each day, i walk past their assigned parking spots (of course, the spots closest to the building) and I see their Escalades, BMWs, Jags, etc. Even as a token gesture, it would have been nice to see the CEO and his gang give up their cars and all the expenses that go along with them, ie. insurance, gas, etc. Our 2009 annual report should come out sometime this month which, among other things, publishes the salaries, bonuses and stock options the top execs received. We worker bees are very interested to see what the report has to say.
On top of all this drama, one of my cousins passed away on Wednesday from the long-term effects of chemotherapy. We were the same age. He was just a wonderful guy with a wonderful family. Aunt Rose, SallyAnn, Rosemary, Denise and family, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.