When one door closes there may be a window of opportunity for you…

OR “There is no good way to tell people they are getting laid off.”

I have experienced a few layoffs in my working life. It can really be an awful, uncertain time and you know that is true if it has ever happened to you. Scrambling to find replacement work and planning finances for the worst case scenarios just sucks and it seem to always have had this happen to me after I bought a new car or something.

The first time I was laid off was when I worked in a material analysis lab. It was a Monday and none of the directing managers showed up to work, which wasn’t really unusual as they would travel often to the lab in Chicago. But, about mid morning a coworker’s husband called and said that FedEx had dropped off a letter. She asked him to open it to see what was in it. It was THE LETTER. The office would be closed in 90 days. There were no meetings or announcements. Just THE LETTER.

Fortunately, my skills at the time were in great demand, so it wasn’t much of a trauma.

A few years back I worked for a major ISP in test marketing, It was a call center position. Now, this was a really great company to work for with a very nice working environment and culture. But, one day things started to happen that seemed odd. Managers and team leaders were being sent to the call centers in the Philippines to “improve performance in these areas. “

Then, a GIANT announcement was to be made. It was going to GREAT NEWS. How can this job be any better? I just couldn’t imagine. The company rented a large auditorium at the art museum down the street. In the lobby there were all kinds of happy looking banners that said “New Horizons” and other “optimistic” things. With great fanfare the CEO came on stage and announced that the company was going to move into telecommunications. For about an hour new and exciting call phones and devices were demonstrated. “This is going to be a great opportunity for the company,” said the CEO.

When I arrived at work the next day, what was on my desk? THE LETTER.  Our positions had been “realigned to the Philippines” and the entire department will be shut down.

And I was in the process of closing on a mortgage. **Sigh** Everything worked out, but, it was a nail biter.

The last few years I was working, I was amazed at some of the terrible clichés, sayings and double talk used in the office. I guess really there isn’t any good way to announce a layoff.  But, I came across this piece on really crappy ways to spin and deflect the statement, “You are going to be laid off.”

Fab CEO Jason Goldberg: “You will… have the opportunity to start your new job search immediately.”

Nokia Siemens Networks: “The company… continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees.”

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus: We are going to be “reducing our cost structure.”

Cisco CEO John Chambers: Cisco will be “realigning resources to look where our growth opportunities would be … We literally are investing for the future. You have to balance that from where the resources are going to come from.”

Un-named American company: “We are going to allow you to move on in order that you can you use your talents and skills more effectively and thus upgrade your career and opportunities.”

Remarkable. I guess layoffs happen so often these days that these kinds of statements do not seem so “cold” anymore.

Ah, yes, “when one door shuts another one opens.”

All these statements just make me feel “namaste” inside.


3 thoughts on “When one door closes there may be a window of opportunity for you…

  1. With a workplace norm like this, Mitt Romney actually got 47% of the vote. Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

  2. “…a total synergy-related adjustment…”
    Christ, even when kicking people to the curb this shits can’t can the business school jargon. What loathsome human beings.

  3. When the new owners call you offsite to a meeting wherein the first thing they say is “We’re not going to break up the company…”, you got less than two weeks.

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