No. of Recommendations: 41
I have a confession to make. Up until today when I would read posts by fellow FI/RE and FI/RE wannabes about how terrible the corporate world is, I would often say to myself, “why don't you go and call a waaaaaaambulance”. “Go get another job” I would think. “If corporations are that bad then ditch them and go to a small company” I would scream back. Or better yet, “go start your own business”!

We'll, this morning I sat by and watched two of my programmer friends let go due to the slowdown in the 'IT' and “telecom” business. One worked next to my cubicle and the other sat across from me. We had grown quite fond of each other and felt like there was enough riff-raff in the co. that we would be some of the last to go because of how good we were.

I felt like my heart was being yanked out while I helped them clean their desks and carry boxes to their cars. If they had decided to let go 3 instead of 2 in our dept, then I would have been next. It was done by seniority. I had been here only 3 months longer than one and 6 months longer than the other. I even recruited one from a good job to come work for us. I feel so guilty that I'm here and not them. It will be hard for them to get an equivalent job in this market. In one sense they are lucky. The man that was let go has no kids and low expenses so he could get any job to make ends meet. The woman let go has two kids and a mortgage but her husband makes good money as a software developer. She will be OK. If it were me, I would be OK until my e-fund ran out in 6 months.

My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

Don't get me wrong! A cut-back was necessary because of the business environment. I still believe there is no better way than the American way of doing business. But why are the good and decent made to suffer while the crafty and sleazy made to prosper!

I want to cry each time a pass their empty cubicles!

decath
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Up until today when I would read posts by fellow FI/RE and FI/RE wannabes about how terrible the corporate world is, I would often say to myself, “why don't you go and call a waaaaaaambulance”. “Go get another job” I would think. “If corporations are that bad then ditch them and go to a small company” I would scream back.

The small ones aren't necessarily better. I've had three jobs - one with about 30 employees, one with about 100 employees, and one that started small and got bought out to have about 10,000 employees. Management's personal friends made out like bandits at each job (and generally did no work).

My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

That has been my experience with corporate life.

Sorry about your friends. I hate to say it, but I think they will have a very difficult time finding jobs in the near future. I was laid off three years ago this month. By this time of year, businesses are putting off hiring until after the holidays. I didn't work again until early the next year, and the economy was much better than it is now.

I hope they got good packages.

Amphian

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No. of Recommendations: 0
The small ones aren't necessarily better. I've had three jobs - one with about 30 employees, one with about 100 employees, and one that started small and got bought out to have about 10,000 employees. Management's personal friends made out like bandits at each job (and generally did no work).

Your right about that. My co. has around 200 minus the headcount that got chopped today.

I hope they got good packages.

Unused vacation + 1 month of severence. They both had been here a little over 2 years. Sound reasonable. 1 month is usually more than long enough to get another "IT" job but as we both mentioned already, in this market it might as well be 3 months.

decath



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No. of Recommendations: 7
If they had decided to let go 3 instead of 2 in our dept, then I would have been next. It was done by seniority. . . .

which translates to you will be in the next wave.

My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

Yeah, but they're probably senior butt kissers and personal friends. From what I've seen, it always by seniority w/i departments, alleviating any necessity to have to subjectively evaluate who's a productive/profitable employee. Almost a knee jerk reaction. It certainly puts the values of "loyal, hard working and sharp as razors" in a new perspective.

My graphic artist daughter just got axed as part of a 30% personnel cut at her [old] company. They supposedly had real trouble making the last payroll. Her work was recognized as the best in the department, but that didn't offset her lack of seniority.

In defense of management, it's a numbers thing, a survival instinct. With decreased revenues and no upswing in sight, it's a no-brainer to start cutting "expenses." After that, you start looking at what else you have to do to help the company survive.

Good luck, but update that resume. I've been in similar situations and know what a downer it is for the people who remain behind. Sometimes the anticipation of what may be coming can make you as depressed as those that were let go.
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Don't get me wrong! A cut-back was necessary because of the business environment. I still believe there is no better way than the American way of doing business. But why are the good and decent made to suffer while the crafty and sleazy made to prosper!

I suppose it is also part of the "American way". The company which keeps too many "crafty and sleazy" employees will eventually falter thereby allowing a smaller company (with the sharp employees) to gain a foothold in its market. Eventually, the small company grows while the large company fails.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
felt like there was enough riff-raff in the co. that we would be some of the last to go because of how good we were......If they had decided to let go 3 instead of 2 in our dept, then I would have been next. It was done by seniority.

I'm sure this wasn't a factor at your workplace, or you would have mentioned it, but I nevertheless feel compelled to mention that in at least a couple of places I've worked, management has been frustrated that the better employees had to be let go because they had less seniority than the "riff raff." (Probably not as frustrated as the employees in question, of course, but frustrated nonetheless.) I'm so glad my current employer not only isn't having to hand out pink slips (yet, anyway), but that our largest union does not have any last hired-first fired clauses in its contract. (Seniority does play into severance calculations, but is not required to be a consideration in who is let go if a staff reduction is required.)
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No. of Recommendations: 25
Stop feeling blue. You should update your resume and prepare for your own potential lay-off. Don't think it can't happen to you. As an architect, I've gone through it three times. I've learned a few things.

Get to know your peers in other companies. Take them to lunch periodically to keep in touch. You may need a favor some day. They may, too. In Chicago, I knew every architect in the city by three degrees or less. Saved my butt more than a few times.

Also, keep track of your less fortunate comrads. They're out there actively looking. They can be your forward scouts to let you know who's hiring. They'll eventually get jobs other places. Maybe some place you'd like to work if you're let go in the next round. Once, I got let go at the same time three large firms dumped about 500 out on the street. Without contacts, I wouldn't have had a chance. Because of my contacts, I used the unneeded severence money to buy a new mountain bike.

nmckay
Dig your well before you're thirsty
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Dig your well before you're thirsty

Well said! The shock is starting to wear off.

Tomorrow morning I'm updating my resume and calling some old friends/contacts. Maybe they have some insight on where my layed-off colleages can go!

Also, Ill double my efforts to find some moonlight contract programming jobs that pop up occassionally.

decath
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No. of Recommendations: 3
My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

The company will eventually get what's coming to it.

I was in this same position and decided that I'm going to pick my company like I pick my stocks. I ditched the old employer when the employee market was good.

If more employees practiced this outside-their-comfort-zone tactic these companies would get their just reward much sooner.

Any company that can run a business with butt-kissers and fresh-outs will almost be guaranteed to have low barriers to entry. Buh-bye.

Two valuable resources are now available for someone else. Now the company is put at a disadvantage, because unless they hire back a known entity they're taking a chance. Based on your message, I hope they hire another butt kisser.

I still believe there is no better way than the American way of doing business. But why are the good and decent made to suffer while the crafty and sleazy made to prosper!

See my previous comments. They've put themselves at a disadvantage. They're still around and if they (or the company) don't perform, they won't seem so crafty.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Unused vacation + 1 month of severence. They both had been here a little over 2 years. Sound reasonable. 1 month is usually more than long enough to get another "IT" job but as we both mentioned already, in this market it might as well be 3 months.

My advice is that you might want to build up some unused vacation. I have been a bit concerned about my job for the past couple months and have accrued vacation as a way to "save" in case I'm let go. After all, I'd rather have that package be 6 or 7 weeks instead of 4.

This doesn't mean that I'm not taking time off, I'm just not going on two week trips. :)

Also, a month of severence doesn't look so bad if you apply for unemployment. Depending on what you are making now and where you are at, this could be a significant boost to how long you can last before finding a job.

Job search tips:
1. Network, network, network.

2. Be flexible and patient.

3. "Hunt in packs." If you hear about a job that isn't right for you, let someone who it is right for know about it...and ask others to do the same for you.

Networking tips:
1. Keep in touch with people before you need a job.

2. Check back at your college. Most schools have an alumni network and many schools get requests for graduates with experience. This is best if you are just out a couple years, but it never hurts.

3. When you meet people, don't assume that they can't help you. The odds are good that if they can't that they at least know someone who can!

Hope that helps.

justpatrick
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I wonder sometimes if anyone on this board has ever been a manager.(Yes, I'm sure some have) Have you ever had to make the call and fire someone? Or even worse, a lot of people? It's amazing when doing reviews how every single person thinks their above average. (remember the survey of drivers, and the average person rated themselves as above average?) And of course, everyone loves their friends. So someones friends got the axe, and the managers friends didn't. If you were the manager, how many people would be saying the exact same thing about your choice? If of course, you were even allowed to make one. Anything but seniority based firings could lead to a lawsuit.

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No. of Recommendations: 3
I wonder sometimes if anyone on this board has ever been a manager.

I was for a while in a small company, but it was a manager/engineer position, so I'm not sure if you would count that.

It's amazing when doing reviews how every single person thinks their above average.

I don't know how many people actually believe that, but few people are dumb enough to label themselves "average" in a review. Management is often full of positive-thinking marketing types. Ask them if any of the company's products are average, and you'll get an earful of superlatives - even if they know the product is so-so. In a review, you are the product.

If you were the manager, how many people would be saying the exact same thing about your choice? If of course, you were even allowed to make one. Anything but seniority based firings could lead to a lawsuit.

The last two companies where I have worked have had layoffs. In both cases, it came down to who the boss liked better regardless of talent. Seniority had no bearing on who was canned, and some very talented people I didn't particularly like were let go. It is well known at the latter company that individuals were chosen to be scapegoats for some poor decisions made by some of the managers.

There are decent managers out there, but the majority of my experience with management has been neutral to negative.

Amphian
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I wonder sometimes if anyone on this board has ever been a manager.(Yes, I'm sure some have) Have you ever had to make the call and fire someone? Or even worse, a lot of people? It's amazing when doing reviews how every single person thinks their above average. (remember the survey of drivers, and the average person rated themselves as above
average?) And of course, everyone loves their friends. So someones friends got the axe, and the managers friends didn't. If you were the manager, how many people would be saying the exact same thing about your choice? If of course, you were even allowed to make one. Anything but seniority based firings could lead to a lawsuit.


Yes, I have been a manager and business owner. Lately, I'm the Chair of an academic department. In my role as a manager, I fired a young lady because after tracking her absenteeism for over a year, it was clear that she was calling off sick the day before or after a weekend or holiday. This was a violation of company policy, and the call-offs were well documented. She was reprimanded, with verbal and written warnings, yet the behavior returned. I gave her six months notice.

In my academic position, I did not agree to renew the contract of someone who did not meet expectations. This was a good friend of mine, who I knew fairly well for over 20 years. As went we over her final review, I made sure she understood where she missed the mark and she ultimately agreed with me. We both made the leaving as easy as possible, with me offering to serve as a reference and her continuing to keep it touch with us.

The comment about "anything but seniority based firings leading to a lawsuit" is not really true. But, all managers must make sure that there is a clear paper trail and there are definitive grounds for a termination or they certainly risk a lawsuit. In these days, especially in smaller units where everyone knows everyone, if a manager terminated someone because of personal dislikes (as compared to not doing the job) the managers job would be in jeapordy.

I hope this answered your questions.

BB
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No. of Recommendations: 8
My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

Corporate workers can generally be put in one of four categories: competent and protected, incompetent and protected, competent and unprotected, incompetent and unprotected. When layoffs or salary downgrades come, the unprotected always seem to go first, regardless of competence.

1HF
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Author: decath Date: 10/15/01 3:22 PM Number: 53290
My rub with the corporate world is that they should not have been let go compared to other people in the co. They were loyal, hard working and sharp as razors. The butt kissers and personal friends of management are still here.

I don't think you can generalize here. In my case, the company layed off people based almost entirely on their level of productivity. Seniority was only considered to the extent necessary to avoid age discrimination litigation.

It is a simple fact of life that everyone slows down when they get older. Experience more than offsets this effect in the 30's and 40's, but by the time you are in your 50's, there is no denying the fact that you are not as sharp as you once were. I wonder how that should be handled in a modern civilized corporate America? Do companies have any responsibilities to protect the older worker; ie., recognize seniority?

Should companies really focus exclusively on the bottom line and let the older, and usually more highly paid, workers go without a second thought? I have been struggling with this question. If companies are forced to consider seniority it will reduce their ability to compete in the world. OTOH, if they let these older employees go in the first layoff, can it be justified from a social perspective?

This is clearly a conflict between social values and capitalism.

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Should companies really focus exclusively on the bottom line and let the older, and usually more highly paid, workers go without a second thought? I have been struggling with this question. If companies are forced to consider seniority it will reduce their ability to compete in the world. OTOH, if they let these older employees go in the first layoff, can it be justified from a social perspective?

I've always thought for most people, cutting back slowly on work is useful so that retirement isn't such a shock [obviously not talking about most of the folks here <g>]. So that would be one way to go - offer 32 or 24 hour weeks to the "older" folks. Benefits could be cut in proportion, though something would have to be worked out for health benefits. DH did this, and I think it worked out fine. As he slowly cut back hours, he developed other interests, so he didn't mind cutting back more hours.

Just a thought.

arrete
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No. of Recommendations: 8
It's amazing when doing reviews how every single person thinks their above average.

The perspective that was being discussed is witnessing others, who we considered valuable employees being let go -- not us. There's a difference.

Anything but seniority based firings could lead to a lawsuit.

Spoken like a true weak-kneed manager. It is very much harder to understand exactly what your underlings are doing on a day-to-day basis, document and enforce performance improvement plans, weed out those going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure things go well... etc.

God forbid that you should think about a decision! That would leave it open for you to be second-guessed.
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When layoffs or salary downgrades come, the unprotected always seem to go first, regardless of competence.

1HF



I supervised about 10-12 people as the manager of the Animal Facilities at the Vet School. I always kept my friends. I was as bad at being a manager as I was at teaching. I pretty much sucked at both of them for the same reason. I was way too kind hearted, laid back, and fun loving. It was hard for me to take much of anything seriously. When the feces hit the fan (sometimes litterally in the animal facility) I usually would get mad. The way the person who replaced me deals with it is cry. - Art
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No. of Recommendations: 5
"The perspective that was being discussed is witnessing others, who we considered valuable employees being let go -- not us. There's a difference"

Exactly. YOU considered them valuable. The manager did not. If you were the manager and had let go the other people, the current manager would be complaining about your decisions.


"Anything but seniority based firings could lead to a lawsuit.

Spoken like a true weak-kneed manager. It is very much harder to understand exactly what your underlings are doing on a day-to-day basis, document and enforce performance improvement plans, weed out those going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure things go well... etc.

God forbid that you should think about a decision! That would leave it open for you to be second-guessed."

Spoken like someone who has never had to go through the stress of firing someone. I have fired way too many people, all for incompetence. Let's see, the crappy programmer who claimed age discrimination. The girl who couldn't write and stuttured (hired by my boss to write manuals and do phone support) who, even though I had never said anything or done anything (her words) she felt sexually harrassed. The latino guy who claimed it was his heritage, although his direct manager was 1/2 mexican heritage.

I hope someday you get into management and have to make some hard decisions which no one but you understands. Maybe then you'll get over the "They didn't make the decision that I would have, they must be wrong" syndrome.
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