September 03, 2003
So This Is How a Deer In Headlights Feels

When your first email of the day has the subject line Workforce Reductions, you know it's not going to be a good day.

This was the worst day I've had at this job. Who was the only question people were asking; some knew, others didn't know yet. Conference rooms had been scheduled for the entire day, and professional 'Career Transition Specialists' were in the rooms along side internal HR reps. The hunt was about to begin, and all we could do was stick closely in a pack and stand still - maybe they won't find us.

They started early. The only signs we saw were cardboard boxes and conversations behind closed conference room doors. You didn't know who until the doors were open and the victims were able to confirm what everyone was thinking. Many groups formed in front of cubicle entrances, a tell-tale sign that person had been let go. Most groups were very quiet and somber, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that their friend and colleague would not be around come tomorrow or next week.

They continued throughout the day. The names kept coming as the day passed by. One person from that group soon turned to two or three. The lucky ones hadn't heard their names called from behind, only to turn around and see someone with a package of papers and a blank look on their face asking them to follow. Some were happy that it was over and that they were receiving a firm handshake and a severence check. Others didn't have the same smirk on their face. One person I knew was actually laughing - He'd conducted a phone interview on his cell phone during his exit meeting.

They stopped. Some people were pulled into their respective work groups and told that the layoffs were done and they'd been spared. I received my notice via instant message around 4pm - You're okay... Come to work tomorrow. I'm not sure if the message has sunk in yet. My brain is telling me that I still have a job and a paycheck, but my gut is still churning like I ate bad sushi. Neither can explain to me how so many people have been able to deal with this kind of tension and fear time and time again. It's not the first time the layoff fairy has passed by.

I need to relax. I need a beer. I need dinner. I need a hug. I need to get the fuck out of here...

... but I can come to work tomorrow.

Posted by Austin at September 03, 2003 05:10 PM

yes, because instant messaging and emails are the proper avenues to let an employee know. how ridiculous. *hugs*

Posted by: D on September 3, 2003 07:10 PM

Wow. That kind of story makes me want to go back and work for a tiny company.

Posted by: Shawn on September 3, 2003 09:17 PM

Right, because Adobe being #5 on the 100 best companies to work for really makes you nervous. "What if they run out of beer at the Friday volleyball parties?!?"

Posted by: Janine on September 3, 2003 10:00 PM

Exactly...I don't know what I would do if they stopped giving us free beer! No, but they have had lay-offs here in the past. The whole second floor here is mostly empty thanks to them. Usually they leave us engineering teams alone, unless we stop making money.

Posted by: Shawn on September 4, 2003 10:53 AM

So sorry the corporation is making you sweat. You are an emmployer's dream -- so smart and dedicated. Jim survived a bunch of ax swings before his age caught up to him. You are young and have great credentials. His advice is keep your head down and attitude up. Don't get sucked into the negativity and keep working hard.Find something to absorb your mind. It's fun to learn something new.

Posted by: Mombo on September 4, 2003 07:25 PM

... yeah, and watch out for instant messages that tell you you're fired.
"what? i never got that one. it's not in my history..."

Posted by: D on September 5, 2003 05:07 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?