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