Friday, January 15, 2010


The economy is still in the doldrums, and your company has been doing everything in its power to remind you of this. Rumors of layoffs still run through the ranks and there is even talk that entire company divisions may be on the "chopping block" in and effort to reign in costs and to re-tool strategy for coming challenges.

And there you sit, smack dab in the middle of all this corporate chaos, wondering if you will be the next victim of this indomitable and indiscriminate steam-roller. Then you get this weird feeling ...that others know something you don't know. There's an overly generous smile sent you in the elevator, or you get this clammy handshake that feels like you've been diagnosed with some rare, but fatal disease. In other words, you know something's up. Your quarterly or bi-monthly review isn't this week, yet you've been called into a special meeting that no one else in your department has been asked to attend. Could it be...? Yes, it is. This is your termination meeting and here's a set of dos and don'ts to follow:

First off: when you discover that your meeting is going to be held, don't start the celebrations too soon. There are many instances where an employee thinks he or she is getting laid off and immediately begins with vacation plans, the organization of parties or shoots off a slew of emails joyfully anticipating the "inevitable" only to discover later that he or she has been awarded a promotion and given a salary increase. Sure, this is hard on the employee, but can you imagine the embarrassment this person must now suffer as he or she backtracks to break the bad news?

Second: When you are sitting down at the table and are told that you are being terminated, don't jump up and start shouting "hurray!" Try to act somewhat mortified. Create an image in your head of something sad, like a falling DOW or your parents funeral. If you act too happy it comes off as impertinent or unprofessional. Keep your emotions under lid until you're out of the office and heading for home. Then you can jump and shout and celebrate all you want.

Third: Don't be effusive with thanks and praise to your employers after they've let you go. Sure, you're life has just changed for the better, but rubbing it in isn't going to get you that potential reference you might need down the line. Never burn a bridge. Yes, this may be the best thing that's happened in your life, but don't remind the people the just fired you that they still have to come into work the next day.

GOOD LUCK! If you're ever laid off from a company, it means that you shouldn't have been there in the first place, and that better and grander things await you in your productive and happy future life away from this place. Perhaps it's time you signed up for a course on Faking Smart!? Who knows just might learn something you never should have learned in the first place!



bronwen said...

Needing some faking smart advice, scenario: As I sit facing a non hiring client who is up for a free lunch expensed by my company I graciously am sipping my luke warm clam chowder and dipping my bland beef dip (I believe the actual name is french dip but the keg's twist switches it up to beef dip)I have no idea that my write up from the companies middle management an hour previous would soon be followed by my co workers lay off. Wishing I had suggested the japanese restaurant and knowing this corporate expensed lunch would lead to nothing but a few ackward silences and some not so interetsing conversation, my coworker was texting her news of being laid off and to meet her at the bar after I get off work.I realize after dropping off the not going to use my services client and peek at my phone "what is this text?" My mind yells. How can I possibly make it in the office without my distraction, my bosom buddy. I must face middle management alone the revolt will have to wait another day or possible I will have to change my escape route and cosider the noose? No I head in and the monotone squacks of middle management start it's chant wah wah wah budgets wah wah wah unfortunate wah wah moving forward wah wah wah get a good reference wah wah wah wah wah the clock ticks and after about a day and a half it is finally 5. How will I face Monday without my balls and soul intact without my fellow revolter by my side my yen my peanut butter to my

Karl Wolfbrooks Ager said...

I'm not sure what to tell you here, other than to simply say that it seems like you're in real distress over a coworker's departure.

I'll say right off that your first mistake was making a friend at work. This has clearly come back to haunt you, and in retrospect a poor decision on your part. That aside, what to do...

It seems that, if I understand you correctly, you've been written up? And if the trajectory remains on course, there's a good chance you'll be out of work soon, too, and able to spend as much time together with your friend as you like ...albeit, without income, health insurance, pension, job stability or a cubicle and chair.

Another idea may be to use a week of vacation time to think things over. If you still have your job when you get back, you may look at your situation in a different light.

I'm not a psychologist, by the way, but I think what you're experiencing is what is known in the field as separation anxiety. Your friend is gone ...what do you do?

Well, if I leave my dog, Spinoza, alone for long periods of time, I leave him with a tennis ball and a chew toy. Perhaps this is something you might try?

Good luck!

Sara said...

Actually, the best part of this so called "job" is our friendship...and that being said, it is not a mistake rather something we shall never regret. The fact that she has to go into work on Monday will be, just, a temporary situation as we, together, plan her escape route. As for me not being there along side her then, I see it as a definite change, but also one that will defy her existence there and sort of a motivation to move past all fears and outcomes to create a more positive outcome/future. If nothing else, our working along side each other has created the best friendship one could ever ask for and with that I also say "good luck" but with every intention to get her out of the corporate world as humanly possible!

Bronwen said...

yes a tennis ball and chew toy I hope is waiting for me at my cubicle, you left that didn't you Sara? SARA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sara said...

Alright, maybe it was a mistake....!

Ollie said...

I LOVE THIS. This is Olivera, I sent an e-mail regarding illustrating the book, and this stuff is making me LOL so hard. What a great find!