IT Employment

Anatomy of a layoff

When you've been laid off, there is a tendency to hold it against the person who had to deliver the news. Here's the layoff experience from the perspective of the line manager.

When you've been laid off, there is a tendency to hold it against the person who had to deliver the news. Here's the layoff experience from the perspective of the line manager.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Those of us who have experienced a layoff freely acknowledge that it takes an emotional and financial toll. Layoffs are almost always financially motivated, yet they can feel very personal. There is also a tendency on the one who is laid off to be angry at the person who has to deliver the news.

Although it's not what most people want to hear, the layoff process is also difficult for the manager who has to deliver the news. Not only is the process itself not pleasant, but most line managers don't have much input into the process or even the people selected for layoff. Here's the content of an e-mail I received from a TechRepublic member describing a layoff in his company:

My current employer is trying to make the task of deciding who to layoff as objective as possible. The process first started with an examination of all the contractors at the company. Legally and morally it is easier to end a contractor's employment, but not every contractor was let go, it depended on their role and the impact on the business.Once it was determined that cuts to contractors were not enough, senior management and HR provided a spreadsheet with catagories to rate all employees in catagories such as time with the company, reliability and performance. The catagories were scored with a 1-10 ranking and a total score created for each employee.

Having a rational framework attempts to take the personal side out of the equation. There are always interpersonal issues between managers and employees, but for the most part they should be ignored in a rational process. Better to look at programs and the people who work on them, and determine what programs are mandatory, and what can be cut, and then look at the staffing of those programs.

My choices have been made, and I have to layoff one employee from my group. I am unhappy to do it, but I really don't have a choice in the matter. The layoff will happen in January and until then I have to keep quiet. Of course it will make things slightly easier for the employee to have it happen in January as opposed to now, but it also means burns away at me until then.

I've had the experience of being laid off myself, and although it wasn't easy, at the time I was pretty much in shock and my supervisor was clearly distressed. Now I better understand what they went through as I face my own difficult choices.

I would like to hear from other managers about how much of a role they had in staff layoffs and how they handled it.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

95 comments
mllott
mllott

I was on the receiving end of a layoff in 2007. I was a contractor at Cummins. The manager somehow decided that it was better to NOT tell me at all, and I actually found out when a co-worker came to give me condolences two days before my scheduled termination. I usually don't like to trash companies specifically, but this company apparently has a long history of mis-handling such matters. To make matters worse, they had talked me into signing on as a contractor rather than as a regular employee, because they said my job would be more secure. I wish I could have somehow seen it coming at the time, but in hindsight it seemed quite obvious.

cvandorsten
cvandorsten

Unfortunately there is no cure to ease the pain. I also have been on both the receiving and passing side. The only thing you can hope for ist that the people who unfortunately have been layed off, have prepared themselfs financially or find a new (better) job soon. Furthermore you hope to be involved as a manager to have your saying in the matter as soon as possible. The most important thing is to communicate as soon as possible to your personnel that a layoff round is on hand. This usually resolves in a number of people leaving the company. Furthermore I would look at people who are on the brink of retiering and ask them to retire earlier than planned and loose all contracters you can safely send home. This all eases painfull decissions to your personnel. But again, there's no cure for the painfull decission. You have to go through it and thank the Lord it missed you and be prepared finacially, the next round might hit you!

tahendrick
tahendrick

I have been on both the receiving and giving sides and laying off employees and it hurts. I have never really gotten over the pain of having to lay off my whole staff back in 2001.

melekali
melekali

...I have never had to lay off anyone.

tom.doran
tom.doran

If your criteria are it sounds as though you are understaking disciplinary action. When did this person become unreliable and under-performing? Were these problems addresed them? If they needed to be let go, that would have been the time to do it. You might have been able to keep a more valuable contractor.

liamwinters
liamwinters

I have over 20 years in IT, 9 of which in management. I too have been on both sides being laid off and having to let someone from my group go. I really didn't have much say in the process of letting someone go, and when it happened, a HR rep was with me who did most of the talking. The only good thing that came of people I had to let go was they found equal or better jobs.

vhomick
vhomick

This was a very concise view of the layoff process.. Well done. I have been involved in the layoff process four times. Twice as a manager and twice as the one on the receiving end. As a manager on the positive side, the department that I was working in required accountability for everyones time. This made it very easy to make the decisions and there was no surprise on the employees end either. The other side of the coin from a management perspective is that you never know how an employee will react. My experience has been that the ones you expect the best from act the worst. Lesson learned hope for the best but plan for the worst. Thanks again for the article

tom
tom

I was laid off in 1995 and of course it wasn't easy, what is interesting is that ALL of the people involved with delivering the new were laid off at the end...........so much for loyalty and being a "good soldier". I spoke to one of them later and she said it would have been easier if she had been let go first.

silvioandpauly
silvioandpauly

Our 2 top execs got a 600K increase last year, but we are now laying off. It's a sin.

chas_2
chas_2

As always, it's not the what, but the how. It's my impression that most managers know little or nothing about how to deliver bad news like this because they haven't been trained in how to do it. If they got their position as a cashed-in favor, I'd imagine this is even more the case. Sensitivity is critical when sharing bad news such as a layoff with an employee. I think it's important to offer any positive reassurances where possible. But in some cases a manager's temperament or disposition - particulary if a bit unpleasant or gruff - may make the receiving of such news a quite hurtful experience. I would think this would be even more the case in family-run businesses, where it's likely no one has gone to business school, and where the owners may feel that their capital and day-to-day involvement is all it takes to be good management material. I think the best managers are always good human beings - open, perceptive, and considerate. I think these days there aren't enough of those.

rick
rick

I was a store manager of a retail shop and I had to lay off an employee for suspected theft (among other reasons.) When I told the gal she was done working for me, she went into an all-out tyraid on how I was a heartless bast**d and a whole bunch of names for several minutes. She was so loud that people in adjacent shops could hear the tyraid. The manager of the shop next to mine heard the yelling and thought I had just been caught cheating or something, so she came over to get a look. By this time I had told the gal I fired that if she didn't vacate I was calling the police. I followed her to the front door to make sure she left. After she left I was just standing by the front door in shock, having just taken one of the worst verbal abuses of my lifetime. The adjacent shop manager comes up and gives me a hug and says "I think that girl was lying. That girl called you a heartless bast**d but I can hear your heart and it's beating like heck." She is now my wife of almost 7 years.

Sundance15
Sundance15

I didn't have any input as to who was laid-off, but I was lucky enough to be able to say how the news was delivered to my team. My then-employer just wanted to send out an email that basically said "in two days you're outta here." While other managers in the company accepted this impersonal course of action, I had more respect for my team than that. I asked to personally tell my team. It was hard, for them and for me, but they were grateful for how I handled it. I kept their respect as someone who treats people the way I want to be treated.

db8abl
db8abl

There aught to be a very simple rule: If management is going to initiate a layoff, then for every department effected at least one member of that department's management and one member of the HR department will be included in the process. Management should have done a better job and HR should have seen it comming and prepared by controlling normal attrition. By crosstraining current overhead for the vacant positions and reassigning personnel you "manage" the company. That's what you get paid for. Their respective jobs don't start with the layoff process, they END with the layoff process. So quit your whining and false justification and do your jobs now! Then you won't have to tell all your friend (who still have jobs) how hard a day you had at work today.

Kaos331
Kaos331

It is tough for both sides without question. But, this is an opportunity for IT workers to learn something. We have to be more involved in the business that the company engages in. Just being technically competent and/or experienced will not be enough much longer. We will need to be as competent about the business and it's industry as we are with our current skill sets. When we become part of the business we can make informed decisions about the operations and future of the company. Many of us cannot do that today because we are considered a support function either by choice or design. Knowing the company is bloated and spending money like drunken lemurs or running efficiently is good to know when the economy is tanking. It would be possible to make appropriate career decisions before the pink slip arrives.

a.southern
a.southern

I does take a few months to get over the feelings of being laid off. I was a contractor and given 5 minutes to leave the building. This happened the week My wife had gone overseas to visit her parents and I was finalising the purchase of our first home (hence all the finances tied up in that). It worked out fine in the end because we'd been sensible about what property we were buying, and had luck or divine intervention on our side! I'm so glad we bought sensibly now, with property prices falling etc. I was approached about 12 months afterwards to ask if I could come back and work for this company again for a similar rate, I told them "No hard feelings, but you're looking at double my hourly rate that I was originally on!" That wasn't to do with the company laying me off, but I'd turned a corner and moved up the engineering design food chain as a direct consequence of the redundancy, so I'd have been earning that anyway. -AS

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Layoffs are just one of those unpleasant facts of life that we all face. Whether the manager who actually had to hand out the pink slip likes or dislikes the task is irrelevant. Whether he or she actually had a hand in making the decision about whom got laid off is also pretty irrelevant. What possible difference does it make whether or not that managers heart is bleeding? Results are the same. AND ... it is part of that managers job. Don't like it? Don't take the job. It's as simple as that. Yes, I've had the position before of being the one to do the lay off, or the flat out firing, of employees. Mostly the task really sucks. But, it needs to be done, just like any other assigned task. That said ... employers and managers sometimes make the layoff even more painful and unpleasant for the person being laid off. Mostly, IMHO, because they're moral cowards. Or just don't give a damn. It can help cushion the blow if the powers that be would have at least enough balls and honesty to give a warning ahead of time. Specific names need not be mentioned. Just a general statement that the company is having problems, and/or the economy is bad, whatever. Some info about the company's current financial situation. And a bit of an overview of the current plan. Such as, "We're strongly considering shutting down Branch A. (Or department X)", or "We see the need to cut 11% of our employees." Whatever is the case. Yes, this can impact the company's business posture, might have an impact of stock value, yadda, yadda, yadda ... insert whatever sleazy excuses you wish. But at least you're giving your employees some warning. Some time for them to absorb the facts, consider their next moves, postpone that new car purchase, stock up the kitchen food cabinets, etc. In short, you show some concern and compassion for your employees. Then at some point, refine the warning to indicate at least somewhat where you plan to make the cuts. This lets some breath a bit easier, and alerts those who work in the specified areas know, "It could be me, I'd better start looking at my options and make plans." Then when the time comes to take action, don't send a low level flunky, or just anonymously drop pinks slips into somebody's in-basket. Have someone who actually has some power and authority such as to have had some input as to who got cut and why do the dirty work. Can be a one on one where manager explains how and why decision was made, express some sort of caring about employee ... if nothing else a handshake and expressed hopes for best future possible, etc. Or it can be a group being given parting speech by same. BUT ... DO NOT MAKE IT ANONYMOUS AND IMPERSONAL. Give em some feedback so they know why, precisely. The only thing worse than going home with pink slip in hand is not knowing why YOU got the axe. You wonder if you didn't measure up, or maybe the other guy just kissed ass better than you did, and so forth. You're likely to be going out to look for another job. Which is made more difficult if you don't know whether you were laid off simply because you were low man on the totem pole as concerns time of employment with that firm, or because your specific job skills were no longer needed at that place, or because you were found lacking somehow. Discovering that your performance was lacking is not pleasant, but at least one now knows and can maybe do something about correcting that. But yah can't fix that which you don't know about. Skills inadequate or antiquated? Okay, still not nice to learn about yourself but once you know, it's something you can work on fixing. Etc. At least yah know why it was YOU that was let go. And you can work from there. You know where yah stand. Get my point? The WORST case, IMHO, is those sleazy employers who keep everything hush-hush and secret, and the first time people know they're going out the door is when yah arrive at work and find you're locked out. No notice, no explanation, no expressed regrets, no handshake and thanks given for what you did for the company while you were there ... nothing. Companies who employ such tactics I have no respect for, nor for any of their executives or senior management. Any time I've been the one who had to let someone go, we had a sit down talk, I explained, and I answered any questions I could. And I wished person the best of luck in the future. Yep, it sucked. Sometimes got emotional. Some got very angry. But I was gonna put up with it so that at least the person got the respect of being treated like a human being as versus just an employee number on a time card. I even did the same for those being fired for cause. I'd explain their lacks/faults, give em feedback on how they might correct same in the future. Let em yell and get angry if it came to that, even had em cry on me. But I'd at least give em something to work with in their future, they'd know WHY, specifically. After that, was up to them to take corrective action. Heck, where I work now, -I- might be axed in the coming months. Who knows? We've plenty of work right now, but don't know about 6 months from now. Things get ad enough, the company will have to do some layoffs. I understand that. Won't like it a bit if its me. But that's reality. The team I work with now, are ALL very good. Excellent. But if cuts have to be made, they have to be made. Could be me. Depending on how deep the cuts would be. Unfortunately, in the team where I work, we haven't any sleaze balls or no-loads, or raw newbies, etc. So any cutting to be done, good men will be cut. So I've set mind to the fact that I could be job hunting come summer. And have made sure that my backup plans are in place if it comes to that. All my licenses (they're required in my specialties) and certs are current and up to date. Have been brushing up on some rusty skills and learning a couple new ones. And if it gets really bad, I have checked out my trusty tool box and instrument carrying cases to make sure all is there and in working order. I can drop back to an install/repair job if needed. In couple or 3 fields. Besides the computer/automation field I'm now in, I'm also a licensed HVAC mechanic and licensed electrician. A fair rough carpenter. Decent plumber. Etc. So I can and will find SOMETHING. Would probably pay less, and would certainly not be as interesting, to me, as what I'm doing now. But would keep a roof over my family's head and food on the table. My father and grandfather BOTH stressed upon me years ago when I was a youngster to learn to do something with my hands that people would always need done. And to maintain the tools for such work and any certifications or licensing necessary to do such work. And I've done that. My father, even after he owned his own company, had maintained his licensing and papers as a heavy equipment operator/truck driver. That helped him when during one bad downturn of the economy, back in the 70's, during which his first company that he owned when down the tubes. He went back to work as a heavy equipment operator. Put money aside, and started a new company some years later. Which was successful and stayed successful. Grandpa had been a mechanic. Later got into buying, selling, and trading industrial chemicals mainly used by oil field companies. Same deal, at one point that biz went into the dumps. Went back to work as a truck mechanic. Which kept the bills paid until the other biz picked up again. My personal opinion is that anyone can benefit by having a second skill in some field unrelated, or not too closely related, to their primary current job. Something to fall back on.

jrp65
jrp65

Who rated the managers?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I have had the problem of waiting to be let go and cancelling my contract, but they wanted me to hang around like a loose tooth. Took immense amounts of time off for various reasons, don't do much when in the office (though I still tend to my clients properly, you never know when you need to rekindle those relationships). I had two offers on the table, one I wanted to jump on but I don't want to quit due to financial reasons and my contract didn't offer a release until after a March review. (NOTE: You get paid the an extra two weeks ((four in my case)) and its due "on-the-spot" when you are fired here :D ). I won't tell the boss to F-O (he's not THAT bad of a guy), I simply ignored him, and besides doing something illegal, I just didn't know what it would take to get these guys to push me out the door. My next move was to get a signing bonus from the new employer that covered financial loss of quitting and then simply be done with it. But I HATE to quit, though forcing being fired isn't any better I suppose.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I don't need you. Businesses can dress it up how they like, but bottom line, no matter how objective the process, that's what's being said. Sympathy for the person who made the decsion, or communicated it from a coward, only someone who didn't have any for the person being laid off would expect it.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Not trying to be too funny, but I have this bridge for sale, one careful owner.

JamesRL
JamesRL

The whole reason to use contractors is to give them employer some flexibility - they can let them go at a moments notice without paying penalties. That should be a big hint right there. Your company did you a grave misservice by letting others know before you got the notice. Thats pretty rotten treament. One of my former employers had it down to a fine art. They sent out a notice to the IT Manager the day before a layoff, and they would tell the person who was going to change passwords the morning of the layoff. Everyone knew the penalty for not holding the information confidential would be pretty severe. James

JamesRL
JamesRL

The whole reason to use contractors is to give them employer some flexibility - they can let them go at a moments notice without paying penalties. That should be a big hint right there. Your company did you a grave misservice by letting others know before you got the notice. Thats pretty rotten treament. One of my former employers had it down to a fine art. They sent out a notice to the IT Manager the day before a layoff, and they would tell the person who was going to change passwords the morning of the layoff. Everyone knew the penalty for not holding the information confidential would be pretty severe. James

notwired
notwired

I worked for a company that was highly regarded by a prominent PC Publication as being the best company at resolving problems with PCs over the Internet. How did the company thank the employees' that got them there, first of all by wasting large sums of money on what no one person has figured out, the first wave of workers and managers that they laid were some of the most intelligent hard working and highest paid employee's (No one was over paid for their jobs) who each got one week severance. After that moral became real bad and the remaining managers who were always fair. Plus we got to to meetings and listen to BS from the CEO saying they were going to try everything to survive in opinion looking back it was all lies. Metrics became King and service delivery was none existent. Some people "lost call" quality of work became poor for the people that tried to do the right thing if your metrics were high you were told that they had to be lower even though SOP was being followed. Since metrics was the King and quality was not there people that had great metrics were applauded. Myself and some of my co-workers was never applauded. I am very proud of the fact that myself and some of my co-workers did not lower our standards. We were finally all let go....we were told that we lost our jobs via an IM from a manager who got laid off before the rest of us. If the manager did not have the kindness to tell us we would never have been told instead we would have received our layoff notifications Via FED-EX the next day. I consider myself very lucky I have health insurance through my wife some of my former co-workers did not and are not eligible for COBRA since the assets were seized by the bank. The sad thing is that the managers, techs and co-workers worked very hard to make this company great and because CEO's and co partners did not listen to the mangers who worked the front lines who were extremely smart the company no longer exist. But please remember I am telling the story from my prospective the truth consist of three parts what I saw, what others like the CEO and co partners saw and what actually happened Needless to say I will always think many times when any prominent computer magazine states that a product is the best

JamesRL
JamesRL

If the OP was doing a ranking, then there weren't any obvious poor performers to deal with, or they woudln't be going through the exercise. Its kinda given that if someone is on a performance plan they would be the first to go. So if they are going through the ranking process, everyone has acceptable performance, but in ranking you can sift out who you should clearly keep and who you should considerly laying off. Of course, after doing the ranking, you have to apply common sense - the ranking would be a starting point. Its also makes more sense in a scenario where you have a large number of people doing more or less the same task. James

MichaelPO
MichaelPO

This applies to bosses and employees. There are good ones, professional ones and bad ones on both sides. Good companies typically have managers who can do this professional, not personally. In the end, it sucks for everyone. I have been there as management and staff.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I recall one organization where the packages were more generous earlier in the process and by the end they were little more than the legal minimums. I have a friend who is still at a firm I left 10 years ago, who has laid off many, and expects to be laid off himself at some point. Of course its often bad for those left behind as the workload and stress increases as well. But he is determined to stick it out. James

bobk
bobk

I realize it's not part of the process, but having had to lay off several employees for financial reasons over the years, it always bothered me that HR and/or Legal insisted that it be kept secret until the last minute to the point where they would almost tell you to lie if someone asked whether there would be layoffs coming. When did we get to the point as an overly litigious society that being honest with employees as well as giving them some time to potentially prepare for the consequences of being let go became less important than not getting sued or having a little private management secret?

njoy_d_ride
njoy_d_ride

Oslyo53, I'm sure that you know that most companies will never make its intentions to lay off known prior to doing so because they fear that it will be the "good" workers who will go immediately and find a new job, leaving them with the workers they would have laid off anyway. Put another way it takes away their opportunity to clean house. So lets say that they are moral cowards who give a damn about their business, but not their workers.

lexys
lexys

I agree with you! oh poor manager, boo hoo for you, how hard life is for you, but wait a minute..... you're still employed! and paid at a higher rate than your plebs, and that's why you're paid more- to do all the things that suck like firing people. It's part and parcel of your position, get over yourselves and stop whining about it like you really want me to believe that you care. How often do you see managers get laid off?

graeme
graeme

If your boss is not that much of a bad guy, I would recommend sitting down with him and discussing the down turn the company is suffering and the likehood that lay offs are in the pipeworks. You can then broach the subject that you are willing to save the company time and money by having them let you go. Plotting of ways to "get fired" always has knock on effects...none of them good. If they really want to have you round, consider asking for a salary increase, that usually tests the waters =) Good luck

JamesRL
JamesRL

Its only human nature to think the worst when you get the message. But in truth its usually that I don't need you, not "you are a non-productive employee". The needs of businesses change. Business is in general pretty competitive and have to watch costs. Better to trim a few employees than to declare bankruptcy and lose all employees and pensions. Of course that is the extreme. I disagree strongly with your last statement. I once had to lay someone off in order to cut costs. She didn't do anything wrong, but her tasks could have been shared among others without any major productivity impact. She'd been in the job for just a couple of years. It was the logical thing to do to lay her off as opposed to the others. But I still had major sympathy for her, the act was hard for both of us. Obviously it had a greater impact on her, but if you suggest that I had no sympathy at all, then sir, you are an unempathetic ass. Similarly when my friend and boss laid me off a few years back, he almost cried. Guess he was just an unfeeling coward in your books huh. James

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

But its a shame. "When did we get to the point as an overly litigious society that being honest with employees as well as giving them some time to potentially prepare for the consequences of being let go became less important than not getting sued or having a little private management secret?" The thing is, if yah haven't got a legally justifiable reason for letting an employee go, then you probably should not be doing it at all. If you DO have suitable justification, what's the problem? People threaten to sue, and indeed file lawsuits, all the time. For almost any reason imaginable, and sometimes for reasons no sane person would ever imagine. There is no rhyme or reason to it, nor is it really predictable. IMHO, if the person is inclined to sue, they're gonna do it whether you give em warning and advance notice of termination or not. Treating people shabbily is likely to piss em off and encourage a lawsuit. So if you're gonna do a layoff or firing, and have good reasons, IMO you go about it the best way possible. Give due advance notice so they can make suitable preparations for the event. Spend a bit of time explaining the reasons. Shake their hands and thank em for their past service and express your regrets for this action, and your hopes that things will turn out well for them in the future. I'm thinking you'll avoid more lawsuits that way, than the other. Not to mention that you're more likely to avoid the adverse publicity you might get if yah treat people shabby. I'm thinking of a recent case I saw on the news where a bunch of employees that found themselves locked out without prior warning got together and marched around in front of the establishment with protest signs saying how that company SUCKED. The news camera guy made sure he showed the company's sign with their name on it prominently and repeatedly. Just what a company needs. You've already got financial problems ... now you're getting bad publicity on all the national news services as heartless, gutless wonders who don't give a rip about their own employees. That should help your business a lot.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Perhaps there are a lot of companies who'll never make their intentions known and be up front and honest. But there are a significant number of companies out there who will. I've worked for some. And hear about others regularly in the news. But I don't know enough to even hazard a guess as to what the ratio is between the two types. I do know that when I did work for a corporation who had the bad habit of not giving honest warnings and notifications, and who in fact would keep you in the dark until one day when you'd show up and find out you couldn't get in the building ... I turned in my 3 week notice and took a walk on em. And wouldn't go back when they later called (some months later) and asked me to return. I can tolerate a lot. But I can't tolerate dishonesty and underhanded sneakiness. Would MUCH rather they be upfront and honest, even if the news is not good.

JamesRL
JamesRL

And I'm not whining but its often harder for managers to find a new job because companies prefer to promote people from within the company - because they already know the corporate culture and processes, and thats more important for a manager than an entry level person. My company just laid off a supervisor and a director. In talking with one of the VPs yesterday, someone who has been here 25 years, he is suggesting his job isn't safe. He would have to sell his house, as he is years from retirement age. But hey go ahead and hate managers if that makes you feel better. James

antplate
antplate

then they whittled their way down through the floors as the Directors/Board/Upper Management were on the top floor and ironically the HR was on the bottom. First week there was 1 of the board of directors axed with a manager from the next floor (where the workers worked), then there were the workers on that floor, then my floor (i was one of two of the same position on that floor, but in the job the least amount of time!) so yeah, i went, along with a few others before going to the floor below to wave their 'magic wand'... this was during the post-dot.com bubble burst leading into the 9/11 downturn periods, but i believe this (IT/Web/Design) company still exists but as a much much more scaled down, niche area operator. Bizarrely this axe fell on the top and seemed to work its way down, which was quite interesting as ive never encountered that way round before or since - like its been pointed out, managers tend to be the last to go as they have the duty to carry out the executions.

Old Speckled Hen
Old Speckled Hen

Some managers get higher bonuses (performance related?) by cutting costs (laying off workers), irrespective of impact on service provided. Others revel in the news of the economic downturn (even though the company is not effected) and use it as an excuse to cut costs. Then there are the managers who have heard of outsourcing the job functions of the permanent employees at 3rd of the cost. By the time they realise that you get what you pay for, it is too late! But the board will think that the manager has done a great job because it has had immediate positive impact on the bottom line. Whilst all the time, the manager will be telling the employees that he is doing his best to protect your jobs.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I've been on both sides of that fence and see your point exactly. I never take offense to being 'let go'. In most cases, if you don't see it coming you were blind. If you are THAT out of touch with your employer, employer's revenue stream and unable to estimate the costs per chair in the office then its best you are let go anyway. In many cases the employee will be mroe aware of the issues than teh employer will admit, making it easy for you to bail out before the rough words are shared with you. I have fired people and phoned a competitor to receommend them, then sent them straight to the competiitor to start a new job. I suppose I fit that "unfeeling coward" role too. Shucks, and they bought me beers and said I was a great (former) boss. :( I have only been suprised by a layoff once, and I had seen it coming the year before but thought things had settled, in the end I am still good friends with the owners and staff of that company, still recommend them to others who can use them. I was also in IT at that time too, so that explains a lot. It was a forced, complete system change, which I was not certed for and had no interest in to begin with; I guess they knew that and arranged for an alternate then.

jck
jck

I feel for supervisors/managers who have to do it as a "part of their job" to deliver the message. It really sucks when you have a good professional rapport with people and build a team, and then "business needs require some changes". Funny thing is, executives always think to cut the little people who do all the work and only make $25000-70000, rather than cutting the people up top who get $90000-500000 + bonuses and only plan and organize and oversee things. Personally if I were a CEO, I can almost guarantee that I could divvy up planning, organizing, thinking of new concepts, and hobknobbing at the country club and golf course amongst other executives, and get rid of one exec that would enable me to keep 3-8 of my product producers to keep the money incoming while times are toughest. But, I really don't want to be a CEO. I don't like watching golf and eating froofy cheeses and drinking most bordeauxs lol :^0

JamesRL
JamesRL

Anyone in the upper reaches of management (VP/CIO/CEO) in mid to large companies have "golden handcuffs". These are intended to ensure that they don't leave when the next bidder offers them a couple of bucks more. These same golden handcuffs usually include provisions in case of layoffs. This reflects not only the "value" that companies place on senior execs but the cost of taking out an exec in the disruption to the organization. Executive compensation often has a much higher proportion of non-salary incentives like stock options etc., than "normal" staff. So you have to look at the total compensation package when trying to determine what a good severence package would be. James

buddyfarr
buddyfarr

Why would it cost a lot of money to let execs go? unless you were foolish and signed a long contract that you HAVE to buy them out of. Then stupid on the company for doing that. Most companies are at will companies so they can let you go whenever they want for any reason, or no reason at all.

jck
jck

except when i was working in govt jobs. Then, I wasn't allowed to accept any gift that was passive in nature and less than $25. Once I went to training classes, and I was in another class and the head of sales gave me a bunch of free Microsoft stuff from another training course that someone cancelled out of and didn't take. I called my boss and made sure it was okay for me to accept it, seeing as it was $1ks of software. I try to never take anything from anyone, except close personal friends or relatives. If there's any chance it will be seen as impropriety, I stay away from it.

THOR01
THOR01

My Fiance was just laid off. She worked for a VP as a branch mgr. making 45K. She had always had top reviews and had been there 5 years and never had a negative anything from anyone. They (she included)had just hired a new person two weeks earlier and the VP was just moving into his new $1mil house. They Pres. did the deed with the VP there stating all the way about how money was sooo tight. Oh, by the way all top exec's have there cars paid for by the company.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But it wasn't a check, it was a gift card from our primary customer! :0 Hey, it bought some groceries... :D

jck
jck

that's a problem with the establishment. you'd think it's harder to find someone who can actually make something that earns profits...than someone who can point a finger and say "make this happen" whether it's good for the corp or not. lol

jck
jck

always the salesman, aren't ya Oz? Actually, I already have friends in corporate industry (trucking, technical) and the Canadian government itself. Who knows...maybe Canada will buy my software outright for US$10M and I will retire to NC in a cabin and play guitar and go to Ireland 3 times a year to meet up with my European friends. Thanks for the well wishes tho. I'll keep you in mind :)

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

With you rproject, from your comments the last couple of days, it is clear that you are driven and eager. Let me know when you need Canadian distribution and exposure. ;)

jck
jck

because of what happened at the last job mainly...but because of some other things in the past...as well as with the one thing that happened at the current job. At the last job when I interviewed, it was 8:30 start time. Day I was to start, it became 8:00 start. within a couple weeks it became 7:45...then 7:30. Soon, I was working 10 hour days and usually taking no lunch. Then at this job I'm at now, the boss said I could show up when I wanted as long as I did my work, worked the 8 hours, and didn't leave before 4:30pm. I thought...hey...I'm not gonna have to report like a child anymore. Right after Thanksgiving, I had a bill to pay. First attempt, found out the office had moved locations. So, I was to work about 8:45 am. Did my work for 8 hours. Should be no problem, right? That night, I google the location, take the bill there the next morning and drop it off, then head into work and got there about 8:40 am. I get told I was late...and that I was to be here at 8:00am. So now, I get here as close to 8am as I can, work til 4:30pm...sometimes take lunch...then leave and try not to work a minute more. If I have to report like a child and not be treated like an adult, I'll act like a child and do no more than I have to and not try to be as good as I can. KISS principle kicks in. If my business takes off like I'm hoping, I won't have to mess with all of this for more than another year or so. Hopefully, I'll be working for myself by next summer exclusively, and be able to arrange my own hours and what not.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Yup, having the ball in my court, I become the stickler. One point i musty clear up though, when I said headhunters, I didn't mean recruiters but managers of other companies asking me if I want to contract to them. I don't deal with recruiters normally. as for being a stickler, I was given a lucrative offer and sent it back to the table because I don't want to work Fridays anymore, unless by choice to get things sorted. I've done it before, years ago, but forgot to set it up with my last few deals. So my salary etc will be based on a 4 day work week, niiiiiice. As for dress code and such, in my line of work I know my customers. No ties, no suits, business casual (polo etc.)is teh norm unelss for a formal event. Meetings? Yuck. Formal meetings? Yuckier. Coffee shop, bar, golf course, strip club after hours etc. fine. I work in a world where clients already use and buy products I rep, I simply offer a manufacturer's contact to them and teh manufacturer pays for me to see them, throw swag at them, buy them hockey tickets or dinner etc. I don't take sales orders, don't stock products or anything like that, I am just a physical representation of eth company. If they have problems, I steer them in the right direction, but its not my problem to resolve. I just make sure they have access to information, products and offer sales support as needed.

jck
jck

Yeah, I get them all the time. Triad, Veredus, KForce, etc etc etc. All want me to go interview with their clients, cause I meet all the skills. But, I won't go anywhere until I tell someone I'm writing the terms and they have to agree. Things I'll change if I ever work for anyone else again: - I start off with 5 weeks of vacation a year. - If you don't let me take it during the year, it is paid as overtime pay at time and a half. - Any new technologies they adopt, they become responsible for paying for and sending me to proper training to learn it rather than expect me to use personal time to do so. - Dress codes will be negotiated. I will not wear a tie outside of a formal meeting with outside clients. Just some things I have never liked working for others. If my business gets big enough and I have to hire someone to help, meetings with clients in our offices will always be business casual. in their office...business formal. outside of offices...personal casual (within good taste). But, I can't stomach some of the requirements in jobs nowadays or the vague terms they put into agreements. I will get it crossed and dotted and make sure all points and terms are clear so there's no minute technicality they can use. but...sounds good, Oz. good luck to ya.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Sorry, I hate to be positive in a world where we are all supposed to hide under our beds waiting for the end to come, but I find that employers are gettign very competitive. I get one headhunter call with an offer and I reject it, only to have him call back suggesting he'd meet my needs. I have two offers on the table now, one just upped their salary offer by just over 30K yr to meet the other, I explained that I wasn't looking for them to MEET the other opportunity. The othee one seems more appealing to me, so then they offered me bigger year end bonuses, more travel and an extra week vacation. Still think I'll stick with the first offer though, more fun. But the bottom line is that it indicates that employers are becoming more competitive in their search for the right people. I am not saying I'm worth more than others but this is just how things have been unfolding for me recently. Where I used to have two or three options and would weigh out the best overall offer put forth, I now have the offers being changed to attract me to work with them. I used to go after emplyers and sell my value to dictate my salary, now they just say how much does it take to get you on board.

jck
jck

I did think of that. Like if I got a multi-office medical group, I would discount based on the number of licenses...plus give them a bigger break on maintenance so that their on-going cost drops per seat with the more licenses they buy. I will concrete the pricing structure once I have the software written, do installs to all of the 5 windows (98-Vista) PCs I have in my house...figure out what deployment times are and what's required...then make up the offering from there.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It costs a lot of money to let executives go. Its often better to cut costs where you just have to cough up two weeks severance to some low wage earner.

JamesRL
JamesRL

From someone that 20 years ago was an independant consultant. Give your biggest customers the option of buying your time up front. Charge them between 5 and 10% of what they spent on the software and give them access to you by phone on bugs etc., for free as well as X hours of free consulting. Get that up front, and give them a discount on your hourly. You will hopefully retain them more with that arrangement. James

jck
jck

That's what I'm looking at doing when I get the software done and go to doing installs: Phone support: $50 an hour without a maintenance contract/$free with maintenance contract On-site support: $150 an hour at-work, $30 an hour for travel (in-transit time only...from leaving my house til I get to the site/hotel) I might charge more per hour for things like having to support someone else's hardware, software, etc. But, I could never charge $250 an hour or more...unless it was to an attorney who'd charged me $200 an hour for sitting in his office figuring out how to do a will. :^0 But yeah, I am hoping that I can kinda meld the two. Make $30-50 an hour part time consulting on PCs, make $30-150 from the software side, plus make $500-2500 per module in sales for the software i'm writing. Hopefully in 15 months...i will be retired.

jdclyde
jdclyde

keep in mind, a consultant has to charge more to make up for the time between jobs, as well as overhead. My bud charges $150 standard hours and $250 after 5pm and on weekends, travel time included, but he only sees about 20% of it for himself.

jck
jck

I have never been paid a lot to work, except YEARS ago when I consulted when I was first out of college. I was making $30-50 an hour, and that was 1994. I don't even make that much now on a per-hour payscale. I'll never forget making almost $200 an hour for that company, and getting paid 12.5% of it as my salary. Made me wonder what was so expensive about employing me that they kept 7/8 of it and i never got a raise and the customer was paying all the incidentals (travel, hotel, per diem, etc). Of course, my bosses always got bonuses. Some deserved them...some didn't.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Most that give bonuses don't pay top wages - they use bonuses as an alternative form of compensation, to stimulate performance. The problem comes when people who have gotten them for 20 years in a row come to expect that they will get them no matter what the condition of the company or economy. I saw an old friend on New Years eve who worked at one of my former employers, one that suffered during the dot com boom and never recovered. He hasn't had a raise since 2002. He hasn't had a bonus obviously either, so in effect he made less since 2002. I don't expect much of a bonus this year, if any, as our industry is in the tank. Our customers are failing left and right so I am content that I'm not in their shoes. James

jck
jck

i could just get a bonus of any kind. never gotten a bonus check. must be nice. oh well, my bonus checks will come if my business takes off and i get rich and retire next year. anyways...back to coding. i gotta earn the dollars that pay for my house.

JamesRL
JamesRL

When I was laid off, I was doing strategic planning for a large IT department - they decided that given their short term cash crunch, long term planning might not be worthwhile., and that the CIO could take on the task - in a more limited way than what I was doing, but enough to get by (no bordeauxs for me though). In my current job there are a couple of directorships unfilled where others will be covering for it. It means extra workload and extra travel. As for bonuses, my bosses bonus is more tied to company performance than mine, and mine is more tied to company performance than my staff. Which means in this climate, my staff will get closer to their target bonus than me or my boss. And thats the way it should be. Only wish that those companies in my mutual fund had similar provisions, I'd sleep sounder at night. James