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Should I Sacrifice Someone's Job for the Good of the Company?

By jmarkovic32 ·
I was just called into a secret meeting by my CFO in regards to our financial situation. We're bleeding cash and our reserves are down to around half a million dollars when just two years ago they were 4 times that. The source of our problems, according to the CFO is our line of business app which is an in-house app created by our developer. The CFO wants to chuck it in favor of an off-the-shelf solution. I agreed with him. The software is a huge single point of failure. On top of that we're not able to bill our customers appropriately and bring in the cash.

If we eliminate the software, we basically eliminate the job of the developer who I have a pretty friendly relationship with. But the company comes first. If we keep losing money hand over fist the company goes under and so do I.

The funny thing is that the CFO was asking my advice. I've gained a lot of clout over the years with him. By agreeing with him I fear that I may have influenced his decision. I hate politics. I just want to solve problems using technology, not be responsible for folks getting fired.

Even worse, he mentioned that he might have to eliminate my supervisor's and the developer's jobs if he were to go with the OTS solution. That made me feel even worse.

Should I be feeling bad? Should I have taken a neutral stance or really have told him how I felt? He assured me that our conversation was confidential.

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All Answers

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You have to be honest.

by JamesRL In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

If thats what you think is truly best for the survival of the business, then you have to share your honest opinion.

Whats the alternative - if you "shield" the CFO from the truth, and it causes the business to continue to bleed, then in the end you cause more pain to more people.

I was in a situation, where a former boss/friend hired me at a new company, and three years later after a major downturn for the company, had to lay me off as part of an overall 25% reduction). Of course I was shocked, but in the end I understood, and if I'd been in his place, would have made the same call.

I've done layoffs, and who I like and don't like can't factor into the decision. Its about whats best for the company. I know how difficult it can be, I lose sleep, and its upsetting. But you have to try and take the emotion out and do whats best for the business. If an entire company runs on feelings, not business, it won't be in business long.

Be thankful you don't have to be the one delivering the news.

James

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Tough Cookie

by brian In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

WOW, that puts you in a extremely tight spot. You are friends with the developer of the program that is a "failure". If the developer can not get his application running properly to bring in the money that you are not getting, I would be in agreence with both you and the CFO (if the developer is not working to resolve the problem, he is not getting his job done, wasting company time and money, and causing a loss of company money). As for you supervisor, I am not sure why his/her position would need to be elimanated. I would make mention to your CFO that it would be a good idea to keep your developer and supervisor on staff for future projects that may need to be completed, but also that while going through the transition process, you need to have somebody there who knows the original programming so you can migrate the data successfully (this may be enough to keep both of their jobs at the compnay for a while longer and may also prove to your CFO that they are a good asset to the compnay, but the original idea of the program you are currently using just did not work out). Just an idea/thought from a nutural person.

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Wrong Question

by Maevinn In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

You weren't asked if they should be fired, you aren't the one who is firing them. You were asked if you felt an application was functioning, and you answered truthfully. That's your job, not the hiring and firing.

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I Can See What You're Saying, But I Still Don't Like It...

by jmarkovic32 In reply to Wrong Question

This is all new to me. My supervisor and the developer has an alliance on the current application. They both want to keep it. They both manage and maintain it. I handle all of the infrastructure stuff. I realize that the developer is a single point of failure. The CFO too realized that and pulled me aside after a meeting about larger financial issues.

Truth is that if there's no software, there's no need for a developer. Knowing that my stance can have an influence on someone getting let go bugs me. I guess I'm not management material yet. But I do want to be in management someday. I know I need to get over that. I can't let my feelings get in the way of good business sense.

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Whats the alternative?

by JamesRL In reply to I Can See What You're Say ...

If things stay the same, your company will be out of money in a few months. And at least now there is enough to pay severence.

James

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Dude, you're getting two jobs

by Kenone In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

Your bosses and the developers. He was just letting you know. Get your resume up to date and start looking, won't be long.

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Company Cutbacks

by KSoniat In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

In this current economic situation most companies are having to tighten some belts and let people go. I think it is important that you are truthful with your CFO.

About feeling bad: If I told you to not feel bad - could you stop doing so? I think you are feeling empathy for the people about to be let go and that will make you a good manager ultimately. It doesn't sound like you are the cause, you are just confirming what the CFO already believed to be true.

Take the developer out for a beer afterward, or better yet critique his resume and offer to give a reference (if it's warranted).

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What are the costs of implementation?

by jdclyde In reply to Should I Sacrifice Someon ...

I have seen that song and dance before, and in the majority of the time the off-the-shelf costs a ton to implement, costs more to maintain, and does not serve the company as well.

The in-house is designed to work the way you do business. The off-the-shelf makes you do it their way.

What are the new hardware requirements to run the new software?

What is the cost of training on the new package?

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