Good morning! In the midst of recovering from the Dow's freakoutpanicmeltdown ("This recession is already deeper than the 2001 downturn," intones today's Times), we have another round of layoff... horror stories. There's a "classic banking fuckup" that almost ended in a "trading floor riot," a post-9/11 husband-and-wife double-whammy, and a person who has been downsized three times in eleven months. In other words, "Last year's [company] holiday card required the removal of 13; this year it's 15."(As always, if you have a layoff story, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org) Laid off 3 times in a year:
Yes, I have been laid off three times in a year. Actually, it was slightly less than 11 months.
Last October I was closing in on my 15th month at a publisher of magazines aimed at New York City tourists — I affectionately refer to it as The Worst Company Ever. The publisher is 200 years old, wears a giant wig and diapers, sings show tunes for clients who give in to her just to make her stop and is, essentially, an advertising sales person who very luckily found herself in the position but doesn't have the taste level to handle it. (The place has a turnover rate that rivals a Walmart store—last year's holiday card required the removal of 13 names, this year it's 15.). Months went by, and my turn only came up when I jokingly threw away a size large, "Made in Haiti" polo shirt with the company logo embroidered on the chest in my trash can.
In May, it happened again. This time, I wanted the job—I liked the job. I would be designing licensed accessories and stationery—adeparture from my publishing background, but a growth industry. Recession proof. The next week, I got my first samples back from Hong Kong on Wednesday, I got my health insurance on Thursday, and I — along with three others—was laid off on Friday. The best part about it is that one vice president took us all aside to tell us, while the other vice president took the spared to the showroom for a pep talk. I was in the bathroom, and didn't find out for hours that I was not one of the spared.
Now, in September, I was enjoying my eighth week freelancing at a company I really liked...Then, at 10:00 a.m. on a Friday I was unceremoniously told that that day would be my last and that all freelancers were being cut indefinitely. But, "thanks." I was drinking by 5:30.
And, now ... I'm a receptionist.
A "Classic Banking Fuckup," IM'd For All to See:
A friend at a big bank was recently informed of the elimination of his entire division via Reuters. A disgruntled internal source leaked it before the bank came up with a termination schedule, sold the division, or closed out its positions.The wire agency writeup about the elimination was picked up by an employee, and immediately IMed out, line by line, to the entire team.
Management panicked and shepherded everyone into a closed door meeting in order to prevent a trading floor riot. They've all been required to report to work for the past month while HQ develops a strategy that will minimize lawsuits for mental suffering. Still no status on who has a job. Another classic banking fuckup.
Let's Wait 'Til After Their Anniversary:
This was back in 2001. I worked at a small creative ad agency in the West Village. My wife also worked there. Together we made just enough to live in Manhattan and have a life. So, September 11 comes along and things get messy... By the end of September, there were already rumors of layoffs.Finally, layoff day came. It was supposed to be on Wednesday, but they moved it to Thursday. I got the axe. I went to my wife's office and she consoled me. Then it was her turn. She got canned. Why? Because the Creative Director thought she would feel uncomfortable working in the office that her husband was laid off from.
Oh, and the reason they moved the layoffs to Thursday? A friend of ours tipped them off that Wednesday was our wedding anniversary. Probably the worst part was that in the shadow of what was going on in the city at the time, none of this mattered. So we could not feel sorry for ourselves. And we didn't. We stayed and volunteered until we ran out of money and prospects and left the city just before Christmas.
At my pre-ordained weekly meeting with my supervisor I was told I was being let go because the company was "going in a different direction". That direction, however, was not eliminating my position, but rather giving it to the intern who just graduated two weeks prior. I assume that move is saving them some salary payout and increasing their eye-candy quotient.
Anyway—have a good workday, everyone!