Hey, why all the layoffs this week? Please don't say "It's the economy, stupid." That's really annoying. Of course it is the economy, but this week has been bad even by the standards of the last three months. Because it has special qualities! Qualities that, unfortunately, conspired to screw thousands of people out of employment. After the jump, we'll have a little review of the most recent bad news, and explain why everybody got executed just after they finished their last Thanksgiving leftovers.
What's happened since Thanksgiving?
- Viacom laid off 850.
- NBC Universal laid off 500
- Newsday laid off 100.
- People finished laying off 18.
- Simon & Schuster laid off 35.
- Niche Media folded a magazine.
- Tragedy on the homefront.
- Google announced it's cutting its fancy job perks.
- Sotheby's and Christie's announced pending layoffs.
- In the corporate world, there are major layoffs going down at AT&T (12,000 workers), Goldman Sachs, Carlyle Group, Credit Suisse, and tons of other financial firms.
- The big picture: 533,000 US job losses in November.
The economy only determines the need to have layoffs. Companies determine when and how to announce them. And no matter how cold-hearted a corporation is, long experience has proven that you will be made to regret laying off anyone too close to one of the more heartwarming holidays.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the #2 and #1 most heartwarming holidays, respectively (according to science). That means the week of each holiday is totally out for layoff announcements. It's also bad form to fire people as soon as they return to work from their nice holiday. However! The flipside is that many companies are desperate to clear out everyone they want to get rid of before the end of the year. In practical terms, that means that the layoff machine paused in the week of Thanksgiving; it gave people a few days to get settled back in after they went home and gave thanks; and now, this week, KABLAMOOIEZAMMO. Layoffs everywhere.
Also an acceptable time, from a PR perspective: next week. Expect there to be many more layoffs then. Once we move into the second half of December, though, it's dangerously close to Christmas. Companies risk being branded (more) heartless (than usual). So we'll see a relatively quiet last couple of weeks in December. But a mad rush before then—which we're in the midst of right now.
Ideally, everything would then be taken care of, so workers could come back for the new year secure in their jobs. In reality, who the fuck knows? Unless you work for Campbell's Soup, don't get too comfy. [Pic: Martin Gee]