Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Story 7: Some May Call Me the Axe Lady

By: The Axe Lady, Menlo Park, CA

Though I have not recently been laid off (was once, 11 years ago), I was hoping “Being Pink” might want a story from “the other side” – I am HR.

I know HR people get a bad rep the majority of time. We have to deal with “issues” and “conflicts” and work out benefits, 401k, harassment, and assorted other problems. HR also has to carry out the dreaded process of laying-off good employees. Over the past 10 years, and 3 companies in my career, I have administered 5 layoffs. They are never easy; actually the entire process has made me emotionally and physically ill on more than one occasion. But, that is all I am going to say about how I feel. This site is about you, and for you, I just want to give you a quick glimpse into the other side.

The layoff process starts “at the top” – business decisions are made, departments, jobs, and numbers are reduced. These are all done in the hopes of saving a company, keeping them up and running for as long as possible. In the state of the current economy many employees have become astutely aware of the tell tale signs of an impending layoff; closed doors, private meetings, and late nights for those that usually hit the door at 5:01. There is a lot of negotiating between managers and those reigning in the budget. They fight hard for their teams, and they have to make hard decisions. This part is never easy.

When “D-day” arrives, as many call it, managers have been coached, provided packets of information and given a schedule of when they will terminate their employees. I have witnessed managers’ breakdown emotionally before it is even time to meet with their employee, so it is even harder to predict how an employee will react when they receive their pink slip. The emotions will range from anger, sadness, disbelief, and so much more. Many are stunned, and blind-sided that they are being let go that they do not know how to react. Responses may come later, and now, there are a variety of outlets in which to purge these emotions. You are not alone in any of the feelings you have, it may just seem that way for awhile.

When you meet with your HR Representative to go over the details of your termination packet it is an overwhelming amount of information. The hire process in reverse involves just as much paperwork. I sincerely hope that each of you was treated with the utmost respect during this process. You should have been given an appropriate amount of time to collect your things, and left the building without feeling shame or disrespect.

The stories you have shared with “Being Pink” and her followers have hopefully allowed you to process your situation and helped you to move on to bigger and better things!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I have a question. Seeing as you work with HR, I'm curious to know whether you have ever let employees go for reasons involving the way they were dressed at work. I'm a little concerned about that and have been meaning to head over to SYMS to buy a new suit to avoid such a scenario...