Friday, August 24, 2007

Smaller and leaner

The layoffs came as expected. Everyone was on pins and needles the afternoon beforehand. We all expected to receive an e-mail in the late afternoon announcing meetings in the morning. At least, that's what happened in the last round.

For whatever reason, they changed the format this time. Perhaps it was because fewer people were being laid off. Instead, this time, it was a matter of whether the calendar appointments that magically appeared on your calendar (time stamped 7pm the previous night) were individual meetings with your manager and/or HR.

My inbox showed a group meeting for 10am. There was one person missing from the e-mail. Soon after, I saw her walk by to join the VP for a meeting. It could only mean she was getting a package. Our admin noted that when she left the office, he had a large, white envelope in his hand. She's a smart gal, so it's unfortunate that we're losing her. It wasn't really a surprise, however, given that she has recently moved and was trying to work remotely. In my limited experience, the level of communication with her had gone down considerably because of her physical absence.

The biggest heartbreak for me was learning that my former boss, the person who brought me into the company, was let go. Savant was key to the company's early success with the product. It's rare to meet someone who is so sharp and strategic. I think Savant has known the writing was on the wall for months. It was growing more obvious that he was not coming in as early as before, nor did he take his computer home at night.

I learned a lot from Savant. It was great to have such a positive and supportive manager. Many of us were very loyal to Savant, so it's hard to imagine what the office will be like going forward.

People are mostly taking the layoffs well. There is a minority of people who are making things difficult. They've been asked to continue working through the end of the year to help transition their roles. Naturally, you can guess that some people are resentful and not wanting to help out as much with day-to-day duties they would normally have done. It's causing some feathers to get ruffled.

That said, I also worry about the comments people have made in groups about those people. One person in particular, Lido, who I must work with on a regular basis, is lacking in sensitivity. While I understand his frustration (and there is a history of clashes between the two), Lido lacks professionalism in his behavior.

Recently, we had a meeting to update some managers about the upcoming changes in the organization. Lido is working with his team to get some projects approved and has run into roadblocks. The managers asked when he estimated the projects would be approved. His comment to the twenty-some people in the room was, "Today hopefully, assuming that [said person] had taken her medication today."

Most people laughed at the comment because there is a strong sense of comradery in that group. Personally, I think that was a very harsh comment that's uncalled for and quite improper. It makes me wonder what he says about me behind my back. I don't know that I really want to be around Lido much, but I have to work with him (thank goodness he's not my manager). My other people (at least the women I've talked to) all find him uncomfortable to work with because he's difficult to read and has an unpredictable mood.

Obviously, these next few months are going to be filled with a variety of challenges. While I'm thankful to still have a job, part of me would have been just as content to say "adios." This will never be the place that it once was.

For now, I tell myself this is a good opportunity to build some other managing skills. I for one am someone who learns best by doing. As much as I hate conflict, I know it will help me do things better in the future. Six months from now, I'll re-evaluate and think about whether it's time to change jobs.


javagirl1111 said...

Gosh, I love your blog!

I was reading through some of your dating posts that I happened on randomly and I was CRACKING up!

I can relate to the dating

Bittersweet Confusion said...

When a company goes through layoffs... it's always different. My company went through round 1 of layoffs which have proven to be the least shocking since they gave people packages who were on the brink of retirement anyway...

The next one will be harsher I'm sure... We're all dreading it. This company has been known to call a meeting first thing in the morning and tell them that they will be escorted from the premises by Security and their personal effects will be packed up and mailed to their homes. They were only allowed back for their purses. It was brutal!