Bad Rap

Last week the New York Times ran a big story story on under the radar lay-offs at big companies, with IBM as the poster child. By selectively doing small ‘restructurings’ [slicing], they avoid the big headlines of “XYZ Corp slashes 1000 jobs”. In the Silicon Valley, I see considerable activity of this nature going on. As a communications professional, I’ve been involved in one such action. Whatever the semantics, people are losing their jobs. A dear friend of mine who has given 28 years of his life to Big Blue, who is within two years of pension benefits for which millions stood loyal to the company, stands on the block this week. Will he dodge it? I guess we’ll find out by Friday. He has known for over two months that some job cuts would occur in his area — they had already been occuring in other departments but the planning and organizing hadn’t gotten to his group yet. So, wait for word and continue working, at feverish pitch, as if nothing is pending. Ignore it. Is this humane? Is corporate communications meeting its responsibility here? This undermining of loyalty, trust and decency eats at the core of today’s work environment. Layoffs are a fact of life in this current moment, but for goodness sake, do it, be done with it, and move on. There needs to be a dialog going about what, why, when and what’s next…

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