Cowardice and eliminations

Lemme tell ya the story of my life.

But first, let me preface by saying that tomorrow or Saturday I will post at length about this incident.

For now, please accept my abbreviated summation.

Someone I once worked with was laid off via telephone on Tuesday.
His absence has only been noted by his physical neighbors. He has faded into insignificance, ala Bartleby.

He was with our company at least 5 years. He has been easily dismissed in absentia. Told by HR that his belongings would be mailed. Our Human Resources fiends could not even summon the courage to lay someone off face to face. Isn’t this what you sign up for when you join HR? Isn’t this like a soldier collapsing on the battlefield and crying that he doesn’t have the heart to kill people?

I happen to share some of his interests, passions, whatever. I am in his contact list. Plus he knows I have the ears of a lot people in this company and I’m an avowed subversive based on my documented complaints. I don’t pull punches at work.

I got the “Deep Goat” insight. He was the Deep Goat.

I responded,

And he filled me in on the nuts and bolts of this minor corporate drama.

I did what any good stooge does.
I immediately told the loudest mouths in the company. I spread the word.

(BTW, all you meek people reading. I don’t care. I live and breathe the bullshit I speak of. I will lose my job before I shut up, but I will not shut up, and no one wants to lose me. People live for money and shit. I live to deconstruct the system :) )

His treatment was an injustice. But it was not my place. I told a few key players with big mouths. Word would surely spread.

I was aghast at the execution. I believe that by working in the modern work place, we have all integrated the tenuous nature of our stability. Nothing is a sure thing and things will get more unsteady going forward, I don’t care what the Employment President tells us.

We have descended into a chronic state of under- and unemployment. This low level layoff was the epitome of modern corporate cutthroat, cowardly actions.

I lingered all day on the fact they couldn’t look him in the eye and tell him “bye.” Everyone I told was more concerned with the fact he got laid off and the legality of the actions. I didn’t care about that stuff. Technicalities bore me. I cared about the style and lack of personal accountability. All day long I thought about the lack of soul, heart and conscience required to lay someone off by phone, especially someone who had worked for the stupid company for years. I thought purely of the design, the manufacture of a layoff. People I spoke with today only worried about the trivialities of the layoff. They responded to it on purely emotional terms whereas I could see the company’s point of view, however I faulted the execution. In fact, I harbored harsh words for the cowards. I faulted the execution of our pussy HR department.

This is the dichotomy that has always severed me from people. I examine the structure but never feel. Everyone else feels but doesn’t examine or step back.

This is the way it is.

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  • tom e cide

    His treatment was indeed an injustice…

    I lingered all day on the fact they couldn’t look him in the eye and tell him “bye.”

    but you saved the day with a Facebook relationship -I’m not sure a Facebook relationship won’t remind him of his unfortunate experience

  • That is incredibly cold, to fire someone by telephone.


    I also hate, when they do have the guts to let someone go face to face, companies having someone who has worked at a place for 10+ years, escorted out by security. I realize they’re worried about vandalism and revenge, etc., but it’s just so damn cold, to treat a long-time employee that way.

  • Amy

    Ugh, firing someone over the phone is like a doctor giving you the news of your terminal cancer over the phone. Or breaking up with someone over the phone. It is despicably weaselly.

    At least they didn’t just stop paying him and hope he got the hint, like the knobs at Initech did to Milton in _Office Space_. That probably is illegal, LOL. Oh wait–that actually did happen to someone I know. He probably could have sued but he was just too depressed about it.

    We were worried while I was in the hospital that the spouse would be fired for taking time to take care of the kiddo. People get fired for a lot less.

    • Amy

      Though I do not fault the Human Resources Department, although they are more than likely weaselly pussies.

      Whoever is the guy’s boss should be the one to break the news. Or one of his bosses, anyway. Not HR. That’s kind of like having your secretary fire someone.

  • Well, because our “home office” is in Kansas, our office stupidvisor was “laid off”, to be correct FIRED by telephone. In our manager’s office. It was a Monday afternoon about 3pm. The manager called him into the office. A few minutes later, he came out, got some boxes and started packing. No loss because he was an idiot anyhow. But in talking to the manager, she said that he was fired by a higher muckity-muck. Hell, they have too many titles. Anyhow, I think this is even cooler. But I can’t beleive he did not go on FMLA. Thank you William Jefferson Blythe Clinton. In my company, anything after 5 days and you have to file short-term disability and CAN’T be canned for using FMLA. Oh, in firing the superdweeb, they pulled the position was eliminated line.

    • Your Lowness

      Very pertinent: the abundance of titles. Titles insinuates specialization but no one fucking does anything special. Everyone rehashes the same bullshit everyone else has before. But they name it something new in order to give it monetary significance.