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Old 02-03-2009, 07:22 PM
Location: Keller, TX
5,674 posts, read 5,612,004 times
Reputation: 4093


My company just laid off thousands of people today. The cuts were broad -- everywhere from three month temps making $25K to twenty year veterans making deep into six figures.

Everyone had known Feb. 3rd was ax day since mid January. But at that time we had this odd notion that if we survived today we'd have to go out and celebrate. After seeing what I saw today -- lots of tears, devastated stalwarts, people being escorted out (it's a rule), people I've known for years hastily sending out final goodbye emails with their home email addresses -- I have to wonder what we were smoking.

I survived ax day, one reason being that my group is small and unique -- meant for six people but a colleague moved to a new position a few months ago and our job req was canceled, so that put us at five/six, then another colleague is at the beginning of three month maternity leave, putting us effectively at four/six.

I'm relieved, but I'm in anything but a celebratory mood. I asked my VP why we're not cutting benefits and trying to save some jobs (our benefits are extremely generous -- and costly). The thought is that cutting benefits makes everyone angry, while cutting people only upsets the ones who don't work there anymore. But today was just brutal. I now know virtually everyone is a potential layoff. And I wonder how we're going to do our jobs after some of these losses.

Obviously I'd rather still be here than be gone, but it was very hard and there's a lot of outright guilt involved in being one of the ones to stay (for now). Any insights, experiences, or thoughts from those who've recently or in the distant past seen large swaths of co-workers let go? Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:36 PM
Location: Great State of Texas
86,068 posts, read 77,184,729 times
Reputation: 27655
Sorry to hear that Nep. My job axed 5K people last week. I survived myself but know what you mean about relieved, guilty and sad all at the same time.

Morale of the survivors is at about -2, company loyalty is at -10 and falling even more.
And it's probably not over..I'm sure my company will cut again as the year goes on.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:38 PM
Location: Virginia
931 posts, read 3,572,796 times
Reputation: 447
Start updating your resume.

I got laid off from a bank about 3 months ago.

I recently got a new job, my resume is already updated!
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:51 PM
Location: Charlotte, NC
2,193 posts, read 4,703,039 times
Reputation: 1075
Yea today I just got an email about a coworker being let go. And I found out that a whole team was being let go after a project goes live in April. Just horrible.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:05 PM
1,670 posts, read 5,997,683 times
Reputation: 1189
I have seen large swaths of banking individuals be axed on several occassions during the 12 year with that firm. It hurts, everyone is shock and group morale will be at an all time low. However, you do get through it. Count your blessings and help those who need your help--give them breathing room. It's just plain terrible as you sit through it. I have seen a department of about 300 go to a dept of 75, only to rebuild a year down the line. This is not going to happen in these economic times. The empty offices, cubicles, lunchroom and conference rooms will remain empty.

In my current job that I held for 18 months in the same field, but on the legal end. In my first 4 months of being hired they laid off about 40. I did not have the same feelings--as I did not work there long enough. Two weeks ago, we had our 4th layoff and one of my attorneys was cut. This put a chill down my spine because we had a great working relationship.

Nothing is as horrible in my 13 years working in real estate, as the market, we are currently in. Many of my friends and some family members are clinching their teeth everyday just to survive a layoff. I feel for you and all those affected.

Last edited by Brooklyn_QueenBee; 02-03-2009 at 08:07 PM.. Reason: left something out
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:06 PM
1,989 posts, read 4,126,556 times
Reputation: 1395
I've been a survivor of several layoffs over the years. It never got any easier.

Go out for that drink soon. Bonding with the people who are left will be the only morsel of morale you have for a while. And now that you know you can't rely on the company, relying on each other will at least provide some comfort.

Be prepared for your work environment to get progressively worse. Fewer bodies to do too much work left behind will make for long hours and short tempers. Again-- those Friday happy hours will come in handy to blow off the steam.

If any former co-workers are actively angry at you, that will pass. It may take a while, but right now they're shell shocked and seeking "reasons"-- you may be an easier explanation than the truth. Once they work through it all, they'll be your friends again, even more so.

Do keep your resume current. Don't badmouth the company. In this economy, you won't be able to leave it easily and you don't want to poison the pool you're swimming in. Badmouthing only sours your attitude and your relationships. It doesn't make the time pass any more quickly. Just the opposite. Once you've decided the place you work for "sucks," human psychology demands you leave or grow increasingly discontent. So don't decide it "sucks." And if other people are badmouthing the company or other workers, tune out or leave the room if you can.

It sounds like your group is in a good spot, but if you want to be triple-safe, lead the way in productivity, initiative, or whatever it is your industry values. If there's someone who is more valuable to the company than you, try to change that. Find ways to be valuable. (But try not to be a sycophant.)

Disclaimer: Even though I have survived layoffs, I have never survived a layoff in an economy like this one. This is a very different animal. So I can offer you no platitudes about what will happen to your former co-workers.

Hang in there.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:12 AM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,564 posts, read 16,273,449 times
Reputation: 9345
Nepenthe, I was laid off back in the early 90s. Our corporate headquarters was shut down, and some of the jobs (engineering) moved to Illinois. I was support staff, so I wasn't asked to go. By the time I stopped working there, we only had 25 people left in a building that used to house 500 people! I was there when the cafeteria closed, when the cubicles came down, when most of my friends and coworkers were let go or found other jobs, etc. It was very difficult; I had worked there for eight years. It took me several months to find another job, and ever since, I've not let myself get too attached to people I work with. I wish you the best; just make sure you learn every new skill and/or program that you can. The more you know, the more indispensable you'll be.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:05 AM
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 19,063,038 times
Reputation: 16897
In the 80's I worked for a small bank with a very well connected staff. I was a programmer. People went out to lunch together, had birthday parties and generally liked and got on well together. Then the company was bought out by another one, and after awhile every last Friday of the month four or five of our small staff was let go.. "laid off". You knew that on that Friday some of us would be there the last day. People started to eat at their desks, go out for lunch together but didn't spend much time in the lunch room with the contractors they replace us with. Moral was zero. Nobody had much enthusiasm. The day after I got my new system installed and running in production I was gone. I was devistated, those people were my life and they were gone. I discovered I'd never let people at work become important again.

My only solice is that my system was still going strong ten years later without a single update and my boss who had been laid off after me was brought back as a contractor a little while later, along with others for much much more.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:50 PM
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,856 posts, read 46,537,459 times
Reputation: 58679
I was working for British Airways when they had the big lay off after 9/11. It took me quite awhile to get to the point where my life didn't seem a little empty not seeing the same people day after day who I had shared so much time with. We promised to never lose contact, but eventually we all did.

We all found new employment relatively quickly, but I really feel sorry for the people loosing their jobs now. It is tough looking down the road with so few job options at this time.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:10 PM
Location: Georgia, on the Florida line, right above Tallahassee
10,474 posts, read 14,587,860 times
Reputation: 6379
Wish you the best....

It's not a foreign occurence....

Stopping Survivor Guilt - BusinessWeek

Layoff Etiquette 101 - BusinessWeek

After Layoffs, There's Survivor's Guilt - TIME

Surviving a layoff can hurt too -- OrlandoSentinel.com (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/smartliving/health/la-he-survivor2-2009feb02,0,1770859.story - broken link)
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