Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feeding on the flesh of the dead

The second round of Layoffs hit last Thursday. My morning began with a meeting with the boss. I knew my life was about to become interesting when the conversation started with this: "First, I want you to know that you still have a job." That was encouraging. But the tone was already obvious, and I knew this sentence would be followed with my favorite word: "But...."

"But your job has been eliminated."

After a few days thinking about it, I see what happened. Each department was given a number of heads to cut. Development looked at the big picture and realized one of our number was doing work for another department. That was me maintaining the Knowledge Base for customer support. So they started the process by deciding they could no longer afford to be so generous, and dropped my job, pulling me back into the department.

Then they looked at the people to cut. There were two rumors that went around, that seemed to reinforce each other. The first was that any person who developed a bad attitude or let performance slip in order to punish the company would be fired on the spot - no second chances. The second rumor is that the heads cut in this round were chosen based on looking at performance and attitude. In the next few days this was fleshed out, with the stories of individuals filtering through. This person passed up training opportunities. That person refused to take calls from other queues. The other person hung onto old ways of doing things instead of moving on to the new tools.

That last person was actually two people, and I am going to replace them. "Two for one sale. Buy one Disposable Wombat and get the work of two QA specialists." What bothers me is that one of the two QA people fired was a friend of mine. It made me a bit sick to know I am replacing him. I am taking the work of a fired friend, feeding on the flesh of the beloved dead.

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