The hatchet has been dropped. And as hatchet dropping usually goes, there were some awkward moments.
The invitation to the “mandatory all employee” meeting came only about 90 minutes before the meeting was to start. AP lied played stupid about not knowing what was happening. I’m really not sure which.
The new CEO/President stood on the stairs and tried to talk loudly enough for everyone to hear him while the Sr VP of HR didn’t even really try that hard to be heard. (IMHO). The big news? All positions at the corporate office in Minneapolis will be eliminated by July 2010. All functions will be transferred to Evil Corporate Empire Headquarters in Woundsocket, RI. And if that gives you enough information to know where I work, so be it. We were assured repeatedly that “this has nothing to do with the quality of work you’ve done.” In other (more cynical) words: “You have done everything. You could not have done more. And it still wouldn’t have been enough to save your jobs.”
Some heard, but some didn’t that we are “invited” to post for any jobs within the larger organization and that many of the functions will be moved to RI and we could keep our jobs if we applied for them, got them and were willing to relocate.
After the formal large group announcement we met by department groups. JB kept insisting that “communication would continue to be clear and transparent.” I almost puked on his shoes. In fact, if I hear one more time that they think they’ve been clearly communicating or being transparent, I might puke on their shoes! Just because. He also kept saying that we need to keep open lines of communication and to ask whatever questions you have to your manager. When he opened it up for questions there were a few others and then I piped up: “I can’t speak for all the managers in the room but when you keep asserting and recommending that people go to their managers for answers to their questions, that makes me anxious, because I don’t have any answers. I want to be perfectly clear that I know exactly the same amount of information as what everyone in the room knows except for you three guys in the front. So, if you want me to support my people, I need information.”
AP was in my face not 2 seconds after the departmental meeting asking if I’d be willing to move to Rhode Island (where the Evil Corporate Empire is based.) I refused to give her an answer today, brushing it aside and encouraging her to ask JH. At least AP is smart enough to know that without us she’d be up a creek without a paddle.
Next we were grouped by level in the organization for discussion on the particulars of the severance package. Again, personally, I think this is a more than fair package. As a manager I’ll get a minimum of 13 weeks severance – assuming I stay until they’ve sucked everything out of my brain they want, worked me nights and weekends until I drop and don’t complain. Or remain an employee in good standing until my last day. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
And I have to manage my team through this transition period, which means keeping them motivated and engaged… at least until they find a job or until our last day of service.
The severance sounds pretty generous. Sounds like it will include health benefits of a COBRA-type variety but we only have to pay our regular contribution through the severance period. That’s different since the last time I got laid off. Of course, the last two times neither has included a severance package. And there is outplacement help that kicks in the day after your last day (wouldn’t want you to distract you from giving the corporation your blood sweat and tears by job-hunting before your last day. whatever.)
Another shining example of thinking at the end of last week “Well, I made it through. It couldn’t possibly be any more challenging next week” and being proved just how wrong I can be.
You know I’m not sad to say good-bye to this place. In fact, if I could pick a time line this wouldn’t be a bad one. I don’t think we’d be the first wave, but maybe the next to last or even last wave – so May/June time frame. Then 13 weeks severance (a.k.a. summer vacation) and then start a nice church job next September.
Could it really work that perfectly? Yeah. I’m not holding my breath.
Just a reminder that I’m in the midst of the No New Groceries challenge. I expect to save about $1000 this month and have donated $100 to Lutheran World Hunger. I’ll donate another $1 for every $1 one of you donates to a hunger cause – local, national or international – up to another $100.
So far we’re up to $10. Anyone else?