Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Last week, another guy was laid off--another 50-something architect guy. It was Winston, with whom I worked with on a job interview as well as working on Pomme de Terre for a while. He had been working with Liz recently on some small collegiate projects (Liz, also of Pomme de Terre fame), so I asked her if he was laid off or leaving of his own accord. 'Twas the former, she said: "It seems like if you're not fully busy these days," she said, "you're gone. They're not waiting for the work to come back for you to do it, you're just...gone." She also noticed that every time someone is laid off, they're called into a conference room by a partner for whom they don't work. I'm asking my WAD readers: is that standard procedure? Wouldn't you rather be laid off by the people you actually work for? I would. I want them to look me in the eye. If there's a good reason to let me go, then look me in the eye and level with me. Not being the one to hand me my severance check and say "it's been great, nothing personal" when you're the one for whom I've worked for nearly ten years...that just seems chicken to me.
What I'm noticing myself is that the older employees seem to take getting laid off much better than younger staff. Younger staff are more bitter and leave without a word (or with a few choice angry words), while the older staff are the ones who send out the email to the office (or select folks in the office) that says "hey, it's been great to work with you all, take care and keep in touch." I suppose it's not surprising; older workers have likely been laid off before, so they're less likely to take personal offense to being let go, especially during a recession. If I become one of those people called into a conference room, I hope I can comport myself with grace. Design Associates is the only job I've had since grad school, so I really only have one source for references. Even if I'm furious, there's no place for being vindictive, especially since they've kept me for this long. If I get laid off at this point, it's pretty much not personal.