Jan 25, 2008

the cold cold business world

A while back my friend Mark mentioned that they'd come to "escort" a coworker of his from the office after she had been fired due to cut backs.

I was shocked by this and asked him if this was common in the business world.
I've never worked in quite this sort of environment, so it kind of shocked me. He works in a law office.

I suppose I'm just naive. He wrote this in response today:

No, it's not uncommon "business" procedure. Usually,
though, they're supposed to let you go on a Tuesday or
Wednesday, thus you still have some weekdays to cope
with your being let go, and a chance to go apply for
Unemployment Insurance and stuff.

They will, sometimes, escort you off the property,
confiscate your pass key, de-activate your e-mail,
etc. The fear is that you will try to sabotage the
place, and thus people with access to computer systems
or other technical things are carefully watched. And
the irony too is that the longer you've been at a
company the more they suspect you of malicious intent.
Like my uncle, he worked in the IT department of a
large insurance company. He worked there for maybe
20-30 years, and when they let him go they made him
leave that same day. No chance to say good-bye to your
co-workers, no nothing. It's very cruel, the business

In that way it's much better to quit and give your two
weeks notice. Thus you get a chance to say your
good-byes (and maybe be taken out for lunch by
co-workers), you can wrap up your work, take home your
belongings, pass on whatever knowledge you have to
co-workers, etc.

But my coworkers... like _________ who was let go on
Monday...never even got to take their belongings home.
They shuffle you out the door and mail your personal
belongings to your home. You are treated like a

I had no idea. Is he right? Is this the way it is in the cut throat world of tooth and claw capitalism? Or is it just the way it is in the canyons of Toronto.

You know they are a pretty savage race, those Canadians.


mrpeenee said...

O yes, sweetie, when they axe you, they do not want you looking through your files for things that might be useful to you in your exciting new position as an unemployed schmoe. And they will also laugh at the N Sync poster you have on your bulletin board.

jason said...

Actually, I think they confiscate those N Sync posters and do sick depraved things to them.

That's what goes on in those office blocks, I'm sure.

Hayward said...

I think it depends on your position and the circumstance but it definitely does happen. The company I work for has been known to do this at the end of the work day after conveniently having the employee finish those last minute tasks. Usually it is quick so there is no scene in the office.

jason said...

that's just plain cold.

And welcome back, Heyward!
It's great to see you here again.

Elizabeth said...

My first real full-time job after college was at a computer book publisher. One day our boss rounded almost all the production department, led us over to a "neutral location" out of the building, and the CEO told us we were all laid off. Goodbye. It turned out that the company had been hemorrhaging cash. As if THAT was our fault. We weren't allowed to go back and clear out our work spaces. What a bunch of assholes.

Michael Guy said...

I've seen it go both ways here. I've seen people told they were dismissed while being escorted to the elevator. Personal belongings were shipped afterwards.

I laid off staffing. Once. And I think I should get a star for this one: "...As hard as it is for you to hear this it's just as hard for me to say it..."

But she was a diva betch and the rest of the team actually bought me lunch for the layoff. Just saying...

Val Gryphin said...

IBM does this - I know people who were laid off at the local plant, and they are escorted out - I think they get to get their stuff maybe, not sure. I believe the reasoning behind it is so they don't steal any of the development secrets and then sell them to competitors.