Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tuesday, 9:00am Answers

It took less than 15 minutes for 20 people to get confirmation on what many felt in their guts. On Monday 2 meetings were scheduled for Tuesday. One meeting was scheduled with our Director (8:30am) and the other with our Manager (8:45am). 16 employees marched together to the 3rd floor almost in unison. 4 employees (including myself) waited at our desks our desks. I don't remember what I actually did during the 15 minute wait after the others departure. Maybe I was in a Zombie like trance clicking keys on my keyboard with gibberish exploding on the screen.

8:44am: It was time to go. I moved deliberately to arrive at the 3rd floor by 8:45am. As I walked down the corridor towards the conference room I noticed a brother walking past the scheduled room towards me. He was in a suit so I assumed that he was possibly interviewing, since we have had a business casual attire for about 5 years now. I spoke but didn't think much of his presence. Once the 4 of us arrived to the conference room all sat quietly awaiting our manager to speak. The conference room we were in is big enough to hold 50 people. When my manager began to speak it almost seemed that her voice echoed even though she spoke just in a manner that was barely audible. The other employees looked pensive as was I.

Then she said it..."The new organization of our group will consist of those at this table." She then begain to say a whole bunch of other things that I really don't think any of us heard. Then she paused and asked if there were any questions? I don't think that any of us thought we heard right. I asked so you are saying that the rest of our group is being laid off? I know it was a dumb question but I just had to hear it again to be sure. I guess I was hoping that she was going to tell me that the rest of the group would be working in another area. That wasn't the case. Then she said oh yeah and Jennifer (who was in this room) will be taking position in Switzerland. There really wasn't much more to ask or say after that. There were soft congratulations spoken to Jennifer from the other 2 co-workers. I said nothing (I already knew about that even though I manager didn't allow Jennifer to say anything about it for the past year). Jennifer replied with a mumbled thank you, looking like she was about to burst into tears. Then we quietly went back to our desks.

The 8:30am Room: I don't know what was said...but what I heard was that they all knew their fate as soon as they walked into the room and saw a stack of manilla envelopes on the table. How callus I thought. The longevity in that room ranged from 6-19 years. Once they left the conference room they were then instructed to meet with an HR representative on the 7th floor to go over their packages privately.

I didn't know anyone from my group would be on the 7th floor as I went to speak with a co-worker in Community Affairs. As I walked down the corridor to her office on my right I saw a co-worker who had just been informed. On Sept 21st you will no longer be an employee here in the HR interviewing rooms meeting with an HR Rep who reviewed their package with them.

It was as if I was walking through death row. I felt horrible seeing their backs through the slim windows on the sides of each small rooms door. After each co-worker completed thier review they left the building for the rest of the day.

It was like a ghost town. I got back to my desk and saw I had a meeting request from my manager in 15minutes. The subject of the meeting was "Discussion". Just like the other employees who asked who was scheduled in which meeting. I asked 2 of the remaining co-workers if they had been scheduled as well. When they said heart sank a little. Had there been a mistake and I was supposed to be in the 8:3oam Room?

It turns out that I had to sign a document that stated that I agreed to stay in the department and accept the position. I felt guilty thinking about my co-workers and almost didn't know how to ask my next question. Thank goodness my manager saw my discomfort and was able to finish my question for me.

"Why were you saved?" she said.

"Well yeah."

"Because you have the skills that will be necessary for the future of this organization. We will act as liasons between the business areas of the company and the organization that we will outsource the other activities to. Translation: People in India will be doing the jobs by reading scripts to aggravate the rest of the company and getting paid 3 times less.

The rest of the day passed slowly and quietly. Wednesay also passed slowly and uncomfortably as we were told not to bring up the subject of the lay-offs unless our co-workers wanted to talk about it. What the hell do you think we could say except I'm sorry? It was a very uncomfortable day.
Oh yeah that brother in the suit was not walking through the halls waiting for an interview. He was hired security in case of an incident. After the announcements were made he appeared on our floor until he was sure that all those notified of their release date and packages had left for the day. All were gone by 10:30am.


kennyking78 said...

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How uncomfortable!!!!

BronzeBuckaroo said...

My heart was in my throat as I began to read this post. You conveyed yours anxiety to perfection. I can understand how you must have felt. I am so relieved that they didn't let you go.

I am a littled peeved at that outsourcing business. More and more companies are doing it under the table to avoid "Lou Dobbs."

I am so very, very, very happy for you. And, like you, my heart goes out to your co-workers.

blkbutterfly said...

how terrible... you know, i hear about these things all the time, but it still never ceases to amaze me that a person can work somewhere for nearly 20 years, come to work one day and realize they no longer have a job.

my feelings on the whole outsourcing business is a post in and of itself.

nevertheless, i'm so very glad to read you kept your job. i hope your coworkers are able to get back on their feet quickly.