A long time ago when Erik was working at his first software development company, he was the manager over about 6 developers. When he first started, everything was going well but as time went on, he started to hear grumblings about this facility they’d invested in in Dallas, TX. It was huge but they were only occupying about a quarter of it. The company had over-invested in a facility because they’d anticipated a very large contract but that contract never came.
That was a really big lesson for Erik because even though it didn’t affect him directly, it affected his company and it taught him that you should not be obligating resources with your own money if you don’t have an obligation from a client that’s not going to support you.
This issue lingered at the company for months so Erik went to his supervisor and asked that he give him a heads up if there were ever layoffs. Well, a couple of weeks went by and he tells Erik “Today’s the day. We’re laying off most of your staff except two, you and one other person. Starting in about an hour.”
Erik was told to go back to his desk, act normal, and then he’d accompany each of the employees back to HR, they’d get laid off, escorted out, and then the next person would come in for a meeting. It continued like this one by one until his whole staff was gone.
Looking back on it, Erik regrets not taking all of the staff members into his office and having a very honest and frank conversation with them that the company isn’t doing well and today is the day that it’s happening. He knows he should have at least given them a heads up even though he had no control over the circumstance but it was an overwhelming situation and just an awful day.
We’d be interested to know if you’ve ever had any layoff situations. Tweet Erik @iamerikjolson with your stories; he’d love to hear them.