So, about a dozen days ago, the word went out. Not on the public net, but by emails, IMs, phone conversations, and private message boards. Wizkids, where I worked at one time, was experiencing a reorganization. And by reorganization, we mean layoffs - no one ever calls a hiring phase a "re-organization". As is customary in such events, a number of talented and dedicated individuals were caught in the crossfire and given their walking papers.
And for over ten days after this - nothing public. Those affected showed their consumate professionalism while waiting for the company to make an official announcement. Finally, late on a Sunday night, the word finally was released in a fairly bloodless press release that says all the right corporate things and tries to shove the bodies under the bed as it reassures people that nothing's wrong.
No number has been given. If a number is ever officially given, it will be lower than the real number. This is because the company doesn't count contract employees who suddenly find themselves without contracts, or full-timers who are suddenly contract employees, or people who were leaving "anyway" or those who find their position eliminated but found a similar, lower-paying position suddenly available. There are a lot of shell games and shading of the numbers at a time like this, but at the end of the day there are lot few people in the building than there were at the beginning of the day.
The reasons for all this are purely business, and, contrary to whatever the fan boards are saying now, are not the result of any decision, or project, or cancelation of a project. With the mindless effortlessness of a cyclone, the decisions that led to these people being let go are far too arcane and remote to be obvious to everyday consumer. Its the chaos butterfly of business - a choice is made two years back that results in this. This is part of the disconnect between business and the people - the nature of the product that was being made, and the people making it, was a minor consideration, at best.
I have great sympathy from those who were let go - I have heard from some, and have made recommendations for a few, and will keep my ears open for available position. I also have equally great sympathy for those that remain - this company was doing wonderful things with a short staff, and now finds its staff even further shortened for its efforts. Those that remain will have to deal with "survivor shock" as they pass empty desks and try to pick up the slack of projects now abandoned. I've been in both positions before, and will likely be in both positions again, and I understand.
In other news, the DOW took a dive below 11,000 in the face of this development. No, probably not, but its a fitting testimony to those searching for new positions.
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