So I understand why they are doing this but as I have said many times to my dad, "It is bullshit." And, I will say it again, they are Jerks. Because not only are they shoving him out the door; they also made him sign a document stating that he would be a good little employee and mind his P's and Q's until the transition of his position is complete. My dad really had no choice but to sign because if he fought it, he would simply lose his job sooner and not receive the month-worth of pay they are promising him if he stays. They need him, but not enough to keep him.
Me and my dad. This is us after a choir concert at Pepperdine, hence my ugly dress.
On top of all this, they had to kick him when he's down. This week, my dad's immediate boss took him out for drinks to warn him that the evaluation he wrote about my dad's work had been rewritten by the higher-ups. The warning was that my dad wouldn't like what it said. I think this is the company's way of trying to avoid any legal issues. Let's write up a bad review on our employee so we have a legitimate reason to get rid of him. Except, it's not legit. It's bullshit. Sorry, I can't help myself.
See, this is the thing about the recession we are in. You can hear about it, read about it, feel bad about it, but maybe you don't really take it seriously until it happens to you. Affects you. Before I found out about my dad losing his job, one of my childhood friend's dad had lost his job. Now she and her family have sold the house they have lived in for 14 years and are moving to a rental house in a different city. This same friend told me last week that another one of our longtime friend's dad has also lost his job. WTF, right? All of a sudden, this economic crisis has hit painfully close to home.
Now, when I heard a couple months ago that my childhood friend's dad had been laid off, I felt for her. I understood because my dad (and my mom, for that matter) had been out of work before, and I know what it is like to have an out-of-work (aka, depressed) parent. I know what it is like to have to tighten the family budget. My dad was out of work for four years before getting the job that he is losing now. I was in college at that time and things were tough. But somehow, when I heard what happened to my friend's dad, it didn't dawn on me that the same thing could happen again to mine. Somehow, I thought that because he was doing a good job at a smaller company that appreciated his work, that he was safe. I was wrong.
What worries me now is, what is my dad going to do? How is a 58-year-old man that is closing in on retirement age going to find another engineering job in this economy? Or any job at all? He's not. I really don't know what he is going to do. That makes me sad and mad, but scared, too.
Obviously, this is a topic that many people can relate to. A Web-based video game called "Layoff" has even been created (Play it here). In it, players swap adjacent workers to align sets of 3 or more workers to make "efficiency adjustments" and save corporate money. Line up the workers and they disappear: off to the Employment Office they go! Bankers, however, don't lose their jobs in this game. And a bank bailout is available if you get stuck. Ah, a video game making social commentary. Love it.
The other interesting thing is that you are not just laying off faceless, nameless Joes (or Janes). You're getting rid of people with a story, like "Frankie, a quiet and pleasant accountant with diabetes" or "Wes, the school bus driver and single parent." My dad's story would be, "Paul, a hardworking, dependable guy who still has a mortgage and his daughter's college tuition loans to pay."
So what is your family/friend's story? Has the recession hit this close to home for you?
P.S. Sorry I have been MIA this week. Personal issues + work stress + no sleep + a cold = bad blogger. I'll try to be back in full form next week.
"Layoff" screen shot via Yahoo!