Thursday, August 30, 2012


Well, the ugliness of present day politics and financial management (mismanagement?) have finally come to roost in my office.  I have had to break the news to some of our most recent hires that even though they have done nothing wrong and quite frankly are doing a good job for us their services are no longer required.

Don't get me wrong, prior to this I have fired employees for cause and although it was difficult working with the union and meeting the requirements to terminate their employment it was a necessary evil to make the whole organization better.  I understood this and some how it seemed reasonable at the time.  Generally the employees even understood that we were following the rules and every courtesy had been extended to them.  We had quite frankly given them the rope to hang themselves.  We never left as friends but at least with an understanding that this was the culmination of decisions that were made by the employee.  I played the heavy but never really felt the pain.

I feel it now as I see my employee.  The somber shuffle into my office.  The twist of heads by their former fellow employees to avoid eye contact.   The deer in the headlights look as they sit in front of me waiting for a pronouncement.  The pain conveyed through their eyes, through their slouch, through their nervousness in the chair.  They speak volumes even prior to our conversation.  They have worked for and next to me, campaigned for staffing and financial reason, read the paper, heard and saw the news, and understood that it is the end of the line.  Last in first out.

I am truly sorry and convey that to them.  They don't acknowledge  because they are already trying to grasp the new uncertain reality that awaits them.  Some how I have failed.  It's no longer about the politicians or some far away decision maker it's only the two of us.  There is nothing else in the universe, just my spoken word and the silence that follows.  I have an acute feeling of inadequacy.  They have an acute feeling of loss. Neither one of us is willing to share with the other.  The meeting is over.  The dark cloud begins to expand from the office throughout the building and over the organization.

Planning, meetings,  adjustment of duties, new policies, and significant change at many organizational levels begins.  Almost with no time to mourn the loss.  There are today's and tomorrow's hurdles to jump.  And  then "Dad I had a great first day at school!" discussion ensues and in closing with the directness only a child possesses, " My friend said their parent lost their job.  I gave them two of my pencils."

I wonder what pencils I have to share?