It is Sunday evening and your smartphone vibrates. You see a cryptic text from someone you don’t know in human resources requiring an urgent meeting with you. Your mind races with worry about something you may have inadvertently done. Since you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, you’re a little confused. You contact some co-workers to find out if they know what is happening. They share with you that they have also received the same message.
You’ve noticed that a couple of seats are empty on your floor. Several people nervously return to their desks visibly flustered. When your time comes for the meeting, you see dejected people averting your gaze with their heads down shuffling past you. The office is small and cramped with paper strewn about. A junior-level person wearing an ill-fitting suit that you’ve never seen before curtly informs you that your services are no longer required. There’s no niceties, small talk or empathy. He brusquely says that a security person is going through your laptop and packing up your belongings that will be sent to your home at a later date. Your head is spinning, as you’re wondering if you’ve done anything wrong. Why are you being treated this way after 10 years of loyal service? In your 20-year career, this has never happened before. The meeting is a blur and—before you know it—you’re outside the office building in the cold, bewildered and call your spouse sharing what just happened in a choked-up voice.
I’d love to say that I’m making this up. Unfortunately, this is becoming a common occurrence that I’ve now heard from many people. Just like how the entire interview process has become cold, clinical and inhumane, so has the manner in which people are being let go. I’ve heard this story too many times. People tell me that they’ve been required to train new hires, who then take their jobs. Some teach the new employees who then go to another country and do the job from there, as your job is eliminated. With much fanfare, people have been brought aboard to help with important, mission-critical projects. They were warmly congratulated for all their hard work. Once it’s done, they’re callously asked to leave. “Thanks for everything and good luck with your future endeavors!”