Friday, March 16, 2012

Nothing personal

This is a comment I posted on Facebook in response to a friend's announcement that his "snake in the grass" employer laid off a 47-year veteran of the company.

"Not a personal decision?" So the manager hopes she can remain friends with the victim? That their families can continue to get together for dinner parties? Well, not now that he can't afford dinner parties.

"Not a personal decision" is an empty, meaningless statement. Pure bullshit, about as sincere as, "it's not you. It's me." But, in this situation, at least that statement's true: He's not the one who failed to perform the duties of his job. It's not his failure that landed the company in its current financial situation. It's not his incompetence, it's hers. But it is he who suffers the consequences of her failure, while she gets to keep her job. With a tidy bonus for taking his job away, I might add.

"Not a personal decision" is simply what corporate scum say to avoid confronting the people they've become and how little money they sold their humanity for. It isn't as if the laid-off party feels better knowing that their new joblessness and financial struggles aren't because they are disliked personally. I am sure that, to the person who has just had his livelihood taken away, whether the manager in question liked him personally was irrelevant before the layoff and even more so after. The statement isn't designed to ease the suffering of the victim. If people who use this statement were to be honest about who is comforted by it, they would have to admit, "it's not you, it's me."

The salve that statement offers these people is so great that they either don't know or don't care that they sound like insufferable assholes when they say it.

And, as if all that isn't galling enough, oftentimes companies kick loyal, long-tenured employees to the curb not because they are actually losing money, but to enhance their profit margin. It's not that they couldn't afford to keep the employee, it's simply that they could make more money if they got rid of him. Companies that are losing money don't usually give bonuses to mid-level management.

p.s. I think you owe snakes an apology.

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