A Series of Unfortunate Events – Surplus to requirements


Well, that was both swift and unexpected.

There I was, happily working away prepping for a call with a fellow PM working on the project (but in our Toronto office) when the office manager asks if he can have ‘a quick word’ and gestures I follow him.

I look at the time, and the work in front of me that I need to get in shape and wonder if this is really necessary, at least right now. “I’ve got a call in 25 I need to prep for,” says I. “No problem, this should only take a couple of minutes.”

OK, just a couple of minutes, I can absorb that.

So follow him I do the 15 feet into the conference room he was in a meeting since lunchtime to find myself face to face with HR.

OK, HR. This is bad.

They ask me to sit down, and I skim the top of their papers “blah bah dismissal procedure blah blah”.

OK, this is *really* bad. Blamestorming has occurred,  some poor Joe is about to get it.

HR are very quiet; the office manager is doing his “I’m not comfortable” nervous tic dance. Everyone is looking sheepish, and looking down.

Ah. Got it. I’m the Joe.

Cue cold feeling, head in hands, and state of shock for about 30 seconds before the fore-brain kicks in and that quiet little voice says “the decision has been made; there is nothing you can say or do to stop this so stay calm, listen carefully, and hear them out“. And so I did.

Anyway, without going into too many commercial details the summary is that the need to slim down the office as part of a wider drive to reduce costs. There are going to be several rounds of bloodletting this afternoon and I’m the first. You can clear your desk but you are out today, and the laptop is to be left behind but you can keep your phone for a couple weeks until the process wraps up and you are officially terminated.

So, back to my desk to remove a few personal files, pack up my meagre possessions into a box and like so many other workers in the US have been given a great opportunity to update my resume and put my career on a new and exciting track.

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