It’s sort of beside the point - kind of like asking how you’d rather be executed - but someone raised the issue again of how the Mercury News laid off employees today. In the last round of layoffs, and again today, management ordered everyone to stay home between 8 a.m and 10 a.m. to await a phone call. If they called you before 10 a.m., you were history. No phone call and you were safe. It’s an excruciating two hours and somewhat impersonal. But I’m struggling to see a better alternative. Is walking up to someone’s desk and marching them into HR or the editor’s office - in full view of the newsroom - somehow more humane or respectful? I’d be mortified if I had to go out that way, in front of my friends and colleagues. And when do you do something like that? At a pre-set time? Randomly? How, dear readers, should these situations be handled? How is it done elsewhere? I’m curious.
07 Mar 2008 Michael