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Happy Separation Day!

December 23, 2013

It’s not unusual for big tech companies to make broad shifts in direction, so we all get used to seeing some form of voluntary separation notice.  Some days, I do question the timing

HP has sent its staff a Christmas missive informing them that some of them could be sacked in early 2014.

The cheery letter said that some workers will have the choice of taking voluntary redundancy. However, if too few people choose this option, HP will be forced to start getting rid of people.

Workers affected by the scheme will be particularly galled to know that CEO Meg Whitman’s basic salary (sans share options) was recently bumped up to $1.5m.

Sent on 20 December, the message used the phrase “expression of wish” in place of the words voluntary redundancy, and “workforce management update” in place of good old-fashioned mandatory redundo.

Well, Merry Christmas to you!  These things are pretty typical.  Hey, people, we need less of you.  We’ll tell you if you fit the criteria, and if you do you can opt to leave.  If you don’t take it, though, we MIGHT just can you anyway.  If more people in tech knew what the Sword of Damocles was, they’d use the phrase.

Tech can be a bit odd.  We focus so much on numbers, and metrics, we forget that people are still people, and hold grudges well past numbers and metrics.  Sure, we have plenty of engineers (including me) who get that things can just be measured, but then we’ve hired all these perfectly normal people who have feelings and don’t consider the Zombie Apocalypse a desirable scenario, even if it’s just localized to the corporate environs.

So I wonder how the week off will be for a few of the people, who will spend it wondering if loyalty matters, and etc. and etc.

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