A hypothetical look at what an honest CEO might write to a laid-off worker in today's economy.
I am sorry we had to lay you off last week. I really am.
It is a failure on my part. I should have seen all this coming. I knew our products were outdated. But, heck, they were still selling. And well, too. I thought we had years left, not months.
So don’t take the layoff as a sign that you did something wrong. It wasn’t you, this time. Other times, maybe, but not this time. It was me.
Like everyone who should have gone “all cash” in their 401(k)s back in October, I should have retrenched, re-productized, reinvested months and months ago.
You were an innocent bystander--you did all we asked of you, and, frankly, more than most. That’s what makes it especially hard. I know that those of us who are left, who are expected to save what’s left here, have no illusions that we are somehow better or more deserving of a job than you. Far from it. Call it luck, let’s say.
You are still in shock I am sure. That is normal. After a while, that will change to something a lot like anger. You will be mad at the industry, at the company, at your manager, at me. Fine. After two or 10 days of that, you will begin to feel better and start to move ahead. Trust me--been there, done that--you know.
If it helps in some small way, know that you lost your job not because of the work you did here, far from it. There just wasn’t enough money coming in to support and pay everyone, from our suppliers and vendors to the landlord and employees.
And notwithstanding what you read in the newspaper, there is not, nor ever will be, any golden parachutes for anyone here in “management.”
G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, and his blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com or at JobDig.com.