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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Up in the Air

Finally, I got a chance to see this movie yesterday. And well, I had heard a lot about it for the right reasons. However, this is not a review. It’s just a collection of some thoughts that entered my head on watching it.

First, I’ve been in a situation where I’ve had to tell people that they were being let go of. As a trainer, I’ve had to tell some trainees that due to poor academic performance, they would have to seek ‘re-fitment’, or ‘re-deployment’. I tried to use the Clooney-esque method of being polite, firm and giving the person options on what to do in life, rather than stripping people of their dignity.

Not many people understand this, but layoffs/retrenchments don’t always make the axe fall on the poor performers. Sometimes, it is the ‘cream of the crop’ who may have to be ‘right-sized’. But, at such a tough time, it is easy for any employee to be bitter and devastated, and have issues with self-belief.

Moreover, someone who handles the situation has to ensure that he/she is empathetic, and not condescending or patronizing. That’s a tough one.

In fact, the first time I had to tell someone that he would have to leave, I couldn’t even walk into the room and had to ask a senior colleague to take charge. However, the colleague was sensible enough and encouraged me to handle what was surely my responsibility. Also, I owed this much to the people who had spent nearly 2 months with me in training, hanging on to most of what I had to say.

I never liked asking anyone to leave, though I had to. And now, as an MBA in HR, I might be faced with scenarios where I have to ask people to leave. Frankly, it’s a morbid thought. But, after watching the movie, I wouldn’t really look upon myself as a butcher, if I have to do the same job.

I guess the only thing I might hate is the living out of suitcases bit. :)

P.S. If you haven’t seen the movie, do so! It’s worth a watch.

9 comments:

Scriber's Web said...

I haven't seen the movie but I will have to see it after reading your post.

Before I was a people manager, I survived 27+ layoffs at a company. Sometimes because I was cheaper, sometimes because I had an important deliverable coming up, sometimes... who knows what... It never made any sense to me.

After becoming a manager, I had to face layoffs from a very different perspective. Sometimes I had to make decisions. Sometimes I had to give a prioritized list. And I would be told the day of the layoffs how many to let go. For weeks, I would show up to work thinking, today I may have to layoff people. Brutal!

Fortunately, I have not had to do this yet.

But here, we don't spend much time giving explanations. It is more like... "your services are no longer required and here are the next steps for you..."

My heart goes out to people who have to do the layoffs. But this is the Corporate world!

Maybe we should take this offline:)

I have absolutely LOVED your last 2 posts:)

Aarbee said...

On a lighter note: Yes, girls, go watch it. Clooney's looking too hot to be missed! :D

Aeish said...

i've watched the movie..it's a really good one!

Grayquill said...

I am glad it is painful for you when you have to let someone go.
If you didn't feel bad you shouldn't be the boss.
Good post!

lebblogs said...

It is an awesome film purely because of the timing at which it has hit the screens. America is seeing real decline in steady employment and this movie brings the harsh realities in a very subtle manner.Clooney as usual is brilliant. Will visit again.

嘉宏 said...

想要推動天下,先要發動自己。.............................................

VincenzoJ詩婷 said...

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody..............................................

智宜智宜 said...

偉大的致富萬能之鑰,正是幫你充分掌握自己心志所必須的自律自制........................................

熙辰 said...

好喜歡你的部落格唷,剛下班,要去睡了!!!掰~~..................................................