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HOT TOPIC O Sh*t! How I accidentally became unemployed, and what I'm doing about it.

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404profound

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Desert of Desertion
Hey Forum folk!

I've been diligently building my product while working my full-time job... until yesterday.

Yesterday I was asked to do something no moral man would allow himself to do: layoff colleagues. As a consultant, sometimes the depths of hell surface to rear their ugly face. Well, yesterday was that day for me. As an operations expert, I was tasked with identifying the teammates who contribute the least value to my team, and once identified inform them that they're laid off. I told the requester that that work exceeded my ethical boundaries, and that I was unwilling to do it. And so, not surprisingly I was the first one to go!

While I am terrified, it feels good to have stood up for my morals. Alas, I am presented with a quite pressing challenge: sustaining income. While my project remains intact, I am now building a service firm doing the stuff I was just doing. I can only pray that I get a client in the next two months, or else my situation will get tight. A scary time indeed, but I will be resilient. Sharing my plight out of fear. Hopefully the boat will sail on in a few weeks!

- Cheers
 

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Stargazer

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Ok no input then.

You'll take a pat on the back and a 'good for you' though? :thumbsup:

Dan
 

msufan

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This is an interesting case. Obviously there is a time for firing people who aren't performing. Your feeling was that this was not your role since these were your colleagues and you were not officially in an oversight position?
 
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404profound

404profound

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Desert of Desertion
This is an interesting case. Obviously there is a time for firing people who aren't performing. Your feeling was that this was not your role since these were your colleagues and you were not officially in an oversight position?
It was not a case where anyone's performance was detrimental. The team budget got squeezed, and management enforced a performance distribution layoff. That's essentially forcing folks into a percentile regardless of whether or not they are doing their jobs well.
 

Tom.V

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My only advice, pick up the phone and dial.

Again. And again. And again.

Then take a break and figure out how to do it better.

Then do it again.
 
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404profound

404profound

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Desert of Desertion
My only advice, pick up the phone and dial.

Again. And again. And again.

Then take a break and figure out how to do it better.

Then do it again.
I like your advice, but dial who? Share as much info as you'd like, but I'm new to service sales so I'm looking for any guidepost really.
 

msufan

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It was not a case where anyone's performance was detrimental. The team budget got squeezed, and management enforced a performance distribution layoff. That's essentially forcing folks into a percentile regardless of whether or not they are doing their jobs well.
Gotcha. In that case, I respect your decision and wish you well on your new adventure!
 

Ravens_Shadow

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If I have people on my team, and they need to go, even if its just from an operations standpoint and not performance based, they'll be gone. I've had to let a few people go. I've been laid off from a job in the past as well. It happens. You're an "operations expert" yet you cant lay down the hammer of that which is a layoff. You didn't save those people from losing their jobs, they're still going to.

What happens when you get a client who wants you to come in and cull their team? Are you gonna say "WOAH, that's way out of my comfort zone."? No, you're going to get the job done because that's what has to be done.
 

Tom.V

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I like your advice, but dial who? Share as much info as you'd like, but I'm new to service sales so I'm looking for any guidepost really.
Who is your ideal client? Figure out who they are, where they are, and what they eat for breakfast. Then dial.
 
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404profound

404profound

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Desert of Desertion
If I have people on my team, and they need to go, even if its just from an operations standpoint and not performance based, they'll be gone. I've had to let a few people go. I've been laid off from a job in the past as well. It happens. You're an "operations expert" yet you cant lay down the hammer of that which is a layoff. You didn't save those people from losing their jobs, they're still going to.

What happens when you get a client who wants you to come in and cull their team? Are you gonna say "WOAH, that's way out of my comfort zone."? No, you're going to get the job done because that's what has to be done.
Yes, you raised a few good points there. Perhaps I'm too soft for that line of work. Just didn't feel right - like I was betraying the people I work with on a daily basis.
 

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CareCPA

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Yes, you raised a few good points there. Perhaps I'm too soft for that line of work. Just didn't feel right - like I was betraying the people I work with on a daily basis.
If the company is squeezed, and you don't get rid of the least-performing, everyone will go down.
Would you rather put 10 people out of a job that don't deserve to be unemployed, or 100 people?
 
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404profound

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If the company is squeezed, and you don't get rid of the least-performing, everyone will go down.
Would you rather put 10 people out of a job that don't deserve to be unemployed, or 100 people?
I don't necessarily disagree with that logic. I do disagree with asking someone internal to the team to execute the command. If you were on my team and I laid you off, how would you respond? How would the rest of the team view me once that happened? I could not be trusted, and I would have a faction of disgruntled colleagues forming against me. Had I done that work, I would have dug my own grave regardless.
 

The-J

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How is that morality?

Maybe you disagree with the assessment of those people as being low performing. OK, that's fair. Maybe you believe that the team is better off with those low performers because the team is greater than the sum of its parts, and losing anyone would be a huge disservice to the team.

Fair enough.

But refusing to lay off people who are indeed low performing and don't contribute their fair share to the team? How does that have anything to do with morals? It sounds to me that it was just something that you didn't want to do for whatever reason, not due to some value.

I don't mean to call you a coward. It just seems like you lack the willingness to deliver the killing blow... which is really not a good thing.
 

CareCPA

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I don't necessarily disagree with that logic. I do disagree with asking someone internal to the team to execute the command. If you were on my team and I laid you off, how would you respond? How would the rest of the team view me once that happened? I could not be trusted, and I would have a faction of disgruntled colleagues forming against me. Had I done that work, I would have dug my own grave regardless.
Were you truly a colleague? Or were you the team lead? Or supervisor?
You said you were an Operations Specialist, were all the others?
Somewhere there is a disconnect between what you saw your position as, and what management saw your position as.
 
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404profound

404profound

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How is that morality?

Maybe you disagree with the assessment of those people as being low performing. OK, that's fair. Maybe you believe that the team is better off with those low performers because the team is greater than the sum of its parts, and losing anyone would be a huge disservice to the team.

Fair enough.

But refusing to lay off people who are indeed low performing and don't contribute their fair share to the team? How does that have anything to do with morals? It sounds to me that it was just something that you didn't want to do for whatever reason, not due to some value.

I don't mean to call you a coward. It just seems like you lack the willingness to deliver the killing blow... which is really not a good thing.
Well it comes back to.. they weren't really poor performing. I agree that poor performers have no right to job security; they don't provide value commensurate with their cost. However, the folks in the crosshairs were all pretty strong performers. The only case against them is that they were relative low-performers to the rest of the team. They still did great work for the client, and were highly competent. I refuse to take out people genuinely devoting themselves to the team and doing what it takes to make the client happy. It seems some of you disagree with me, but that's my philosophy.
 
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404profound

404profound

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Were you truly a colleague? Or were you the team lead? Or supervisor?
You said you were an Operations Specialist, were all the others?
Somewhere there is a disconnect between what you saw your position as, and what management saw your position as.
I am a six sigma black belt and operations specialist that was working with a large team on a client project. No supervisory role.
 

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focus on getting a job?

work on your product on the side as before, maybe you can find something better
 

GoGetter24

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Yesterday I was asked to do something no moral man would allow himself to do: layoff colleagues. As a consultant, sometimes the depths of hell surface to rear their ugly face. Well, yesterday was that day for me. As an operations expert, I was tasked with identifying the teammates who contribute the least value to my team, and once identified inform them that they're laid off. I told the requester that that work exceeded my ethical boundaries, and that I was unwilling to do it.
So you're an operations expert, who's unwilling to identify and correct operational inefficiency by firing people? And you've been making money as a consultant? No wonder you were fired.

If you think firing people is unethical, I'm not sure why you think this is an appropriate community for you. The position here is actually usually that you'd be doing those people a favor by firing them. If you'd gotten off your high horse, you'd have been in control of the firing, and could've done so in the most helpful way possible -- such as giving them understanding advice on what to do next. It's not like they didn't get fired because you didn't fire them. They're now going to get fired by someone who gives less of a shit about them. The whole idea that firing is unethical is nuts. Keeping someone employed where they don't generate value to the company is waste in both directions. Otherwise lets pay people to dig ditches while we pay others to refill it.

There was no accident in this, you fired yourself.
 
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404profound

404profound

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So you're an operations expert, who's unwilling to identify and correct operational inefficiency by firing people? And you've been making money as a consultant? No wonder you were fired.

If you think firing people is unethical, I'm not sure why you think this is an appropriate community for you. The position here is actually usually that you'd be doing those people a favor by firing them. If you'd gotten off your high horse, you'd have been in control of the firing, and could've done so in the most helpful way possible -- such as giving them understanding advice on what to do next. It's not like they didn't get fired because you didn't fire them. They're now going to get fired by someone who gives less of a sh*t about them. The whole idea that firing is unethical is nuts. Keeping someone employed where they don't generate value to the company is waste in both directions. Otherwise lets pay people to dig ditches while we pay others to refill it.

There was no accident in this, you fired yourself.
First of all, unless you understand the intricacies of FMEA, monte carlo simulation, and/or mixed-model regression analysis, I suggest you reserve your critique of my technical qualifications. I have saved, and will continue to save my clients millions of dollars due to suboptimal processing conditions.

Second of all, had you read any of the conversation instead of responding with the first neanderthal thought the plopped into your reptilian brain you would have had enough context to understand why, in fact, the folks being considered for termination were not waste. It was a forced performance distribution layoff, which means that even high performers get on the chopping block. It is a reflection of senior management's shitty accounting practices and inability to sustain hires. So before you attack me as having fired myself, why don't you get down off your pedestal and dig for more information. But I guess you're the kind of guy that likes to swing the axe on a guy when he's down.
 

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The-J

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Well it comes back to.. they weren't really poor performing. I agree that poor performers have no right to job security; they don't provide value commensurate with their cost. However, the folks in the crosshairs were all pretty strong performers. The only case against them is that they were relative low-performers to the rest of the team. They still did great work for the client, and were highly competent. I refuse to take out people genuinely devoting themselves to the team and doing what it takes to make the client happy. It seems some of you disagree with me, but that's my philosophy.
Then it sounds like you didn't sell your view strong enough, which caused you to lose your job. What have you learned from this?
 

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I'm curious to how you fastlaners would respond to a client who wants you to perform something outside your normal consulting duties or if they wanted you to do something unpleasant.

Charge more money?

Tell them that it means renegotiating your contract?

Something else?
 

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I'm curious to how you fastlaners would respond to a client who wants you to perform something outside your normal consulting duties or if they wanted you to do something unpleasant.

Charge more money?

Tell them that it means renegotiating your contract?

Something else?
Charge more money.
This is why accountants have engagement letters. We clearly define what we will and will not do for the price we give you, and then we tell you that we'll bill you extra if you ask us to do something outside that scope.
I'm more lax than most, but even I draw the line occasionally.
 

Tom.V

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I wonder if charging a price they will not pay for the 'extras 'could be a way of avoiding these situations.

This is also why I would dislike having 1 client.
It can. Personally, if I don't want to do something, I'll price it high enough to make it worth my while if I do end up doing the work.

And 1 client is as risky as risky gets. I don't know how service business that only serve a single, large client sleep at night. It's a total lack of control and with one decision your business is caput. No more employees, no more office, no more revenue, nothing.
 

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I'm curious to how you fastlaners would respond to a client who wants you to perform something outside your normal consulting duties or if they wanted you to do something unpleasant.
Tell them no, if I don't want to do it.

If I want to do it, then I renegotiate. Very simple.

Never be afraid to say no or to reject a cheque.
 

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And so, not surprisingly I was the first one to go!
... I can only pray that I get a client in the next two months, or else my situation will get tight.
I sympathize. It sounds like you have no regrets about not swinging the axe that was handed to you. Time to put that behind you. I recommend that as soon as you are calm, you think of a one line way to explain your departure. "I'm an operations consultant who improves business systems, using six sigma methodology. The client abruptly assigned me to do layoffs of my own peers, even though I hadn't been involved in management or supervision or employee performance metrics. When I told them this was outside the scope of my work, they instantly fired me." I think that's enough for any new boss to know.

I recommend you leave out the whole question of morality. Present it only as your being put into making the hardest of management decisions - who to sack when profits are down - without having had any input into employee evaluations, any participation in the management team, any training in how the company sees the value of employees. I would assume that you would agree that if someone does take on a leadership position, they would be expected to be able to know the financial contribution levels of employees, and they would be able to make that hard choice because they were prepared for it.
 
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Late Bloomer

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I wonder if charging a price they will not pay for the 'extras 'could be a way of avoiding these situations.

This is also why I would dislike having 1 client.
Having more than one client is awesome. My own goal is to have several clients. If any one gets rid of me, and it wouldn't be worth fighting for the position back, I could afford to be without just some of my income while I replace them. Same thing if any one client becomes intolerable, the working relationship unsalvageable. I want the peace of mind of being able to say, "I'm sorry this isn't working out. Here's you refund and I wish you luck, goodbye."
 

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