Rituals Of The Betrayed

I have seen a lot of layoffs these past few years.

I have survived a number of them.

I have fallen to a few of them.

I have talked to far too many friends, on the phone, through email, through IM, over beer, watching them tear up from the sense of failure and betrayal.

Too many. Goddamned too many. In a sense, it’s easier when it’s you.

I am tired of watching impotently as my friends fall to yet another corporate earnings report and mandated change in direction and any other euphemism you care to use for “we screwed up and are damned if we’re ever going to take any responsibility for it”.

There is a deadly rhythm developing to these horrible events. The drumbeat of rumors weeks prior, the dead look in the eyes of the people who know earlier and can’t say, the worry in the eyes of everyone else as they furtively check networking sites and job listings and send emails on their private accounts.

It’s always the same. Always the fucking same.

And the people responsible – no, not the managers who actually have to wreck people’s lives up close and in person, but the higher-ups who actually made the screwups that led everyone to the cliff – they’re Out Of The Office. Off To Meetings. Not Here Today.

Responsibility. It’s a nice long word, rolls around in your mouth. Says a lot. Isn’t said much, in any way meaningful.

The part of the ritual that always gets me? The Official Statement. There always is one – the people in charge of PR can’t just let it go (or else they might be let go themselves!), they always have to weigh in with the usual Our Hearts Will Go On malarkey.

And that’s why it always gets me. Because it’s always something to the effect about how “these unfortunate events” weren’t really critical. It’s not important, those people we let go. They’re not that important. We didn’t really care about them, you see. It’s unfortunate, sure, but we have great things in store, just you watch! We’re not set back in any way, no sirree bob! Everything’s GREAT!

Everyone knows it’s what companies say – everyone knows it’s what companies have to say.

And it’s the final act of betrayal. That final kicking dirt on the guy as he heads out the door with his action figures and Best Employee Of The Year trophies in a box that was helpfully set out in the hallway the night before. Because it’s not enough that you let that guy go after he gave his all for your bottom line, it’s not enough that you had to force him out into an economy that is anything but welcoming. No, not only did you wreck his life and reward his loyalty with a pink slip and a packet about COBRA coverage, you then got to announce to Teh Intertubes that in the grand scheme of things he wasn’t really that important.

You know what? Everyone reading those releases knows it’s a ritual. And it’s a ritual that sucks. It’s IMMORAL. It lies. It lies to your customers, your stockholders and the employees that remain in fear of their continued livelihood.

It’s the final gratuitous act of betrayal. It always happens. And it always sucks.

I remember when I had one of those *on the radio*. I had been let go from a dot-com company in mid-collapse, in 2001, and escorting my shocked and awed arse out the door was a press release that said that those let go were “underachievers”.

Thanks, guys! I’m sure that’ll look good on my job application. Underachiever Class of 2001. Way to reward working long hours and surviving layoff after layoff and wondering when I’d be the next.

Corporate loyalty is a LIE.

Maybe someday I’ll be in a position to change that.

Or maybe I’ll just keep impotently raging into chat windows.

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95 Responses to Rituals Of The Betrayed

  1. Iconic says:

    How would you do it differently if you were the suit that screwed up?

  2. Juan says:

    I really hate it too, especially the shroud of secrecy when people get fired singly or as a group. I just don’t know what to do. If I was a manager what would I say? “Sorry, I look at you and five others and decided you were the one least worth keeping.” Then I get sued! Apparently you can get sued for telling the truth, or having a real reason to fire someone. Being laid off is even worse because the reason is “I had to reduce count and you weren’t high enough of the good chart.”

    I also don’t understand how blanket layoffs help. Everytime I seen layoffs up close, its always hurt us in productivity and we either hire newer people to make up for it and have to train them, or we just work harder and make a less quality product until we finally get some more hires through the freeze. And then the new people have the same potential for issues as the old people, only to be found out again closer to crunch time.

  3. Crask says:

    Letting people go is never fun, or pleasurable.

    And some of that cheer leading has to be done. If things are bad enough you have to make cuts then you damned sure have to shore up your employee base that you have left to keep them from jumping ship. There is a trend these days to blame executives and management for everything, without the acknowledgment that making the decision and the execution of layoff isn’t exactly fucking easy either.

  4. No, layoffs are not easy. But eventually, you expect the people doing them (after, say, four rounds of layoffs in a single year) to FIGURE IT OUT.

  5. It’s probably no consolation, but the customers and stockholders aren’t exactly fooled by the lies. At some point, it actually does become a problem for the company if its PR statements are viewed with the seriousness of the latest dispatch from Comical Ali.

    You’re looking at the company trying to decide whether it’s worth the continued investment (make no mistake, players in persistent worlds are making decisions about investing time and monthly fees in their characters, even if they don’t think of it that way), and all you’ve got to go on are the latest press releases. When a company chooses to abuse its credibility like this, they’re degrading the value of the only information that people have to go on.

  6. tannenburg says:

    There is a special sort of Hell in being laid off and then finding out your job position has been posted for hire on the HR Web page. Of course it’s for less money – meaning they wanted to replace you with someone cheaper…like you’re a spare part which needs switching out because it’s old and worn out.

    Happened to a friend of mine…my layoff was because the business “grew away” from the business model under which I was originally hired.

    Layoffs suck any way you slice it…someone, somewhere, decided you’re useless. No amount of cotton-candying it up changes that fact.

  7. Iconic says:

    The one thing that stood out to me with the Mythic “press release” from MJ was:

    You hired a bunch of employees whose only supposed purpose was to get you through the launch period, and so you laying them off isn’t really a sign of anything being wrong.

    Okay, then let me ask you this: Did those people know, when they were hired, that their positions were likely temporary? I don’t mean in the abstract sense that most employment is “at will” and temporary, I mean in the sense that some one actually told them before they were offered and accepted the position, that it was a temporary position with the potential to be permanent.

  8. damn you, capitalism! says:

    I’ve known my termination date (march 31) since mid November. The hilarity is that the purchasing company axed most of the executives, with the exception of the one guy who many here feel is most responsible for our downfall. Him, they promoted. Maybe it’s just coincidence that he happened to work at the purchasing company several years before coming here.

    I hope one day you are in a position to change that. I also hope that by the time you get there, you will still want to change that.

  9. Iconic says:

    “The hilarity is that the purchasing company axed most of the executives, with the exception of the one guy who many here feel is most responsible for our downfall. Him, they promoted. Maybe it’s just coincidence that he happened to work at the purchasing company several years before coming here.”

    Actually that sounds a lot like conspiracy. Get a mole into a competitor, undermine them from within, and then pick the carcass when they die. Buy up their assets and clientele cheaply and reward your agent for a job well done.

  10. Bleaktea says:

    I used to work with someone who’d survived rounds and rounds of layoffs – ninja corporate layoffs, the kind where one day your security pass doesn’t work, so you go to the front desk and ask for a temp one, and find out right there – standing in the lobby – that your pass doesn’t work because you’ve been fired.
    The bad times came around again, and he started jumping at every shadow. One day his pass didn’t work when we all scanned in and he just went white as a sheet – it turned out to be a technical glitch, but it still scared him.
    Eventually he closed up all his projects and quit, rather than sit around and wait for the axe to fall. (Well, and a bunch of other reasons, but sitting in Waiting To Be Fired mode didn’t help).
    In the end there were no layoffs from our section. It still bothers me that people live in fear of losing their jobs – suddenly and without preamble – because someone’s Excel spreadsheet doesn’t balance.

  11. Snipehunter says:

    There’s more to it, too. I mean the survivors of layoffs feel really bad about what happened… at first… but thanks to the way the whole thing is spun, they quickly come to believe the hype and the good people that got laid off become the bad people that were the problem in the first place, right? It’s a coping mechanism, I think.

    I wrote about it, last time I was involved in major layoffs (http://dopass.com/cursethedead)

  12. Rog says:

    To me, the problem here is the workings of the public corporation system. Ever since the ‘information age’ (I can’t seem to say that without sounding like some luddite, lol) that’s given everyone easy access to the stock market, more and more it’s become:

    Image > Everything else.

    It’s not even about turning a profit anymore, it’s more about whether that profit charts up each quarter, because that graph is the image that your stock may (or may not) follow.

    The current trend is to layoff employees, so every corporation will look at that option, regardless of whether it’s good for their company as a whole in the long term. Because it’ll look good to the investors to follow the trends. If they don’t, they won’t be seen as an agile company and their stock will drop. It even trickles down to privately owned companies, depending on whether their investors demand they follow the same trends.

    This is some kind of mob-rule messed up form of capitalism. How does anyone expect honest approaches to business anymore?

  13. dartwick says:

    Umm welcome to life.

  14. Rog says:

    And yeah, I’ll agree, it’s easier to deal with when it’s yourself, rather than friends, family, etc..

  15. Zuzax says:

    Often the “good” chart has nothing to do with it. Often it is the salary chart that is looked at before anything, so senior employees are the first to get shot because they help out the bottom line more by taking out a bigger salary. Often they have families and kids, which helps reduce the benefits costs.

    Often I have seen the good senior people (and have also been one of them) be let go due to “strategic restructuring” and “job elimination” and the morons and the inexperienced remain because they are cheaper on a fully loaded salary basis. Not a sound long term practice, but it gets the quarterly results up.

    I wonder how many layoffs are being committed not due to business need but just because such mercenary tactics can be blamed on the current economy. We’ll see how many companies have “surprisingly good” Q1 results after committing employment mass-murder.

  16. yunk says:

    The only way you’ll ever “change it” is to change human nature itself. Get people to take responsibilty for their actions, get upper management to admit it’s their fault and to resign, instead of blaming it on their underlings.

    They say a good manager will take the blame not reassign blame under him, but all the good managers I’ve known who do that get fired as their reward.

    @Iconic wrote Actually that sounds a lot like conspiracy.

    No it’s just the way it works, over and over. Good networks who are BS artists survive. Besides also people keep people they know around. Good managers are let go during those times because you half to talk a good game UPWARDS, not inspire and empower employees DOWNWARDS. That doesn’t impress. Every single layoff or selloff of a department to another company has seen that exact same pattern. The craptastic managers we hate who keep interfering are kept around, the others let go.

  17. yunk says:

    oh man I can’t spell today.

  18. mystery says:

    Dude, I remember when you were laid off in 2001. I spammed your resume out to a number of headhunters I knew, and then hoped for the best.

    Then, a few months later, on the morning of 9/11, I got laid off myself. I was driving home thinking about my measly severance package and listening to my belongings clatter about in the complimentary box furnished to me on my way out the door — when the first plane hit the WTC. Looking back on it, I tried really hard not to be selfish, and not to lash out at my employer, but in reality, they were so caught up in making sure that their VC funding didn’t fall through because they just jammed up their lead developer, they couldn’t stop to let people go home from work that day.

    Fuck the suits.

  19. Stupid says:

    I work for a consulting company of about 300. Last week we laid off seven people. The President and CEO was present at every one of the layoff and he personally apologized to the people as they left the building. I saw him later that day and he was DEVASTATED. Seriously, the man looked like he had just been forced to kill a family member.

    He sent out a company wide email that told us all why those people were let go. We weren’t making as much money as we had hoped and something had to give. No one claimed that we were “trimming fat” or getting rid of under-performing people. It wasn’t even implied. And several of those let go WEREN’T underperformers – but they weren’t critical in critical positions either. The decision was based on who we could afford to lose, not on who was least needed. When you _have_ to lose a pound of flesh, wouldn’t you rather lose part of your foot instead of half or your heart?

    It’s still sad.

  20. Delmania says:

    I had been considering re-uping my subscription, but this is the final nail in the coffin for me. Mythic has so mishandled Warhammer it’s not even funny.

  21. EpicSquirt says:

    Delmania :
    I had been considering re-uping my subscription, but this is the final nail in the coffin for me. Mythic has so mishandled Warhammer it’s not even funny.

    I agree. The Lead Designer should go first.

  22. Abalieno says:

    Applause, both you and Sanya.

  23. Brast says:

    Everyone agrees that layoffs are horrible things and creates very deep and negative emotions in everyone. But I disagree with the principle that this is automatically the “fault” of the suit in the plush corner office.

    Company A makes an improved widget that they expect to sell 1000 units during the year. Unfortunately they only sell 500 units. Clearly they are cheaters and liars if they do not choose to pile up their losses and go bankrupt instead of cutting their costs to match their revenue. Clearly there was some guy sitting in his ivory tower that screwed up and spit on the honest workers to save his own hide.

    Does that even make sense? This is capitalism. Companies succeed and companies fail. There is real money involved. Companies cannot just print more if their revenue drops. No one wants to lay people off and it is usually the last resort to cut costs, but the government cannot just take tax dollars and bail out every company that fails…. oh wait

  24. terrarich says:

    I was let go last October in a similar fashion and with a notice spouting the hurrah nonsense about how nothing was wrong fundamentally and the higher ups were no where to be seen that week as the axing was made. We were just dead-enders — the last vestiges of a dying regime and what is turning out to be a dying company.

    I’ve spent a lot of time looking for a new job and even more replaying those moments in my head, doubt, despair, what to do, how to handle this and I’m still lost. Lot of this has motivated my thinking in the interviews I am doing and has hurt some of my confidence.

    My first job right out of graduate school and gone, several months of work and the most expendable. We live beneath a thin veneer of civilization and this is much like eating your young or throwing a Donner’s Pass Christmas party.

    Guess we ought to make an MMO about that.

  25. Corporate loyalty is almost invariably one way–employee to employer. When it goes both ways, you usually don’t see any official statements about layoffs.

  26. Angelworks says:

    Not to mention greed – hardly anyone connects how much executives at these companies make, and make the connection to the companies profitability.

    Fact is – from the earnings report – THQ didn’t lose any money, they are actually still profitable – they just earned less than they did before.

  27. JohnMoore64 says:

    There’s really nothing you can say to soothe or comfort anyone going through a layoff. I’ve been though the layoff twice, and everything said to comfort me sounded hollow and empty. And I’ve tried to comfort friends going through it, and felt shallow and trifling.

    It sucks, and it makes you feel like shit. The simple truth is that it will be a very bad experience.

    But another truth that is difficult express is that it will pass. There will be a new day. And, one way or another, things work themselves out.

    So, as trite as it sounds, if you are facing this, hang in there. Try an keep faith. Know that life will go on. And, maybe, it will take you in a totally unexpected, new, and good place.

  28. Matt Mihaly says:

    Scott wrote:

    I am tired of watching impotently as my friends fall to yet another corporate earnings report and mandated change in direction and any other euphemism you care to use for “we screwed up and are damned if we’re ever going to take any responsibility for it”.

    I’m not sure what you mean Scott. Making the layoffs IS taking responsibility for the problem. Not taking responsibility would be just carrying on, sticking your head in the sand, and pretending there’s not a problem. It’s not as if lay-offs are easy for any executive I’ve ever encountered either. I barely sleep the night before I have to fire someone, and that’s for a DESERVED firing. I cannot imagine how bad it would feel to have to lay off a whole bunch of people all at once who haven’t done anything particularly to deserve it. Do you know what it’s like to have an employee break down into incoherent tears while you sit there and try to explain it’s not his/her fault but it has to happen anyway? It fucking sucks and it is not something one looks forward to.

    You’re sounding a bit here like the armchair quarterbacks you regularly take to task (like Tom Chick) here to be honest (no offense intended….we’ve all been there).

    –matt

  29. Matt Mihaly :
    Do you know what it’s like to have an employee break down into incoherent tears while you sit there and try to explain it’s not his/her fault but it has to happen anyway?

    Yes.

    My issue is less with layoffs than with (a) the apparent trivialization of them in the corporate world as a way to pad the latest earnings report and (b) the apparent need lately, especially in our industry, to minimize their contribution publically on the day they’re let go.

  30. Matt Mihaly says:

    Yeah, I agree, that’s lame and a betrayal of good people.

  31. Kemor says:

    @Matt Mihaly
    Taking responsibility would be to check where it went wrong and try to fix it. If something went wrong in a company, you can be pretty sure it’s not gonna come from the bottom yet EVERY SINGLE TIME, you crop bottom first, and once in a while, at the top…

    The big issue here is that there is no apparent “rethinking” of the whole shee-bang. It’s just “ok let’s keep on doing the same, but with less people!”. That alone is stupid because you’re not solving anything, you’re just ignoring the problem!

    And that’s not just in the gaming industry but everywhere.

  32. Calandryll says:

    Scott Jennings :
    My issue is less with layoffs than with (a) the apparent trivialization of them in the corporate world as a way to pad the latest earnings report and (b) the apparent need lately, especially in our industry, to minimize their contribution publically on the day they’re let go.

    And on top of that, there isn’t even a “thank them for their hard work” in these things. Not that that helps pay the bills or take away the sting of a layoff, but the fact that it hasn’t been there in a lot of these layoff announcements, while there is a lot of “we did awesome” stuff in them, speaks to the author(s) attitude towards these people.

  33. Swader says:

    Companies exist to make money. That’s it. They don’t exist to create great products, and they don’t exist to benefit mankind. They are part of the free market and money is at the root of the free market.

    Honestly, to expect anything more altruistic than the most efficient accumulation of money is folly.

  34. Matt Mihaly says:

    Kemor wrote:

    Taking responsibility would be to check where it went wrong and try to fix it. If something went wrong in a company, you can be pretty sure it’s not gonna come from the bottom yet EVERY SINGLE TIME, you crop bottom first, and once in a while, at the top…

    That’s because the bulk of the compensation goes to people at the bottom of the pyramid. The people at the top get paid more but there are a LOT more people at the bottom. Further, the people at the top are typically required, or at least their roles are. The company cannot function without someone fulfilling the CEO function, without someone fulfilling the CFO function, etc etc.


    The big issue here is that there is no apparent “rethinking” of the whole shee-bang. It’s just “ok let’s keep on doing the same, but with less people!”. That alone is stupid because you’re not solving anything, you’re just ignoring the problem!

    No, you are often solving the problem by cutting in this case. For instance, in Mythic’s case, the problem to be solved is that they were likely to be bleeding money without the cuts. There’s nothing to rethink. The game wasn’t as popular as they hoped, and wasn’t bringing in as much revenue as they hoped. That may or may not be anyone’s fault. Predicting what the public is going to want years in advance of giving it to them is very hard.

    As far as not rethinking what they’re doing, I’d suggest that you’re probably not in the Board room and are likely not privy to what I guarantee you are hours of soul-searching discussions among the relevant execs about what to do.

    I’m not sure what other magical solution you think they should have tried to fix the problem that results from spending more than you bring in. Enlighten me?

    –matt

  35. Rog says:

    @Swader: I’d argue that’s incorrect and part of the issue here. Corporations exist for shareholder value. Although that’s often linked to making money, it’s a short-term emphasis.

    In several of the cases of layoffs referred to here it has not been about profitability, but current economic trends. In other words, they’re making cuts because they’re expected to, and many of us would argue with the particular cuts that it’s more likely to hurt them financially in the future. But they don’t give one whit about the future, they’re looking at quarter by quarter.

  36. Matt Mihaly says:

    Which isn’t, incidentally, to call the people further down the pyramid unnecessary by any means, but there is usually a lot of duplication of function the further down you go, because of the bulk of work that needs producing. If they couldn’t afford 20 world builders or whatever anymore, then they can’t afford it. The company as an entity does not hinge on having 20 world builders, even if it may hinge on having at least SOMEONE doing some world building.

    –matt

  37. Matt Mihaly says:

    Rog wrote:

    But they don’t give one whit about the future, they’re looking at quarter by quarter.

    Well, they care about what investors (which includes your average American via mutual funds and pension funds) care about, and investors have shown they care more about short-term results. Makes me glad I’m not running a public company, but corporate management is, at least theoretically, doing what the shareholders tell them to do.

    (Incidentally, if you own even a single share of stock, when was the last time you attended a shareholder’s meeting to voice your opinion about the direction of the company? Most people don’t, but are happy to complain about how company’s are being run anyway.)

    –matt

  38. Loredena says:

    Matt Mihaly :

    That’s because the bulk of the compensation goes to people at the bottom of the pyramid. The people at the top get paid more but there are a LOT more people at the bottom. Further, the people at the top are typically required, or at least their roles are. The company cannot function without someone fulfilling the CEO function, without someone fulfilling the CFO function, etc etc.

    I’m not sure what other magical solution you think they should have tried to fix the problem that results from spending more than you bring in. Enlighten me?
    –matt

    I can’t speak to the games industry in particular, but I can speak about large companies (of which EA at least is one) versus smaller ones. Large companies first few layoffs tend to target the bottom of the pyramid. It’s only after they’ve cut to the bone it seems that it occurs to them to target the middle layers. You’re right — you can’t really function without a CEO, CFO, CIO. But it’s a bit much when the worker bees are getting chopped while the 5-7 layers of middle management stick around… Especially when many (most?) of the problems can be blamed on decisions made by that management – -worker bees don’t tend to make the decisions that sink ships. We do tend to be the first off the boat when it starts taking on water though.

  39. Matt Mihaly says:

    Loredena wrote:

    I can’t speak to the games industry in particular, but I can speak about large companies (of which EA at least is one) versus smaller ones. Large companies first few layoffs tend to target the bottom of the pyramid. It’s only after they’ve cut to the bone it seems that it occurs to them to target the middle layers. You’re right — you can’t really function without a CEO, CFO, CIO. But it’s a bit much when the worker bees are getting chopped while the 5-7 layers of middle management stick around

    I don’t have any idea what the composition of cuts at EA was recently, but I know it impacted lots of middle management because I’m getting a lot of their resumes across my desk these days (people 3 or 4 steps from Riccitello on the org chart).


    Especially when many (most?) of the problems can be blamed on decisions made by that management – -worker bees don’t tend to make the decisions that sink ships. We do tend to be the first off the boat when it starts taking on water though.

    Yep, that is true. Worker bees do not typically sink companies. On the other hand, management of an organization the size of EA is incredibly complicated and hard, and although the buck absolutely stops with management a lot of times what management “did wrong” is only apparent in hindsight, in which case it’s debatable whether any “moral” blame should accrue to them.

    –matt

  40. Baktru says:

    Layoffs are one thing…

    The company I luckily just resigned from, because I got something new, shiny and probably better, announced on my very last day there that they are closing end June…

    Good luck to my ex-colleagues for sure. This is not the right time to end up jobless.

  41. Merusk says:

    You speak of ‘years of loyal service,’ Scott. That’s the first mistake, and one I see time after time after time.

    Corporations have no requirement and no need to be loyal to you. You are a tool, a cog and nothing more. Always look out for your own interests, because you’re the only one doing so.

    Time and again over the last two years I, too, have watched people who worked for their builders for 5, 10, 15 years get laid-off. Different industries, same story. The sense of betrayal that always follows still baffles me. “What about my loyal years of service?” ‘Well, thanks for that but we need to move on and you aren’t necessary.’

    Loyalty is a fool’s game. Work for the check and keep an eye on the want-ads at all times. The best quote for the modern work force I’ve seen is, “We’re all independent contractors, even those who have ‘one employer.’ What that really means is your little business has one client, and if they decide to go elsewhere you’re in trouble.”

  42. Sanya says:

    Matt, I appreciate what you’re saying… but Mythic’s management represented itself as something different, so that’s part of the emotion you’re seeing. Also, with game industry layoffs, at least one of the comment writers/bloggers actually knows the victims, and is often in a unique position to judge whether or not those directly culpable took a hit.

    And… um, usually, especially in the first couple rounds… no. People on the inside know who had the title and who had the authority, and the two aren’t always the same.

  43. Viz says:

    But, Sanya, part of being the problem is being unable to tell that you’re the problem. If the person in authority is the problem, it’s highly unlikely that he can recognize it, and even more unlikely that he’d resign because of it.

    This is one of the things that sucks about being human. There’s no reasonable hope that this will change.

  44. Toastrider says:

    And this, ladies and gents, is why I work for a privately owned company.

    Although if I had any sense, I’d be an undertaker or own a funeral home. There’s ALWAYS a demand for caskets…

  45. Triforcer says:

    A thought on the ridiculous press releases:

    Sometimes that comes from the boys in Legal. It doesn’t matter if a press release is laughed at by all who see it if it doesn’t say anything that’s damaging to a potential future legal defense. As a former federal court law clerk, I can say that when preparing a draft decision in wrongful termination/employment discrimination cases, public statements that undermine the company’s current (or desired) theory of the case are very damaging.

  46. =j says:

    On the subject of boxes: I still have mine. I used it to schelp out my stuff back during my first (and thus far, only) layoff. I carry it with me to every job I have had since then. I keep it under the desk or tucked into a corner. It is a reminder that there is no such thing as loyalty.

  47. scribbler says:

    Nothing anyone here i can say will make you or any of the other who find themselves out of work feel any better.
    All i can say is as a team you really did produce a good game and you should be proud of what you achieved.
    Ive been on the end of this sort of thing myself both in the past and recently and it never gets any easier.

  48. Matt Mihaly says:

    Sanya wrote:

    Matt, I appreciate what you’re saying… but Mythic’s management represented itself as something different, so that’s part of the emotion you’re seeing. Also, with game industry layoffs, at least one of the comment writers/bloggers actually knows the victims, and is often in a unique position to judge whether or not those directly culpable took a hit.

    When a company fails because an executive took all the funding and ran away to Brazil, it’s clear who is culpable to everyone.

    Most of the rest of the time though, I’d suggest that the answer is not so clear cut, particularly when an entertainment product doesn’t achieve as wide acceptance by the public as was planned for.

    –matt

  49. GreyPawn says:

    Ever notice how one company will announce layoffs and another company will raise their hand and echo the same? Is this collusion on the golf course, or mere coincidence? And why are they always nice, round numbers? Like 600, or 1,100, or 50? Wouldn’t it make more sense to prune for efficiency in areas that absolutely require it, to use a recently overpoliticized term and “use a scalpel instead of a hatchet”?

    Why do these announcements never follow a committed pledge by management, upper and middle, to accept a 10%-30% reduction in pay in order to continue work without slicing personnel too deeply? Wouldn’t a transition to part-time/contract or a phasing out period for the laid-off-to-be be less traumatizing to the whole company?

    When Disney’s VMK was closing, and I was forced to let go of 30 or so of my moderators, those dedicated souls that kept the game clean and safe for the kids, I resolved to get involved. Every day until the final curtain call, I set aside an hour after closing to work on finding my loyal moderators jobs. With a lot of luck and a few right words, most of them were picked up for contract moderation, and I’m proud to say that two of them went on to become Community Managers in their own right.

    Most of the woes in the the Rituals of the Betrayed could be avoided if management acted a bit more human and put themselves in the same shoes as the laid off. I did what I did because if I were in the shoes of my mods, I sure as freaking hell would want someone to help me out. Many of these peeps were paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make rent, an income meant to fund a stint in college or to offset medical bills. And not a one of them ditched me or a scheduled shift before the end.

    Management, both middle and upper, really need to bring dignity back to the way things are done. Everything is not the bottom line, no matter how capitalistic your bent. There IS a price in morality. If you end up a bad human being because you laid off a hundred, maybe a thousand people when you didn’t have to, you are absolutely going to have to pay the piper in karma. And if I am ever in the position to take a pay cut, or to cut back on bonuses or to trim the dividend or invest a little energy and save some people from the guillotine, god damn it, I will.

    Because that is what I would want someone to do for me.

  50. Walter Yarbrough says:

    Matt,

    Seriously man, shut up.

    Many of the folks responsible for making and remaking WAR are now gone. And DAoC before that. And ID4 before that. And Spellbinder:Nexus Conflict.

    http://www.mythicentertainment.com/_site_files/images/history/1998.jpg – they lost one guy from here.

    http://www.mythicentertainment.com/_site_files/images/history/2002.jpg
    and 3 more from that picture

    1998 to 2009 (or 2002 to 2009) is not employment to be dismissed as part of the ‘normal’ launch cycle of WAR.

    All of the folks responsible for the acceptance of WAR as an entertainment product are still there – and still celebrating the Russian launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkNwGwlRP9w

  51. Mike Rozak says:

    On the positive side…

    After the wailing and gnashing of teeth, many of the newly unemployed MMO developers will clean out their garages and starting working on the MMO they’ve always wanted to create… not the WoW clone their previous masters were asking for.

  52. Skelanth says:

    Without knowing almost anything about Matt Mihaly, I pegged him for upper management. A quick peak at his blog confirms this. Matt’s responses are completely on par with what you would expect to hear from upper management: interesting, thoughtful answers that do nothing to address the topic at hand.

    What seems to be missing from Matt’s responses, which many people are commenting on, is the lack of recognition to employees being laid off. Most employees being laid off are not being properly recognized for their contributions and instead are being held up as scapegoats. Rather than treating those former employee’s as people, worthy of dignity and respect, they are loaded with the blame, shame and responsibility for the present cirucmstances when quite often this was out of their immediate control.

    Not knowing Matt or his management style, I can’t say what he is like to work under. Any company today functions in a classical (pure economics) economic view versus a socio-economic view.

    If you are a business major studying in today’s universities and colleges you will be familiar with the concept of corporate social responsibility. The heart of this concept is the idea, notion, perhaps even ideal, that a business’ obligation go beyond law and economics to also pursue long term goals that are of benefit to the society in which they exist. An example of this would be a company that indicates to its employees it values their ideas, their creativity, their hard work and what they bring to the table as people and holds on to that talent when times get rough. And times always get rough, kinda like seasons being a natural rhythm.

    Many companies present themselves this way, yet when things get rough, they revert to a classical mode of operating. That’s where a deeper sense of betrayal kicks in, when you thought you were working for a different kind of company and was actually just working for a company no different than all the rest.

    Ultimately, companies that operate in a purely classical capacity, lose both customers and good employees over time. I have a relative that will not buy from certain brands because of their lack of social corporate responsibility. I didn’t understand this until I worked for such a brand. One of my job functions was to contact large corporate customers that brand had lost over the past decade. Every single company I talked made it clear to me that the brand I worked for would not be doing business with them ever again. After a year of trying to rebuild business relationships with those companies, I chose to leave that brand.

    Those who function in a classical sense don’t understand this. The world is changing, people are changing and how you treat both your employees and customers define you and the corporate image you represent. Word gets out.

    And yes, many investors are looking for short term gains, but isn’t that what got us all into this current economic mess? Short term gain at the expense of long term fundamentals?

  53. Reeph says:

    We’re not people, we’re resources, sure human resources, but still just resources, just like the tables, chairs and pc’s. Resources don’t have feelings, at best they’re like cattle, so yes it’s unfortunate when bad things happen to them but you know it’s not like they’re people is it?

  54. Kemor says:

    @Swader

    That’s the thing. At the end of the day, if the only reason for your company to exist is to make money and expend so that it can make more money, it means nothing, it’s just wind.
    Likewise, if the only reason you work is to consume good and then some more, your life means nothing.

    That’s the rethinking, putting back the “WHY” into the work, the economy and the industry.
    The very first gaming studios were not there just to make money and more money, they all had ideas, a “vision”. Still today, new gaming studios want, of course, to be able to live off their work, but their sole purpose for working is NOT just so that they can live and buy stuff, they have something more to put into it. ALL this is lost on a more global scale and THAT’s a big part of the problem.

  55. Tom says:

    Hey Scott,

    Thanks for writing this post. It is very much what I have been going through here in Vancouver in the past while. It’s been non stop layoffs since July 2nd. But the last two weeks have taken the cake.

    The day Skate 2 comes out they fire everyone from Blackbox (basically everyone). Then the following Monday, Nexon Vancouver shuts down completely. Propaganda (disney) lays off 70 people. EAC laid off a few but im sure more are coming with their loss of 600+ million.

    The Vancouver section of the game industry is pretty big. But not big enough to weather this. We have a ton of really really good artists looking for gigs.

    So thanks again for writing this. You are saying exactly what has been going on in my life.

    As for being tired of posting these posts it is probably the reason I have not updated my personal site in a while with anything of substance.

  56. […] Jennings at Broken Toys has a post called Rituals Of The Betrayed. He’s just recently fallen victim to fallout from the whole Tabula Rasa debacle, even though […]

  57. Cedia says:

    Maybe if all these recently unemployed developers get jobs at Blizzard, they will give us housing and alternate appearance tabs in WoW like they have in many of the other games. I know, I know, I had to try…

    I’m just wondering how many of these guys are taking the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” route.

  58. Sanya says:

    @Matt: You are right in that the answers are not always so clear cut. What I’m trying to tell you is that some of the posters in a layoff thread almost certainly ARE in a position to know some of the answers.

    Managing upward leaves the people on top feeling good about themselves. Managing down – taking care of people, giving up one’s own bonus to protect someone in worse shape, helping young employees network their way to new jobs, inspiring loyalty – is rare.

  59. Dirk says:

    Scott,

    Well said.

  60. Delmania says:

    The layoffs are one thing. The global economy isn’t to doing well (I am Captain Obvious) and companies are laying people off left and right. The problem is with the massive boat of fail that is MJ’s response.

    Saying that this was planned and that it was mostly support staff is ludicrous. I understand that he’s partially correct, in that after a project is done, some of the workers bees – designers and developers are let go, and that’s a common practice in development. But to cut some of your senior support staff, including, according to the rumors, the person responsible for one of the game’s novel features (Carrie and the ToK) and hide that as “reducing support staff” is just wrong plain and simple. Companies are so focused on making money they forget that a key component to that are HAPPY EMPLOYEES. Happy employees are motivated and productive employees.

  61. Delmania says:

    As a follow along, why do you think Google treats its employees so well? There is a fine line, of course, where happy employees become spoiled employees, but that means to balance out keeping employees happy with satisfying investors.

  62. Eric Kearns says:

    I swear a lot of these places laying off people do it simply because it’s the best time to drop dead weight or peeps they just dont like enough. They mask it all with the excuse of “bad economy” and let ‘er rip! Jerks.

  63. Skelanth says:

    In my long winded post I forget to mention a couple things.

    Back in 2000 I recommended a friend come work for the company I worked for. I knew his skill set was weak but for this specific project, he could fit. He was hired. Almost 6 years later the project came to an end. My friend and several others were let go at the end of the project. He didn’t have any relevant skills to the new projects that were coming on board. As part of releasing him and the others, he was given the opportunity to do some skills retraining. A recruiting firm was lined up for him to see, at the company’s expense, that would help with resume formats, interviewing prep and assistance with finding a new job / career.

    The company my bro works for had to let go 300 people. They too lined up a recruiting firm at the company’s expense for each employee, to help with resume format, interviewing prep and finding new work.

    Some companies look after their employees, when times are good and bad. Some don’t. The difficult part when looking for a company to work for is knowing the difference.

  64. Crask says:

    Eric Kearns :
    I swear a lot of these places laying off people do it simply because it’s the best time to drop dead weight or peeps they just dont like enough. They mask it all with the excuse of “bad economy” and let ‘er rip! Jerks.

    Whats wrong with dropping dead weight?

    If someone isn’t providing the value expected for their expense then the employment relationship isn’t working well and they should be dropped. Keeping poor performers on staff is a horrible problem, it puts extra burden on your key employees who have to pick up the slack.

  65. Brast says:

    It seems like people are trying to find the “bad guy” to blame because something bad happened (layoffs). I have not really heard any counter argument to Matt’s point that layoffs are sometimes needed in an environment where actual results did not meet predictions. The only argument I hear opposing him is that the company should help them and make them feel better about the layoffs.

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that companies that assist employees terminated for non-performance reasons to find other jobs are more socially responsible, but does this really make an employee feel better? Probably not. Sometimes bad things happen and there is not a big bad wolf to point the finger at. Maybe the product was inferior. Maybe the market wasn’t as big as expected. Maybe a competitor offered something better. It’s just not as black and white and cause and effect as… people lose jobs -> management hates worker bees.

  66. Luke says:

    I agree with your thoughts, but layoffs can be handled well (they are never easy). When I was at Wizards of the Coast and we had to do a layoff, I was really impressed with how well they handled it. They actually hired a bunch of folks in to tell us the most humane way to do it (we had geeks firing geeks, very few stuffed shirts at WotC). I appreciated the advice as I had to lay-off one person (although he was a friend, so I ignored all the advice and took him out for a beer, I could see where it really helped some coworkers). What gets me the most is that time between the rumors about the layoffs and the actual day of layoffs – it’s always too long.

  67. DoubleD says:

    You be shocked to see those people in upper management still drive their BMW’s and collect that nice yearly bonus for trimming the bottom line.

    The Kings and Queens of Corporate America. People need to realize your in debt, a consumer, and own nothing. Serfs in modern Feudalism

  68. […] Regarding the layoffs, Broken Toys feels betrayed: […]

  69. Axecleaver says:

    A big part of this post, and the comments that follow, are predicated on the concept of corporate loyalty. But anyone who has worked in American IT, or is familiar with its history, knows that the old concept of corporate loyalty died with IBM’s abandonment of it in the 80s.

    There is no job security today, and I know of very few IT companies who are pretending it exists. A good IT worker knows to keep their skills sharp, because that’s the only job security people have. That, and the establishment of proper, positive relationships with your co-workers, because every business is a vertical microcosm, and you’re going to run into those guys again.

    The company owes you no loyalty, and you owe them nothing in return. You’re the one who needs to control your career, and you should be prepared to find a new job every day you wake up. That’s how American business works.

  70. EpicSquirt says:

    According to Mark Jacbos Warhammer was the smoothest MMO launch in the recent MMO history (while the servers under load had auto-rollbacks each 30 minutes), so why firing employees? They can’t be all underperformers, and even an underperformer with a degree should be good at something and if not, then the person who hired the underperformer should be fired first.

    EAs latest report says that PC has brought in 10% of the net income in Q4 2008. Wii had 9%, Xbox 360 and PS2 way more.

    In a couple of years MMO development will be about small studios, starting with a small, dedicated fan base and working it up and not about big studios with expensive IP, expensive development trying to score big.

    Meanwhile a lot of people will still believe that working for IBM or Siemens or whatever is something special, while IBM fires people offering them to start in India (for local wages) because even in India too little people want to work for IBM for longer than a year and while Siemens bribes every goverment on Earth to get contracts.

    So what to do? Go into micro economics, buy your pizza from a local dude working hard to earn his money but don’t sell your soul to some talentless twats who even when equipped with a lot of money will produce mediocrity.

    Please someone tell me the USP and target audience of Warhammer for example, I don’t see any.

    Targetting the people who got a bit bored of all the other products isn’t a strategy.

    Almost copying the interface of a major competitor isn’t a USP.

    Trying to move into a very saturated fantasy market where Blizzard holds an unprecedented market position (to me it’s a singularity in the western world) while saying “we don’t want to compete with Blizzard, but look here Funcom, we’re going to put ALLLLOOOOTTTT of money into Warhammer to make it a good game” is to me a sign of minute-to-minute business and not of a clear strategy.

    I am just an outsider, but I can see many mistakes which must have been made at the highest level, the people responsible should go.

    Bad economy is just a bad excuse, we already had the .com-bubble, everyone straight in the head knew that the subprime market in the US would collapse, that many just lived from bank loans. The whole US American and German car industry ignored the demand for cheap, ecologically aware cars. Some problems are 100% home-made problems.

    Not like it would have made any difference, in recent years there have been big companies (Allianz, Deutsche Bank) who had a yearly net revenue in billions of Euros, but they still fired thousands of employees because some analyst calculated that they wouldn’t meet a desired profit margin in 2 or 3 years if they don’t.

    In a big company most employees are just a number one can add or substract.

  71. roc says:

    Our quarter-to-quarter economic obsession has failed us all. ‘They’ bet the long-term future of the company and its employees on short-term gambles. And why not?

    They get paid to move the stock -this quarter-. They have a golden parachute if they screw up. There’s no incentive to do anything -but- gamble.

    It’s not their money. Not their mess five years down the road.

    You screw up, you lose your job.
    They screw up, you lose your job.

    If you take a job at a public corporation, buy shares or even just let them manage your 401k, you’re ceding control of your destiny to brazen asshats.

  72. ello says:

    This reminds me of vanguard. brad gets a golden parachute and they basically lay people off in the parking lot.

    Marc is just another “visionary” that people bought into the kool-aid and suddenly have pink slips

  73. Matt Mihaly says:

    Sanya wrote:

    @Matt: You are right in that the answers are not always so clear cut. What I’m trying to tell you is that some of the posters in a layoff thread almost certainly ARE in a position to know some of the answers.

    Perhaps, perhaps not. Even as CEO (the innermost of the inner circle) all you can do is render an opinion about why your company succeeded or failed. You’re not likely to be completely correct or completely incorrect (barring extreme cases, like Bernie Madoff’s fund….it failed because he was an out-and-out thief) even if you’re able to step outside of yourself and attempt to look at the situation through as objective a lense as possible.

    There’s a lot of room for legitimate differences of opinion here given the amount of nuance involved. I realize it’s more fun for a lot of people to just throw darts at the people in charge though (something we’re all guilty of in different contexts….I know I threw a hell of a lot of darts at Pres Bush).

    –matt

  74. […] blogosphere about the recent layoffs from Mythic (and later THQ).  The extremes can be found at Broken Toys (sympathetic view from the inside) and Tobold’s MMORPG Blog (harsh view from the outside).  […]

  75. Nerd Rage says:

    @Matt Mihaly

    As the expression goes, “The buck stops here.” Whether it was literally something the CEO did and thus was personally responsible for, or it was something someone else did and the CEO either went along with it or just wasn’t paying attention, ultimately the responsibility lies with the person at the top.

    That’s why you threw darts at Bush, and that’s why people throw darts at CEO’s. It is irrelevant who was at fault; people will always complain in the direction of the person who was responsible for it all. Rightly so, IMO.

  76. Nerd Rage says:

    @Nerd Rage

    I have a bad habit of failing to make my point before I hit submit:

    One of the hardest things about being a leader is recognizing that even when it’s not your fault, it’s still your fault.

  77. […] thinking about Scott’s entry on shitty post-layoff rituals and the ensuing discussion about who really owns the blame for the bad decision-making and […]

  78. Viz says:

    @Nerd Rage
    True as that is, when something is a particular person’s fault, that only means that they need to do something about it. Blame itself does not specify what that response should be. If it’s the leader’s fault because it’s some organization member’s fault, the solution is very different than if it’s the leader’s fault directly.

  79. Nerd Rage says:

    I’m not trying to place or displace blame here. If we had all the information we needed we could play the blame game around every desk in the building, and nobody would be completely clean by the time it was done. Nor am I trying to criticize the response. For all I know it was entirely appropriate.

    All I’m saying is that if the person who sits at the top of the local pyramid makes an effort to represent himself to the public as a “stand-up guy”, and apparently gives that same image to his employees, well… this is exactly the kind of situation where a stand-up guy would shoulder the blame whether he deserves it or not.

    The response after that might be identical, but I see a big difference between taking action on a problem, and taking responsibility for a problem, even when both of them end up at the same place. The first one says, to me, that a person is more interested in covering their own ass. The second one says that they’re at least trying to look out for their people, even if they’re doing a bad job of it right now. All the difference in the world, right there.

  80. […] Posted by Aiteal Fight fight fight! Broken Toys Rituals Of The Betrayed Seems Sanya and Scott Jennings are a bit angry That is the everyday reality of the credit […]

  81. Con says:

    Sorry Scott, but you come off like a giant entitled baby here. No, the business world is not summer camp. Do you own mutual funds? Yeah, you’re part of the problem. The idea that companies should publically immolate themselves while handing out pink teddy bears and hugs to former employees is juvenile.

  82. Kemor says:

    @Con
    The idea here is that taking the little lollipops of the little kids while keeping the huge sugar-coated cream-trimmed lollipops of the big kids because if they don’t do it, the big kids won’t have anymore huge lollipops is one of the wrong ways to go about a problem, that was usually caused because the big kids wanted even bigger lollipops in the first place.

  83. wowpanda says:

    I completely agree with Matt and Con here. You are free to work/not work for a company and so does the company’s decision to hire/fire you. Both me and my wife work for small companies, and I will totally understand if my boss has to let me go. He will not sale his home just to pay the employees. They are people too. It is much clearly on a small scale.

    I have been laid off before, it doesn’t feel good but I never blame the company, they paid me while I worked there and they have to do what ever to survive. I always worry about how a company can support so many people, epically software companies, because they use a lot of people to do what can be done by just a few (or even one).

  84. Hank says:

    You know, I can recall my grand dad sticking with TWO companies until he pensioned out of each (One shut down operations after 25 years and the other he worked until retirement.) Those companies are long gone, or so changed that they aren’t recognizable. When I was a kid, you stuck with a company until you retired if you could because it was a sensible thing, you learned your job and became very good at it. Yet now, if you don’t plan on leaving within 36 – 72 months, you are being short sighted. But everyone wonders why quality sucks, no one knows their job and everyone is stressed the fuck out. God forbid you actually mention the plans to anyone though because then you are a scum sucking traitor for thinking about the future.

    At this point, I wonder if we do not really deserve a total economic collapse.

  85. Hank says:

    Hm reading these comments, tells me that most people have never worked for companies with ethical practices before. They seem gleeful that labor gets shit on, despite being the backbone of how companies make profit.

    I guess I am old, and can remember workers being important to companies. Maybe we DO need unions in large portions of all industries?

  86. Makaze says:

    They’ve never worked for companies with ethical practices before because over the longterm those types of companies have been weeded out by the market. Ethic don’t contribute directly to the bottom line but do cost resources so on average companies with them go bankrupt or get bought out at a higher rate than those without them.

    And while I don’t think people are gleeful about it, they are being realistic in that expecting anything else out of corporate America is simply foolish.

  87. Hank says:

    I don’t feel it is foolish to want a company that behaves ethically or treats its workers well. I think we are on the cusp of seeing some of the corporate ‘rights’ get backed down a bit and the upper management and boards be held accountable for their actions.

  88. As I’ve said before, there’s a reason I do this indie thing. Hint: it’s not an allergy to money, it’s a strong dislike for organizational stupidity.

    I’ve had friends let go, too, and it sucks. If anyone out there wants to learn more about the indie side of things, perhaps work on a small project, drop me a message. Perhaps we can do something that doesn’t require us to put out press releases criticizing people who sacrificed part of their life for the opportunity to maybe work on a cool game.

  89. Ramification says:

    @Nerd Rage
    Eric Peterson of Feverpitch Studios/Warthog Texas – A standup guy.

    He went into big debts paying off his employees’ salaries out of his own pocket and other added costs/owings after it was discovered that the entire Gizmondo thing was actually a scam to launder/steal money by the Erickson mafia rampaging boy and that there was no actual funds to cover all the development costs – which put a lot of people on the streets, render many gizmondo owners pissed and canned lots of cool game projects.

    Now I’m even more depressed than I was when I started reading this thread.

  90. Makaze says:

    @Hank
    It’s not foolish to want it, it’s foolish to expect it. Our current system of economics (especially our focus on quarterly earnings) indirectly discourages ethical behavior and so our companies have adapted to thrive in that system.

    And even if you’re right and corporate powers are going to take a lasting beating in the coming months (which I doubt) corporations will still not act ethically, they will simply follow the letter of whatever new law is enacted.

  91. Rapewaffle says:

    >Corporate loyalty is a LIE.

    Your boss isn’t your friend.

    When you take a job you aren’t joining a clan who will stick with you through thick and thin. They’re taking on your services because they need them and they can afford them; if either of those things changes, and one day it will, they should and will let you go.

    The problem here isn’t that people lose their jobs when the economic situation doesn’t support them or when the company is being run poorly. Those are just facts of life.

    The problem is that there isn’t enough provision for the people who lose their jobs. It’s part of how our economy works; those people form the pool of labour that allows new businesses to form and flourish. The unemployed are a vital resource but our society treats them like dirt. Losing your job should mean tightening your belt a bit; it shouldn’t mean losing your health coverage.

    The other problem is how much people identify with their jobs and place their sense of self-worth in something they were merely hired to do. I know it’s difficult not to if you work in an industry you love. But ultimately, unless you own the business the job is just a job; it isn’t a part of you.

    You’ve got a point about the press releases. I don’t think it’s really a matter of betrayal so much as it is of being pricks about it. They have every right to lay off staff they can’t support or don’t need, but they don’t have to be pricks about it.

  92. Cr0de says:

    Best writing Ive think Ive ever read from you over the years 🙂

    But hey it could be worse, your boss could have fabricated a bunch of emails so that they have a reason to fire people instead of layoff. (Happened to me once)

  93. Ardanna says:

    I agree with the notion that corporate loyalty is a lie – it’s a lesson I learned a long time ago, thankfulyl when I was young.

    The thing is though, do they give impressions that they are loyal to you? I’ve not had a lot of experience in many corporations so there could well be ones that do (and if so, shame on them).

    Our company has never given that impression. That sounds negative to me but it isn’t. It’s not like they said if you do well and work here a long time you’ll NEVER EVER get let go. At the end of the day, they will do whatever makes the most business sense. And that’s how I treat myself as well. Like a business. I have no loyalty to my company either, really. I like them, I like working there and I think I do good work. But I wouldn’t harm myself to stay there, or stay there because I owe them something or because I am “loyal”.

    But I think where the real failings here, that Scott is talking about, is treating people with dignity. That’s huge to me. Being fired or layed off is horrific. That IS one thing about my company I do respect. They have a ridiculously huge severance package. The owners have said that when people are let get they must be treated with respect and dignity (we had a round of lay offs some time ago and that was one of the first things they said).

    The press releases are gross, I agree. The company should be expressing regret about the need to make such a decision in these financial times, or because budgets weren’t met or WHATEVER.

  94. Hawken says:

    Don’t worry “Higher Ups” are not a company make. When their jobs start getting affected, and when they start losing all their “things” is when we can have some real change.

    It shouldn’t be too long now.

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