Of being sacked ...

Today, on my commute to the office, I was thinking about [an interview][] I had on my hunt for [a new job][]. It appeared that the company I was applying for job had different values than I with respect to work, priorities and achievements.

So, while I consider myself of being a very loyal person, I also stand firm with my values and give them priority over circumstances. Don’t challenge me here.


Later today, I found myself in a situation that challenged my values. And so here I am, writing my anger to the world.

So before you read on, dear reader, please bear in mind the two things I mentioned. I’m completely biased here!

This always has a price, I know; but then, I trust in the Great I Am. In this particular case, I’d like to emphasise that, just for the sake of completeness of this post.

Psalm 24:8#

Who is this King of glory?   The LORD strong and mighty,   the LORD mighty in battle.

Sunflower Road

The Aftermath By the time this post hits the net, the word is already out#

For me, this, [obviously][a new job] doesn’t matter too much anymore. But for my colleagues, it does. At the time of this writing, I don’t which of my team mates will be “laid off” – sacked – by the end of the day. There will undoubtedly be quite a few.

I don’t despise this. Of course, there is always some excess workforce when one company buys another, and usually, the old company won’t fire their old staff, right. It’s completely legal and understandable that, in order to ensure work for the remaining workforce, you’ll have to streamline the processes, remove unnecessary duplication of efforts and more.

But – and that’s why I’m writing in anger – there are different ways of the why and the how you do this.

In this particular case, my personal feeling is: They got some parts wrong

Of being sackedFact is, there are huge cultural differences between us and them. While it may be common in the US (and even Canada) to hire and fire, this is just not the way to do in Switzerland. No way. Nada.#

You don’t step in the office and let people know in a five minutes talk that they got fired. In my opinion, they could’ve done the merger, thorougly assess the situation and skills of the employees and then decide where some streamlining was necessary.

Or do you buy a new car by simply looking at the ads?

My colleagues unanimously feel seriously sacked and even betrayed by people they seemingly can’t trust anymore. Why? Because a general feeling is, that the workforce (once again) pays the bill for something the management ultimately accounts for …

The ConsequencesI don’t know what will happen. We have terms of 3 months notice here in Switzerland – very different from the 2 weeks notice in the US or elsewhere – and this is definitely a serious thing to consider when you lay off some workforce. I really hope that our new colleagues and bosses have the sensibility to understand these issues.#

But then, I have seen far too much companies trying the “American Way”1 of human resource management in “ye olde Yurop”. With devastating effects. Or as in a classic:

Do not meddle with the affairs of engineers for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Lo, Behold!An engineers souls can be fierce – it would be a pity if such a team of excellent engineers with unique knowledge would leave a newly found “harbour” all too quickly because of being sacked. And then it would be the others that’d be sacked.#

There was much goodwill put at stake by that move and I seriously doubt that more than a handful of the now remaining will still be willing to employ their talent in that company within a year.

There will be consequences and the coming days will show how far these will stretch. My hope is that wisdom will reign the process and my thoughts are with the ones whose journey with this company ended on September 9th, 2004.



  1. I don’t say it will be or that it’s always that way. But there’s definitely a pattern.[a new job]: /2004/08/16/problem-solver-for-hire/ [an interview]: /2004/09/04/bad-neighbourhood/ ↩︎

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