Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I made a grown man cry...

Yesterday was an AWFUL day. The word "awful" doesn't really convey how horrible the day was for my coworkers and I.

Yesterday, my business unit received the definitive word on the new downsizing effort.

I had to let half of my Wisconsin staff go. (I only have one Minnesota person, so she was retained.) I literally have 1/3 of the staff that I had 8 months ago... but more responsibility and work. I've dropped from 9 employees to 3 in WI, and inherited the whole State of MN as a new territory. Oh yeah, the company only gave me one salesperson to cover the entire state of MN!

First, I needed to inform "Whiny Boy". Even though he whines a lot, he's a good guy and a hard worker. He moved into a new job in January 2009, but before that he was always 200% of quota. He expected to be let go, but was devastated nonetheless. He has two young kids (one with a heart condition) and two mortgages. He actually broke down and CRIED... and left with a hug from me. It was horrible.

Then I had to tell "Mr. Silver Tongue", named after his gift for gab. He's 62, has colon cancer in remission, with a wife that may have a brain tumor (yet undiagnosed), and not financially able to truly retire. He just didn't believe it. I didn't know how to handle the disbelief. Mr. ST was basically IN SHOCK. He was so shocked that he walked around the office for the next 7 hours talking to everyone and anyone about it... basically asking people "why him?". He was very mad at me too.... especially when I told him "why him".

We also lost several very experienced people that support my sales team... which was unbelievable how deep the downsizing cut.

Then I told the remaining two in WI and one in MN.... the remaining staff was shell-shocked. Others within the company contacted me and "the remainders" all day with "why Mr ST?". My remaining employees felt bad, as if they were survivors that didn't deserve to live. I had to justify my decision... ALL. DAY. LONG. Albeit, Mr ST does sell a lot, continually exceeds his quota, but isn't interested in learning the new technology that we sell. Still, he is beloved and everyone in Wisconsin (customers included) will miss him.

My job was saved. I wonder why I was lucky enough to keep my job. If it was my decision, I would have been downsized. I just don't have enough direct reports left to justify my managerial position. Even some of my employees feel that they aren't worthy of keeping their jobs.

Today we tried to rebuild the team. It was surreal... sad but honest in what we are tasked to do. And I talked with many nervous and concerned customers.


I know I am paid to do a particular job, but I don't have to like it.

My heart hurts for the ones that lost their jobs this week.


Heather said...

I would not want your job for all of the tea in China. Best wishes, but we socialists like the laws in Europe that don't let people be fired without 70% salary benefits until a new job.

Fern608 said...

Well, at least they do get two months full pay plus a hefty severance check (amount based on years of service) which can be as much as a full year of pay.