Last month saw me taking on a completely new experience – I had to lay-off two people on my team. Yes, they were poor performers. Yes, they had been warned over a quarter in advance. Yes, they had not improved. However, the fact remains – I was kicking them out of a livelihood; that too in such turbulent times. Not something you would volunteer to do, right?

This eventuality was discussed & finalized about a week in advance; thankfully HR was to do it (I would have if it had to be me, but still, I was thankful). D-Day saw me in totally low spirits. Around evening the two people returned from the HR cabins, minus their ID cards. They were composed, but you could see that it was taking a lot of effort. Well, while they were packing up their belongings, I walked up to them and apologized for not being able to prevent this. I also reassured them that I would help as much as possible in finding new jobs. 15 minutes later, they were gone. I did forward their resumes to every possible place I know; after that I have not heard from them.

Initially I was distraught at what I had to do – what my job was making me do. But as the days passed on, I realized that if I intend to grow in my career, I will have to personally wash the dirty linen on many occasions. But how much, and where to draw the line? Honestly, I am not sure. I hope I get the answer right, and that too, soon enough.

Yes, career success is important – but so is being able hold your head high; being able to look at yourself in the mirror. I hope I don’t stumble treading this fine line.

Ruthless. That’s what I need to become.

  1. Choc Heaven
    March 6, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    wow. thats a tough job.

  2. Siddharth
    March 8, 2009 at 10:42 PM

    thats indeed tough…. hope you did what you did with no prejudice and with total objective view…

  3. Prashant
    March 9, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    Well, all I can say is that I did it without any prejudice or bias.

    There were some aspects to it which got me off my rocker, but then they were out of my control.

  4. akmy
    March 9, 2009 at 9:12 PM

    my whole team was laid off 2 weeks ago
    i was the last one to get a phone call
    the last one who was gutsy enough to get my own stuff instead of have HR do it
    it was pretty unbearable
    all the while, my director couldn’t even look me in the eye even though she hired me only 6 months ago…
    turbulent times…it was not even a performance related issue…
    it’s really put things in perspective for me
    i wish i knew what my director was thinking

  5. Prashant
    March 10, 2009 at 4:07 PM


    The same thing happened at my place too; just that not to me. There is always the possibility that I will be asked to layoff more people, and without any performance grounds.

    Being close to the decision makers, I am better able to appreciate the pressure they are under. That, for now, is the only consolation.

  6. NSN1977
    March 12, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    In these turbulent times i feel that it is more hard for experienced guys about 6 years and all..there are pay cuts …some places layoff’s..but if u get laid off ..then its virtually impossible to get managerial roles like PM’s or even PL’s but developers still got some fire ..even there are some many articles on PGPX guys from IIM and ISB finding it hard to get placed..So in times of recession MBA’s are also in recession it seems. But when things improve they will be the ones who make most of it. So as always ups and down go hand in hand and is applicable at all levels.

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