You’re Good But We’re Going To Screw You Over Anyway.

It’s Culture Crusher Friday and this week we have a doozie. Remember, even after employees leave your organization you want them to be promoters of yours. Word spreads fast my friends so don’t let your employees leave with a bad taste in their mouths.

Kevin worked for a large design firm that was struggling financially so five months ago they did a round of layoffs and eliminated a good portion of his department. Everyone that was eliminated received large severance packages, pats on the back, and a light nudge out the door. Kevin, on the other hand, was called into his bosses office where he was told that because of his strong skill set they didn’t want to lay him off. Instead, they were going to put him on a three month furlough (aka unpaid leave) where he would be ‘on call’ and when some projects came through they’d bring him back in. If they didn’t have any work for him after three months they would lay him off and give him the same severance they gave everyone else. 

Every week Kevin called the office to get a status update and every week they didn’t have work for him. Except the week he was supposed to travel to see family. That week they told him to report on Monday so he canceled his trip and reported on Monday only to find out that they didn’t actually have any work for him. He went home. 

Finally, with one week left of furlough Kevin was offered a job in another town. He thought this was pretty sweet because there was still no work at his old company and in five days he’d be eligible for the severance package which would help with the moving costs, he’d have a new job, and he could move on with his life. 

Just when he was done passing out high fives to his wife and kids Kevin’s old boss called and told him that they were extending furlough another month. Kevin got pissed because he felt like they were doing this specifically to avoid having to pay him the severance package so he shared a few choice words with the boss he’d dedicated almost ten years of his life to. In the end, he asked the boss if there was anything they could do to end his furlough. Boss says no because if they end his furlough and ‘lay him off’ then corporate won’t let them re-hire for that position (aka: We don’t really care how this negatively impacts your life even though you’ve been a stellar employee for years, we just want to save ourselves the hassle of having to deal with corporate). 


About Marisa

Marisa Keegan is a leadership coach, trainer, and HR consultant for quickly growing organizations who are passionate about strengthening their employees, their brand, and their culture. She has helped lead the HR, culture, and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. She is an author at Fistful of Talent and Culture Fanatics. Marisa has her Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology and currently lives with her husband and twin boys in Richmond, Virginia.
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