Strong opinions, weakly held

How to lay people off

Just a quick note on two companies that recently had layoffs. I respect this a lot more than this. Honestly I have no idea what O’Reilly is doing in terms of outplacement, so it would be wrong to pass any kind of judgement on how they’re treating the people who were laid off. The lack of transparency is a bit unsettling.

These are tough economic times and layoffs are happening all over the place, but I still think employers ought to take Tim’s advice and make sure they’re creating more value than they capture in their relationship with their employees.

Update: Never mind what I said (about O’Reilly). Here’s Tim’s blog post on the layoffs.


  1. I “graduated” from O’Reilly on Thursday and have had no outplacement assistance, other than a packet FedExed on Wednesday about how to apply for unemployment. Guess I’ll have to learn “to get more with less” just like millionaire pundit Tim O’Reilly is doing… except he gets to keep his paycheck, his insurance, and his 401k.

  2. First of all, bot the links are to the same place, but I’ll just assume you prefer a more “open” company like Google. Google’s announcement of their layoffs and office closings was disgusting in how open it was. It served only to generate gossip among people. Imagine you live in Austin and work for Google. All of a sudden, all your friends are calling you and asking if you’re moving and if you say no, they know you’re unemployed. Essentially, Google has publicized to everyone who knows you what your job status is. They’ve removed the choice from their employees of how public they want to be about unemployment. This is absolutely disgusting. I would much prefer to work for a company that was discrete in these decisions, doing the minimum required legally to let the world know you lost your job. (Note, it may be to your advantage to let people know you’re looking for a job, but you probably have good judgement on who to tell.)

  3. No, not Google. I fixed the link, it’s to the EngineYard blog, which I think did a nice job of announcing the layoffs, offering a useful service to the people who were laid off, and not broadcasting their employment status to the public.

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