A mass corporate layoff has many of the same qualities as a terrorist attack:
- You never know when its about to happen
- When it does happen, its unclear how many people have been affected
- No one knows whos responsible for it
- Youre not sure how much longer it will be
- You dont know which of your friends are safe
- Even if you survive this round of layoffs, you feel powerless against it happening again in the future and this adds to your anxiety.
For mass layoffs to go smoothly, management strives to carry them out with great secrecy. However, for the workers in the company, it would be useful to have a place offsite to regroup. That place is Layoffs.com.
Layoffs.com is a forum in Wiki format. Most sections of it are editable by anyone* and postings are anonymous. Simply log on and select your company. (Do this from home, of course!) Under each company there are different sections.
The RUMOR FORUM is a place where people from your company can speculate as to the likelihood of future layoffs and the extent of them (e.g. I heard that accounts payable was told it needs to reduce its workforce by 10% by August.) As this section is rumor-based, the interface should be one where other people can log on and either refute the rumor or confirm that theyve heard the same thing.
The CONTACTS SECTION is a place where people who lose their jobs can (if they want to) post their initials, department and some last words of farewell to their colleagues (this provides enough info for coworkers to identify them but *not* for future employers to find this posting using an Internet search).
This would help prevent surprises (e.g. "what, he was laid off six months ago??? I never even got to say goodbye"), and it would also help the remaining employees gauge the extent of the current layoff. I realize it's an emotional subject and not everyone would want to broadcast to their whole company the fact that they got laid off. But at least it's an option now.
The HISTORY SECTION contains information about the company's past downsizings. For each one it would have:
- Date when it occurred;
- percent of workforce laid off;
- list of departments affected;
- manner in which the layoffs were conducted (e.g. Did they give people 2 weeks notice or did you come in one morning to find you were locked out of your computer? Was the notice via email or by discussion with one's manager? Were people escorted out by Security?
- Info about severance pay packages
- Warning signs (e.g. what words did the corporate memo use; were HR consultants called in?): useful to employees to help predict future downsizings
The History section would also be useful for prospective employees to check out before interviewing with the company. This would be like checking the Better Business Bureau before choosing a mover.
The ADVICE SECTION contains layoff preparation tips that are probably applicable to any company. Just as you prepare a "Go Bag" when a terror threat is imminent, you should do the following things when you feel layoffs may hit:
- Back up all personal files you may have saved on your work computer;
- Update your resume (do this while you're still working and are happy about your current company!)
- Have lunch with some coworkers you haven't talked to in a while, in case you never see them again;
- if there are any office supplies you want, take them while you still have a job. If you are escorted out by security, you can't grab a stapler on the way out.
The cornerstone of the website is the LAYOFF ALERT COLOR INDICATOR for your company: Green = safe; Yellow = elevated alert (rumors going around that something may be about to happen at your company); Orange (company has definite plans to downsize in the next few months suggest backing up all personal files); Red layoffs currently in progress back up all files and update resume now!
The color display is derived based on user votes. Every time a user logs on, he/she can vote on the company's current state. The votes are averaged to determine the current Alert Level.
* The only editing restriction is that you must register as an employee of a particular company, and you can only post info for that company. Other company sections you can read, but not post to.