The first thing I notice about the organizational chart on the desk is that it doesn’t have my name on it.
It seems like a glaring omission, at least from my point of view. The director of Human Resources is looking closely at me looking closely at the document. She has a sympathetic expression, but her guard is also up. My boss keeps talking inexorably. It is practiced, intentionally steady. It’s a way she has never really talked with me before.
They haven’t actually said the words yet, so I free up some space in my brain to consider the situation. This is probably how I’d do it too, I think. Stay on message, explain the decision making process before dropping the hammer. Describe it all in terms of the business motivations that have necessitated this “organizational change.” It’s not personal, and I understand that.
I take quick stock of myself. I find that I have this bizarre desire to be practical, cooperative and maybe just a little bit stoic. If this is going to happen to me, I decide, I’m going to leave them saying to each other, “Wow, he took that really well. What a pro.”
Then we get to the moment of truth, the three of us, together each wishing in our own way and for our own reasons that this wasn’t the way of things. In an odd way, everyone in the room is trapped in a painful moment not of their own making. She looks at me while trying to remain professional and sympathetic at the same time.
“Your position has been eliminated.”