Yesterday my MegaCorp employer announced weak sales, record profits, and 1,500 job cuts. The rumors started about a week ago and proved true the old adage that 99% of organizational rumors are true. While no plans have been announced for how they are going to go about the layoffs, a couple things are understood:
- 1,500 = 1.7% of workforce; about 1 in every 60 people
- The layoffs will target “reducing structural overhead” & “layers of management” – I think that means corporate bureaucrats like me, since I lead a group in a corporate marketing function
- All the hatchet work will happen by year end so that can book it against this year’s taxes. Happy Holidays!
- CBS Market Watch noted the irony in posting record profits and executing $1.5B in stock buy backs at the same time the company is laying off people to save less than a tenth of that.
I have to say this is all a bit of a surprise. It seems that MegaCorp’s fotunes turned quickly this year – from a positive Q1, to a weak Q2 & Q3. The devils on Wall Street liked what they saw – rallying up the stock +4% in yesterdays trading (still down for the year).
As a work group we will need to figure out what to do with the roughly 100 people in our area. We don’t exactly know what cuts will be asked of us. We’ve been steadily reducing our headcount & budget all year, but I’m sure we won’t be spared for our proactivity. I’m also not sure what the official MegaCorp approach to “workforce reduction” will be, as they seem to be behind the ball in communicating anything. Hopefully, we can deal with a lot of it by holding some open roles unfilled, normal job rotation/attrition, offer some early retirement packages to folks that are close to full pension vestment, and only after all of these – cut people’s jobs outright.
This puts me in a curiously unexpected circumstance – one of the potential reasons that I had not yet communicated any intentions to retire early next April 1st. (I’ve been secretly counting down the weeks to early retirement for more than 6 months.) In fact, I have sort of been thinking of my work in 2015 as a hobby job, as all of my salary is going into our charitable fund (that I’ve written about HERE).
At the same time, I wanted to ensure that I have flexibility should I wish to continue to work, an interesting role came my way, or I had the opportunity to take a severance package. Now it looks like I might have some choices to make.
A couple considerations …
- My 401k match fully vests on 12/31/15 – I definitely want that money $$
- Annual bonus for 2015 is paid 3/15/16 – It’s a “must be present to win” set-up and I am counting on that money for my charitable “One More Year Fund”
- I’ve only been with the company for 2.5 years, so I’m not sure I would get much of a severance package myself if I volunteered to leave, BUT ..
- I don’t want to see anyone from my team forced into a job loss if I could prevent it by stepping out early myself. I’m not sure exactly how the activity will take place, but I view it as a bit of a moral obligation not to take up an extra seat so I can work an extra 90-120 days
More to come … this certainly makes an interesting new plot point on the road to early retirement.
Image Credit: Pixabay