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by Vault Consulting Editors | September 25, 2008


As I told my editor earlier today, writing about layoffsbums me out. Depending on your point of view (that is, depending on if and how recently you?ve been out of work), you can interpret that as either empathy or some half-assed noblesse oblige attitude along the lines of ?let them eat cake.? Not only do I have a job, but it entails (at the moment) writing about people who soon won?t. But withhold judgment?I know all too well how it feels (more on that in a second).

Naomi touched on Hewlett-Packard?s news in an earlier entry, and I will here register my astonishment. HP, only a month after picking up EDS for about $14 billion, has decided to cut 24,600 jobs, most of them coming from?that?s right?EDS. I recognize there are certain business realities to face because of an economy that?s folding in on itself, but in what sense could this even be called an acquisition? It?s more of a raid. Surely some important portion of that $14 billion that HP decided EPS was worth (a mere month ago) is encompassed by the workers. After diving for an oyster, do you throw out the meat and only keep the shell? (To say nothing of the fact there might have been a pearl or two in there.) Cost-cutting measures must be taken from time to time, sure, but don?t make an 11-figure transaction and then gut the result because you?ve got cash flow problems. In my mind, it invites speculation as to what a parallel universe EDS, one unacquired by HP but facing the same mangy dog of an economy, would have done. Layoffs? Maybe. Thousands of them? Hardly.

As for me, the job I had before this one dissolved in the few seconds it took a VP in an unironed shirt to inform me (and several others) that our positions would cease to exist. This was a job for which I had been hired only six months prior! Today they need you, tomorrow they need you to pack your things. Glut to gut: It?s irrational, it?s nauseating and, I assure you, it bums me out.

To all those affected, remain hopeful. I wish you good luck.

-Posted by Brandon Wilkerson


Filed Under: Consulting

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