These Are Weird Times… But This Is Extra Weird

, , , , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

My workplace, like most, has seen a drop in business due to a recent spreading illness, and many employees, including me, were furloughed. Just before the crisis struck, our general manager left, and a higher-level executive has been serving as the interim GM in his stead until a new one is hired. I was originally handpicked by the dealer group’s lead recruiter and brought in by the old GM for what was, at the time, a newly-created position, and while results during my years of employment show that I excelled in increasing my department’s performance and efficiency, my job is one that doesn’t exist in every store. Even during normal times, I always felt it was a bit vulnerable, so it’s not a huge surprise when the interim GM calls me to let me know I’m being laid off.

Another of my coworkers is notified of being transferred to a different location, as well, and we have grown to become friends over the years, so we coordinate to go pack up our desks at the same time to allow for a socially distant farewell. When we arrive, something unexpected happens: our department managers are surprised to see us and ask us why we’re there.

We explain, to their shock, that we’ve come to pick up our things and say our goodbyes because we don’t work there anymore. As we talk to them and other employees, we start to see a bigger, weirder picture. Unsurprisingly, we were not the only people who were notified that we no longer work for the store; in fact, there were layoffs in every department. But more surprising: among the layoffs were someone who had worked at the store for fifteen years, and another employee who sold more cars than anyone else who worked there every year and was, in fact, consistently one of the top sellers in the entire dealer group. And the salesperson wasn’t transferred like my friend; he was let go. Because, well, apparently, none of the department managers were consulted.

And here’s where it becomes truly bizarre: not only were they not consulted, but the managers were not even informed of the layoffs. Before or after! No meetings, no calls, not even a perfunctory email or text message. The managers only caught wind of what had happened and to whom as their now-ex-employees reached out to them by call, text, or — in our case — showing up seemingly out of the blue to retrieve our belongings.

I can’t say I had any particular expectations of my visit that day, but I did not anticipate being the one to tell my bosses I was laid off. I’m pretty sure it’s usually the other way around!

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