Terminated By Overseas Company!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being fired impersonally:

This is not the first time I am writing to you. I find your advice very positive and helpful. I have been 2 years in my current job and a total of 6 years working for the European Finance Center of an American company in Spain. The company strategy is to move jobs to low cost locations in order to achieve a better % of cost per revenue. I have been told 10 days ago that I have to leave the company by end of 2005 because it is planned that my current responsibilities move to India.I feel very upset with the situation as a whole. Many people will have to leave the company and the process of selecting impacted individuals is in my opinion terribly unfair. While in US and other locations, managers are leaving, which make sense as there will be less employees to manage, and they are the ones also making the most money, here in Europe, this is different. Employees are dismissed so that their managers can take over the part of their jobs not moved to India and stay as individual contributors.My counterparts in US also do not understand what is happening. I think this is not coincident with the company strategy and also it is not fair to do this to good and committed employees. This is happening not just in my team, but also throughout all organizations.

Nobody understands the criteria followed for taking such decisions. Another reason to be upset is my personal case. I am ranked in my last evaluation as a top performer and have been promoted recently (2 months ago) after 2 tough years in this department. Despite this, now I have to leave and my supervisor (who joined our team of 3 members last May and is since August on maternity leave) will stay with an operational job I could very well perform and she has no idea about. I have not received any complain on the quality of my job, on the contrary, I am dealing with quite sensitive audit matters for my department and the company worldwide and I have been receiving mails on the good job done during the past year, etc.This fact does not make me feel any better, on the contrary, I think this is hypocrisy and make no sense to receive big thanks for dedication and commitment almost the same day I am awarded with a dismissal. All this together with the fact that I have not been given any chance to stay in the company. Now my problem is, how to address this to the company management, is it worthwhile to do that? My current manager in Spain is staying in the company because she got pregnant and legally cannot be fired. She communicated to me my end date but did not provide me with an explanation of why I had to leave other than “you are leaving cause your job is leaving” (have to admit though I did not ask much as I was quite shocked). I have spoken to the manager I most work with (report to him in dotted line, as he is in US) but he is not offering much explanation and also he is telling me that he is dismissed as well. His immediate manager is in India but I am not so familiar to him.

Somehow I think I want to understand all these decisions even if I cannot change them. Also I think a manager should be able to give reasons for decisions taken as they should be accountable for them. So I want someone to talk to me honestly about criteria for selecting people for open positions and why I am not a suitable candidate! So I would now like to know your point of view about this idea of getting explanation and giving my feedback and also I would appreciate if you could give me some advice on how to approach this situation. Thank you in advance for your reply!

Signed, Why?

Dear Why?:

You deserve more of an explanation than to be told, “You are no longer with the company because the work you do is being moved to India.” Fortunately, you have been given several weeks before this announcement takes effect. An organization that shows so little concern for its employees, especially one who has proven of value to the organization, is not the kind of place you can be proud to work for. One of the behaviors of effective leaders and of the best places to work for is expressing personal attention to their subordinates’ career paths. In contrast to that the way you were told good-bye was impersonal and indifferent. You are wise to learn from this; to learn how you will not behave toward those you manage as your career advances and to learn how important it is that you will show concern for others’ well being. Approach this as you would a detective. Learn by informal scouting and conversations with co-workers, learn by reading organizational documents, learn by scheduling appointments by those above you, learn by putting your questions in writing and sending them to those well up the ladder. In your letter state what you do and the kind of career direction and alternative paths that interest you. List your qualifications, projects completed on your own or with others, and synopsis of performance accolades. Specifically pose the questions that perplex you. Indicate what you think should have been said to you other than that your tenure with the organization is over at the end of this year such as “You have proven to be a valuable member of our organization and we therefore are offering you an opportunity to move with our company or to stay with us if you are willing to retrain for ________.”Putting your thoughts and feelings in writing should help you to express you shock of being terminated in a positive tone and constructive language. Do not rely only on a letter, but use the phone to seek a hearing with who ever is local that has some clout. Let us know what your detective sleuthing turns up. Don’t allow this detour to sour you. See it as an opportunity to explore what is on the horizon.Self-interest is necessary and natural. Seeing the big picture is in both your self-interest and in the long run in the interest of your future employers. That is WEGO mindedness.

William Gorden