Some background:

Back in December our company lost a deal with a client. The project had been stalled for several months, so everyone pretty much knew it was just a matter of time. But still….it was really disappointing. The project had a whole team assigned to it and they’d pretty much been stalled for all those months….but since the client was still paying us (to not do anything) the team wasn’t removed. You know,  just in case (plus there were no new assignments to put them on). So when they pulled the plug they had to come back to our office (the main one in our city).

The other afternoon I was in the conference room working with my boss. He took a break for a minute to step out to talk to someone and I happened to overhear a snippet of a conversation between the office manager and someone else.

I really only overheard a small part, but what I heard sounded something like this:

OM: ….she has a family, kids to take care of, bills to pay…..the other one doesn’t have to worry about that….she needs it more….

I had an inkling about who the two people she was talking about: one of the employees that got taken off the job that has two kids, a husband, and is struggling to pay the bills….and the other is my closest friend in the office, the receptionist, a 20-something that lives on her own and doesn’t have any family (at all) in the city.

Much to my surprise (or not?) the next morning when I got into the office my friend was no where to be found, and the other woman was there at her place.

Yes, my friend was let go.

Times are tough, and I understand that they have to let go of people….but what I’d heard the office manager saying worried me a little. Was this part of the decision making process? If I was in a similar situation where they had to chose to let me go, or someone with a family….who would they let go? Would they take my work product into consideration, or just the fact that I have no kids? Besides, who’s in a worse situation….the woman with the kids, but ALSO a husband (who can work), or the single gal with no one to fall back on?

I hope I only heard the office manager saying that to make herself feel better….afterall we were all friends. I’m sure she wasn’t happy to let her go. Also, maybe it WASN’T taken into consideration at all. But still….as a single 20-something gal myself, its a little unsettling.

 

Update:

Thanks Stacking Pennies for bringing this article to my attention:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123151080100667967.html?mod=article-outset-box

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