Those who play in the world of big business are fully aware of the risks: Layoffs are part of the landscape. Yahoo is currently organizing a reduction of upwards of 1500 people as part of an attempt to put its financial house in order; the oil giant Schlumberger is letting ten thousand go, per the company’s January announcement; and Silicon Valley’s original anchor tenant, HP, is in the process of letting tens of thousands go as that organization attempts to right its own ship of state.
These pink slips notwithstanding, there is another type of layoff that is also part of the ebb and flow of big business in the modern era: The small layoff, the letting go of an individual or a small group within a larger department, not for performance issues but because the company has decided to go in a different direction. And it’s within this type of thing that folks in Marcom and PR often get caught up, yet nobody talks about it.
Because absolutely no one knows better than the folks in Marcom and PR that when they are let go, their future employment depends on their utter and complete discretion, their ability to keep a stiff upper lip and move on, their willingness to embrace the pink slip, pack up their desks, surrender their employee badges, and head for the exit with grace and style. Or, if they are employed by an external PR agency, to do the same without even the benefits of a severance package.