Last year for Catalog Success Magazine, I wrote a scathing attack on downsizing after reading about Lillian Vernon letting go of 100 employees a mere five days before Christmas. And without any warning! And not just seasonal employees either!
Could there be a more despicable act?
Now with our economy on the brink, massive layoffs are being, uh, for lack of a better term, executed. Unemployment is at 6.5%, and experts and pundits alike are predicting that 1st quarter of 2009, will be even worse.
Therefore, I republish the article here because it’s point is even more valid today than last year. In fact, I know plenty of people who have just lost their jobs, and I find this to be a fitting tribute to those who fell (or more appropriately were pushed) onto their swords at the worst possible time of year.
Now, I’m not against making a profit, but as a direct marketer and direct marketing consultant, I always seek ways to reduce costs rather than cutting staff — a last resort to me — to meet profit goals. Was it really going to kill a multimillion-dollar enterprise’s profits to keep 100 employees, who probably busted their collective butts to help Vernon make its holiday sales numbers, just a few more weeks?
Somebody is waaay out of line here! I know today we live in a pressure-cooker environment, doing business at light speed. Holiday season in retail and mail order, from September on, is intense. But come on, give people a break here. Did Vernon’s management really need to do this?
Many people already find the holiday season stressful, while traditionally it’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year;” a paradox of the times we live in. The last thing someone needs is the ax to fall on them during that time.
My solution to holiday downsizings…
There should be some sort of moratorium on firings the last two months of the year. Let’s extend that out into the third week of January just to be safe. Add that to our list of best practices.
Rant over! Anybody think I could possibly be off base? Let me know.
Speak to you next week. Got comments? Post them below! In the mean time, here is another article I wrote on downsizing as the road more easily traveled,
Here is another called downsizing is for sissies
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.