Calling A Spade A Spade

flickr: yeowatzup

Look, nobody likes saying “Someone who yesterday had a job at our company does not have that job today. He will now no longer receive a regular paycheck from us which he used to provide for his family.” That’s why we have euphemisms.

Laid off. Downsized. Rightsized. Made redundant. Part of a reduction in force.

But do companies go too far sometimes? Matt Kinsman at Folio: argues they do. “A publisher downplaying people losing their jobs is going to alienate the remaining work [sic] bees engaged in the daily grind of trying to help that publisher crawl out of the hole.”

When Folio: editor Jason Fell asked Advanstar about reports of 80 layoffs, CEO Joe Loggia replied:

You can’t really categorize things as layoffs when they’re more of a shift in strategy. [While there were layoffs] you have to remember that it’s in context that we’ve had some geographic shifts in strategy and a shift in strategy in regard to our product portfolio.

Laid-off employees flocked angrily to the article. “I feel so much better knowing that I am part of Joe Loggia’s strategy! Glad I could help,” posted one ex-employee. Another wrote: “A ‘shift in strategy’ would’ve involved communicating with your employees in advance rather than just dropping this bomb on us a week ago with no warning.”

Possibly worse than this is when Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore called a restructuring in which 600 staffers were laid off “a home run.” But what do you think?

Publish date: October 2, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT