Friday, October 19, 2007

How Not to Deliver Good News

SOMEWHERE IN THE PHANTOM CEO handbook, which manifests only to those with the keys to the executive brothel washroom, it ought to say something about not having the Human Resources director in the conference room after you've invited an entire department in to inform them of a couple of promotions. I guarantee you'll have a roomful of people thinking one or all of them are going to be laid off. This scene — played out today in my office — had me flashing back to last November's layoff meeting. I tensed mentally for the news, which fortunately didn't come, but between the HR person and the exec, they reeeeeeally needed to see the staging of this announcement through our eyes for a moment.

I'm certainly glad I don't have to look for work a second time this year, but, as always, I had a plan. If this had turned out to be a replay of last year's meeting, I'd finish out my time gracefully, accept whatever package (if any), sign up for unemployment and COBRA . . . and then book my ass a week in Las Vegas.

I had planned, well before the November layoff news, to take 2007 off in anticipation of a Strip-hotel stay in the grim bastinado session of a year that Decision 2008 will be. The layoff made such a delay mandatory, but I still hated to lose even the option of a last-minute long weekend in Sin City while digging around for a new source of buffet money. News of a second layoff would trigger my recessive "fuck it" gene as it relates to money, and I guarantee the trip would have been booked within an hour. Face it: I'd be just as unemployed while throwing chips across the felt at the Venetian as I would here, renovating my CareerBuilder profile and emailing my former-former coworkers to expect a new round of reference checks from future potential employers. Why not take a real vacation before descending into that madness again?

Fortunately, the chance to book the next Vegas trip still appears a calmer affair, to be done at greater leisure, albeit in a year where I'll only get 10 days off aside from company holidays. Assuming, of course, inept delivery of another departmental promotion doesn't cause me to enter a coma.

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