ahead of schedule!

I lost my job on Tuesday. I've been saying that, or "I've been let go", because I wasn't fired, and calling it "laid off" makes it sound like it was organized or thought-out, which it wasn't, particularly. There's been no conversation about my performance, my behavior, or the technical direction of my project. Just after 1pm my boss (let's call him "Mike" just to be nice) said, "Can I see you alone in the conference room for a moment?". Because I am a clever and suspicious monkey, I looked over to where the office/HR manager (Janey) sits: she's not in her chair, even though she always works through lunch and is incredibly busy. As he enters the conference room, Mike offers a sheepish smile to someone in the room who I can't see, so when I walk in and Janey's there, I grin and say "Doh!" and we're off to the races.

(Any time you're in a room with HR and your boss, you've got a major problem. You could be getting put on a Performance Improvement Plan [PIP], but there's usually plenty of warning for that, so the only option for me was that I would be newly unemployed.)

Mike said (my project was the dispatcher):

"The dispatcher has been taking a long time, and I've sort of lost faith in its ability to get us to where we need to be, so I've decided to cancel it, and with it your position."
Now, without context, this might seem reasonable. Except: Mike and I had a brief chat after Janey left. I was smiling and pleasant and really genuinely curious about what was going on.
"So, this seems sort of...sudden. It seems like sometime in the past six months we could have had some conversations about this."

"I know, and I've been thinking recently, and realized I'd like to move us in a different direction."

"Huh. Towards what?"

"Something a little more...database-driven, I think."

[the dispatcher is about 50% database-driven, and could be 100% with about 45 minutes of work.]

"Database-driven in what way?"

"Well...I'm not sure yet."


Here's what I think may have happened:

  1. Mike isn't actually a very good manager/director. Among other things, his employees often get into disputes, and he refuses to engage with the technical issues in such a way that drives the disputes to resolution.

  2. Another executive, Arlene, a friend of Mike's, was having one-on-ones with some employees to see how things were going. She asked about the role Mike took, and one of my co-workers described it to her, and how he felt Mike was falling short of what might be expected from his position.

  3. Arlene is very blunt and forceful, and I think she yelled at Mike for being a bad manager.

  4. Mike looked around for what made him feel least secure: that would be me (to the extent I've declined to whitewash what has been a remarkable management failure), and my long, scary, hard-to-understand project.

  5. Perhaps misjudging decisiveness for competence (ironic since he despises George W. Bush, who raised bold idiocy to an art form), Mike decided the road to success required my absence.

Anyway, that's my story. More tomorrow on how it actually affects my life, but suffice to say I'm fine both emotionally and financially, and I'm running errands and spending time with friends while I pause for some deep breaths and make a plan.