The original author of this photo-cartoon remains anonymous. I took it from a post on Daily Kos and added the following speech explaining Andre’s fate. The photo has since appeared on many websites. The second speech below is a totally unfair parody of one by the CEO of Beth-Israel Medical Center. I blame our staff for the biting tone of that parody. The staff member has been properly chastised. His only excuse is temporary loss of sanity from performing experiments on the nature of electricity.
Why We Just May Have to Lay Off Andre’
Hello everyone. Thanks for taking the time to get together today at an actual work site. How is everyone feeling in those work overalls? Thought it would be a nice change from the eleventh floor.
I’m not going to waste your time or mince words. The reason for getting together is to bring you up to speed on the company’s status. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as we all would have anticipated even 6 short days ago.
There are several issues.
First, our sales have slowed dramatically. As you know, we count on other businesses for approximately 60% of our sales. The toughest problem our excellent sales force faces is that no one has any idea what we are selling. Thanks to our strong brand and innovative distribution, we’re still able to carry on as if we actually have a purpose.
Second, we are seeing a serious slow-down in payments from customers. In fact, our average days outstanding – the average amount of time its taking to receive customer payment has increased by 50% just in the last 30 days. They write to us asking “What is this bill for?” or ” What exactly have you done for us?”. You can see how hard it is to conduct business in this climate.
So what does this mean?
It means that we cannot be complacent.
As CEO my first priority is to ensure that this company remains strong. By remaining strong, the best interests of shareholders, customers and employees are looked after.
Effective today, we are announcing a series of actions that will make our company leaner, more efficient, more effective and ready to take advantage of the significant opportunities that we see opening as weaker, less well prepared competitors stumble.
So I announce here that we are laying off Andre. We just have no choice. Times are hard. Someone has to take the pain. It is my decision that it should be Andre. Mostly because he was not present at the business strategy session. He did not contribute to writing the vision statement. Our overhead is just too high. We just cannot afford that in these difficult times.
Looking at these smiling people, you would never think that the topic of the day was possible layoffs, reduction of employee benefits, and other such matters. As promised in my message a couple of days ago, we held the first of a series of town meetings yesterday to explain our financial situation and to solicit ideas and suggestions from people as to how we might meet this year’s budget gap. Keep those ideas coming. This company is about you. If you were not behind me I would not not be able to lead you to a promising future.
Over 60 people joined in three quickly assembled sessions. And we will hold more next week, too. We will hold meeting after meeting until you are exhausted. You will have no energy left to protest or to look for other work. And then I would have accomplished my goal.
Then, in a couple of weeks, I will send out another message listing the ideas that seem to be practical, legal, and implementable — along with their budgetary impact — and conduct a rough survey of our staff to see which ones they favor. Then, by April 1, we will decide what we are going to do and the schedule for doing it. The date was chosen to reflect the seriousness with which I take this matter. I kid you not.
As expected, the response from the staff has been spectacular. People have a terrific sense of community and are quite willing to make sacrifices for the good of their fellow workers. (And, as you can see in the picture above, people are maintaining a good sense of humor, too.) I am just so thrilled that you are so eager to be led to slaughter. In fact some of you have offered up delicious parts of your anatomy to put on the daily special.
In this era of sometimes cynical and sometimes selfish behavior, I was heartened by the response of our folks. They are kind people who view themselves as a family and who are approaching our hospital’s financial problems with a true generosity of spirit. Here are some examples. First, from Brenda, an employee of thirtyfive years:
I have always been proud of my behind. I guess I have been a well-balanced gal in that area. Now that time for slaughter has come, may I interest you in my left cheek. No, not the one up here, this one. It is delicious Grade A meat, excellent for your Executive Dinner today. You can spice it up with some pepper corns and pour some marsala sauce on it and you have an excellent meal to satisfy any Chief’s appetite.
Now, that is the sort of spirit that has made this such a great company. For me and the other Chiefs. If any of you Chiefs want to take up Brenda on her offer, I have her name and address right here. There is more:
From Brian in finance:
First of all, I sincerely appreciate your honesty and openness. Thank you for that. It’s refreshing to see that in this day and age. In finance we are routinely called upon to exercise our creativity to keep this company afloat. We have gone beyond double-entry book keeping system to double sets of books for everything. The result has been a thirty-fold increase in value of your stock options. But now I want to do something personally for you. May I offer you my first born? You may use him as a pet or as food. It is the least I can do instead of the wonderful years of service I was not able to offer this company.
I am a new employee here, only being here three weeks. I wasn’t going to email you, but I felt that I just had to. Hey wait! I am not done speaking. where are you taking me?
From Lindsay, a middle manager:
I have been here for 10 years. I am a huge supporter of your leadership and your willingness to include all staff in your decision making. Our floor just had a staff meeting on Monday to discuss ways we could cut costs for our floor. We were all in agreement to find out if it was an option to eliminate 3% of our workforce. I don’t mean let them go. I mean we keep them. Chained to the desks and fed crystal meth so that they will do the work for the rest of us. Until they perish. There is an idea that we can make do with just 2% doing the work. Now that is the sort of creativity that you have unleashed with your town hall meeting. I love the free-flowing discussion.
Some of us are more erudite: Lochlan K., PhD. form R&D quotes Lewis Carrol, from the Walrus and the Carpenter:
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.
Comment from Paul L.
How dare you? I linked to you thinking that a little humor would be healthy in these difficult times. But for you to now insinuate that I am leading my employees to slaughter is just outrageous. There is a special place in hell for people like you!