June 7, 2013
One of the least appealing duties of any employer is breaking bad news to an employee, and the worst of this is, of course, the ‘we’ve had to let you go.’ In an attempt to avoid a costly employment tribunal claim, many organisations fall back on frankly horrible phrases like ‘downsizing’ and ‘rationalisation’. On one memorable occasion I heard a group of shell-shocked staff being assured that the company was planning to give them a ‘soft landing’ by bringing in careers counsellors to help them make the most of ‘fresh opportunities’. Personally, in these situations I think a little more honesty is preferable – but perhaps not with such blatant glee as Roger Sterling of Mad Men when he explains to Burt Peterson just how much pleasure he’s getting from firing him….again. Burt’s response contains some strong language.