Microsoft laid off 18,000 people yesterday, and the memo that went out with the news is so laden with corporate-speak and happy-talk about someone else’s future stock portfolio that it makes you want to wither and crawl away. Kevin Roose at New York magazine takes a look.
Typically, when you’re a top executive at a major corporation that is laying off more than 10 percent of your workforce, you say a few things to the newly jobless. Like “sorry.” Or “thank you for your many years of service.” Or even “we hate doing this, but it’s necessary to help the company survive.”
What you don’t do is bury the news of the layoffs in the 11th paragraph of a long, rambling corporate strategy memo.
And yet, this was Microsoft honcho Stephen Elop’s preferred method for announcing to his employees today that 12,500 of them were being laid off. (18,000 are being laid off companywide; Elop, the former head of Nokia, oversees the company’s devices unit, which was hardest hit by the layoffs.)
How bad was Elop’s job-axing memo? Really, really bad. It’s so bad that I can’t even really convey its badness. I just have to show you.
Here’s how it starts:
Hello there? Hello there? Out of all the possible “you’re losing your job” greetings, you chose the one that sounds like the start to a bad OKCupid message? “Hello there” isn’t how you announce layoffs; it’s what you say right before you ask, “What’s a girl like you doing on a site like this? ” It’s the fedora of greetings.
Read the whole thing, and then go out and buy a Macbook.