Friday, June 01, 2007


“I hope your aim is good.”
Image Source: Elfwood Art

ALE announced that it would RiF 8,000 people world-wide (roughly 10% of its employee base). Naturally, that happened on a day when I was tasked to the point of immobility and could not keep up with the news (or very much else)—and on a day I had not drawn cards to warn me.

ALE once had a reputation as a great place to work. It took pride in that reputation and its culture of entrepreneurship. We all thought that we were working toward something bigger than ourselves. We all felt like we were doing important work that was bigger than ourselves.

Well, a few years ago ALE management killed that culture. Yesterday’s announcement is only another nail in that cultural coffin. Today ALE is just another big company.

This all comes immediately after my department went through a re-org, and several team members (roughly 10%...hummm) were told to find other work. Lets hope that means my department has already RiFed its requirement. Either way, lets focus on kindness and civility in trouble times. Contrary to popular belief, these are not diametrically opposed to being at the top of your game.

So later that same day (today), we had a meeting where Director Guy laid out the poop for us. The 10% number is real. They hope to accomplish “some portion” of it through natural attrition, but the people who have already left without being replaced do not count toward the 10% goal. The stock price is up, and morale is down. Imagine that!

It brings to mind the word decimate. While the term has come to mean to cause severe damage, decimation was originally a punishment heaped upon an unruly Roman legion. One in ten were summarily executed or crucified. The troops themselves had to choose which ones were to die.

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