Jobless in Silicon Valley – Part II

I’m amazed by the gold mine of insider tips and observations I’m receiving from folks laid off in the Valley who have joined the Pink Slip 2.0 project. Here’s another installment from Linda Kahn, laid off recently from an investment company.

What was a real sore spot for me, was, our Payroll department didn’t ‘label’ any of the checks that were automatically deposited. So, I received 3 checks, with NO idea which check was for WHAT area. One of them was supposed to be my ‘severance pay’ (for 8 months). But I received 3 checks, none for more than $5,000. Was there an error? To make matters worse, no one would phone back from my HR department. I wondered if they were laid-off (and were short staffed), or worse, told not to assist ‘transitioned’ employees.

Any of this ring a bell? I’d love to hear and share your own first-hand experiences in negotiating your way through a layoff.


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  • Jen

    I was laid off from Yahoo! while on maternity leave. My advice to anyone who is in similar circumstances: if you are elegible for a delayed severance (as I was at Yahoo!, severance didn’t start until Feb 13) be sure to ask HR to immediately remove you from maternity leave status so you can receive full pay until your severance kicks in. You generally won’t be asked to return to work since they don’t want laid off folks hanging around demotivating the survivors. It’s a great way to get some additional pay and earn additional vacay time (which you can then get paid out as part of severance) until severance starts. Had I not asked for this, I seriously doubt my HR dept reps would have done it on my behalf. And I shudder to think of the extra paychecks I would have missed out on….

  • Transitioned Employee

    One manager described the latest phrase for the process of getting laid off as “jettisoning a crew member [employee | team player] through the air lock.”

    Are YOU are about to get jettisoned through the air lock from your oxygen rich space ship [company], after getting lured into a conference room (one of the “air locks”) under false pretenses?

    Like Ford and Arthur on the movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” you must attempt to hide from the captain of your ship (CEO and his/her management henchmen) and hope for a happy albeit improbable ending! Suppose like Ford and Arthur you fail to “blend in” and become a “transition candidate” for repatriation into the cold depths of deep space? What if HR promptly jettisons you with a space suit and one oxygen tank or worse, just the clothing on your back? Upon getting ushered into a conference room for a “routine meeting” put on a warm sweater or jacket! After taking your seat at the conference room table, take a deep breath. Brace yourself for the deafening sound of rushing air and deadening silence of the vacuum.

    Don’t panic. Believe in miracles. In some highly improbable parallel universe, a favorable and quite remarkable outcome awaits a version of yourself.

    Knowing you only have 30 seconds left of air, you will instinctively try to find some way to save yourself as did Ford and Arthur. Moments before suffocation or embolism, a passing ship will pick you up. Like Arthur and Ford, you will not be ready for the adventures that will await you on discovering a once hidden corporate galaxy that is stranger than fiction.