Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coping with transition

For those of you that don’t know my company announced a few weeks ago it was laying some people off. The goal was to lay off about 600 salaried people worldwide. We found out about the layoffs about 3 months ago. Luckily the Ogden facility was told our impact would be very limited which was nice, but no one could give us specific numbers. Yesterday was the day of layoffs and not surprisingly Ogden only lost one employee. By yesterday afternoon, work was finally back to normal, it was great.

K-C also has an employee assistance program, if you or family members are struggling, they will pay for you to go see a counselor etc. I guess it’s company policy to have an EAP person present at every facility when a lay off occurs. The EAP person at our plant happened to pick the conference room by my cube to set up shop for the day. Now normally that would be fine, but after lunch a few of my co workers stopped by to pick up treats Jen had left on my desk. We started talking about what we had heard from some other facilities and departments. One of them brought up the story about the French union workers that had wired their facility with explosives because they were angry about wages. The news story reported they had agreed to go into negotiations on Thursday and had removed the gas canisters but promised they would put them back in “15 minutes” if negotiations didn’t go the way they wanted. We had a pretty good laugh at the ridiculousness of wiring the facility with explosives in the first place but we thought it even worse that the facility would allow them to be put back. I guess this was the wrong day and place to be joking about something like that.

Mid conversation the EAP guy walked over to my cube and explained he couldn’t help but over hear our conversation. He reminded us that he was over in the conference room if we felt like we needed to talk. We just sat there in awkward silence until he walked away. I then pointed my finger at the one that had started the explosives conversation and jokingly told him that was obviously not an appropriate conversation to be having at work. The others walked away and the guilty party stayed for another treat. While we were still talking the EAP guy came back and handed us each an article, explaining he knew sometimes people didn’t want to talk about problems. The title of the article…Coping with Transition. I think the EAP guy should try and spend some more time around engineers before he comes back again. Maybe then he would realize the explosives conversation was a normal thing we had all been dying to get back to once we knew everything would be okay. He shouldn’t have been worried to hear that conversation, he should have walked away with a smile knowing we were all going to be just fine after yesterday.


  1. Wow. We have the EAP here too. And I love it, but we don't often have to curb what we say for fear we will have to talk about it in private. We talk about some weird stuff at our branch, and I would not be surprised if some of it made it way in to therapy, but not as a serious concern. Glad you skirted that one.

  2. Ha, apparently us health care workers don't get our own personal trauma counselors (probably cause they'd never get a break...). Even if they did come around they'd never get anything done because we'd be too busy making fun of each other (and, sadly, some of our patients) to be counseled.