disappeared

Someone in my group got disappeared today. It’s one of those corporate moments that just freaks ‘ya out, you know? Friday you’re talkin’ to a guy about a project you’re working on, monday he’s mysteriously out of work and your boss is saying you might need to handle that. And then they start with the […]

Someone in my group got disappeared today.

It’s one of those corporate moments that just freaks ‘ya out, you know? Friday you’re talkin’ to a guy about a project you’re working on, monday he’s mysteriously out of work and your boss is saying you might need to handle that.

And then they start with the euphemisms about won’t be here. No one uses the word fired.

And no one seems to know why. The ones who know don’t say; they can’t.

And we all look over our shoulders, and then at the train headed our way, carrying a shitload of work that someone else was doing; work no one else knows how to do.

That train has my name on it.

Maybe a bullet’s a better metaphor; because it’s that jumpy feeling you get, like there are cross-hairs trained on your back. You don’t know when it’s coming, but you know sooner or later it will.


EDIT:

Well, the coworker in question didn’t get disappeared; there’s still the romulan cloaking device over what exactly happened, but evidently he was asked to leave, though evidently he expected it, and it wasn’t over anything beyond work performance. He was at work today clearing out his office and answering questions while waiting for his goodbye check. Fortunately he’s a good guy and was willing to spend a lot of hours doing a brain dump for those of us who have to clean up after.

However, what this all means for me (because it’s all about me, and don’t you fucking forget it) is that all the shit he’s been doing but not documenting for nearly two decades is now mine and all the schedules that he’s months behind on, also, are now my slipped deadlines.

The light at the end of the tunnel? C’mon say it with me – is a train. And it’s pickin’ up speed.

8 thoughts on “disappeared”

  1. remember that guy at Cisco in the old building that got dissapeared? Sat in the cubes that were through the access door from the cafeteria. Used to walk by him to get from my cube to my lab all the time. curly haired guy; nice enough. Had a Maxwell Parrish poster up in his cube, and liked martial arts.

    Yeah.

    I got the story eventually. Turns out he was a child molester, and he went Away for a Very Long Time.

    At Seagate I got hired at the same time as another network architect. He was supposed to be my manager. He worked about three weeks, and then was Gone.

    To a rehab program for cocaine, turns out.

    Point being, it’s not always about work. There are lots of reasons folks get disappeared. Try not to get twitchy. 🙂

  2. In my experience in the inside of management, no one gets “disappeared” unless something really serious happened, that caused a significant personnel, theft, or security or other risk problem, or who hadn’t had multiple dangerous review warnings. A company is afraid of litigation for unjust firing, so the situation really needs to be extreme for that to happen.

    If it’s a layoff, they talk to other employees after the fact, to keep them from being worrried. If it’s a “disappearing,” they can not talk because they are legally NOT allowed to tell people what the person was doing or involved in, even if it was really bad. If they talk outside of HR, they can be sued should it get back to the person.

    It’s frustrating, because the fired person can tell their story however they want, whether or not it’s true, and management can’t publicly refute it for fear of retribution.

    I bet if you talk to people on his team, though, they probably have some ideas of what was going wrong. If they don’t, then whatever it was was REALLY bad.

    So I wouldn’t worry too much. Disappearances like that are isolated incidents, not patterns. Employers know what a shakeup that is to morale. They don’t do it unless it’s critical.

  3. Yeah, Jen, I remember. But then he was all over the newspapers.

    Syl, I’m not *worried*, but there’s no way to not get a little jumpy when the guy across the hall from you goes away suddenly. It’s not like he was a top performer; but this was sudden enough that it’s unusual. I’ve been in corporations large and small for like 20 years and you get to know which firings have an odd feel to them.

  4. True. It’s natural–everyone feels shaky after one of those, because you don’t get a *reason.* But I was saying just what Jen said with more specific examples. Disappearances are rarely about performance. They’re about something really extreme.

    And that’s what’s frustrating as a manager–you have the amunition to reassure everyone, because if they knew the real reason, they wouldn’t feel jumpy at all, unlike how it is with layoffs, where you have no real ability to provide confident reassurance. But you’re *not allowed* to tell them. It sucks. But if it’s one of those things where no one’s talking at all, something well beyond mere performance quality is going on.

  5. Yay for life in the corporate world. That would disturb anyone though, in any industry. Luckily last time I had a job where people would just stop showing up and the boss wouldn’t explain why, I knew it was because the boss was a horrible bitch and the people who disappeared had too much self esteem to put up with her. But that was small biz. /shrug

    Speaking of corporatism and books (since you just posted about one), have you read “Jennifer Government”? You really should, it’s like if “Transmetropolitan” was more realistic.

  6. Hon, I know it’s all about you. You are, after all, the Center of Your Own Universe. But over here, here in the Center of My Own Universe that’s currently intersecting with yours, I couldn’t help but notice…
    all the shit he’s been doing but not documenting for nearly two decades
    You will, you know, document, right? And I’d really kinda make it known that you may want to, well… Expect renumeration. You know?

  7. “what this all means for me (because it’s all about me, and don’t you fucking forget it)”

    Well of course it is, sweetheart. And, working in what would appear to be a similar industrial setting as you, as i think i may do (as in, i think it’s the same, i know i work here), i totally feel your pain. I just wish i knew a way to ease it.

    *grabs Karl by the hand just in time to pull him out of the way of the speeding train*

  8. I’m seeing some sneaky shit at work where a low performer is being transfered to another shift where they know he won’t hack it.

    It’s not said out loud, but you just know the guy is going to get disappeared.

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