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We recently had a steel cage death match and came up with a list of names for a layoff, only to have the layoff postponed another quarter.  It was obviously stressful and challenging.  During the match, I disagreed with my boss on my teammates to be let go, but didn't fight too hard since I'm still new (6 mo.) and don't have enough "data" upon which to base a strong case in support or against my boss' opinion.

Just learned that the next meeting (it's a conference call) to discuss a layoff has been scheduled during my vacation (it wasn't malicious, we have them every 2 weeks, it just happens to fall during that time).  I will be out of the country and generally like to disengage on my vacations, so I typically would not call in.

Do I make an exception for this and take the wrath of my family (and me) for disrupting the vacation? 

Do I prewire like crazy and make my opinions clear so that my colleagues are helping support my case during the call? 

Do I work closely with my boss and try to come to a resolution before I leave and risk changes being made at the last minute?

jhack's picture

Prewire like crazy, and attend the call.  This isn't just another meeting.  

You owe it to your team and your organization to step away from your vacation for a few hours and be on the call.  Nothing you prewire will hold when the gloves come off.  

John Hack

peterddw's picture

These are tough times and I am sure your family is somewhat aware of this. I suggest that you take this meeting very seriously - prepare, prewire and certainly take the time to be in attendance. It is a small price to pay to exercise some degree of influence over your reports future and perhaps your own.

Peter

mauzenne's picture

 Can't help but chime in as well.  Attend the meeting.  Otherwise, the results are entirely unpredictable.

Ok, I'm wrong ... it is predictable.  It's guaranteed that you won't like the results.  ;-)

ashdenver's picture

If you attend the call, despite being on vacation, it speaks highly of your character, devotion to your team and commitment to the goals of the organization.  This could only serve to raise your esteem in the eyes of your colleagues and superiors.  If there are steel cage death matches ongoing for those under you, bet your bottom dollar and a case of sunscreen that there are steel cage death matches discussing you and your peers.  While no single incident is supposed to be used as a determining factor during these discussions and evaluations, adding yet another "wow, he's dedicated!" to your list of Pro's can't hurt.

If my family was likely to balk at a disruption on vacation for something like this, I'd start right now (if not yesterday) setting the stage for them.  "This call is going to happen. I'm going to do whatever it takes to attend this call. I want to go to the mat for my people and I would hope you'd expect my own boss to do the same for me so that I don't get laid off."  (If I absolutely had to, I might resort to bribery -- the promise of an extra treat or something to make up for the disruption, with the caveat that there be no complaining before, during or after the call.)

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MsSunshine's picture

Listen to the Career Tools talk on disagreeing with your boss. 

http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/10/disagreeing-with-your-boss-part-1

My experience has been NOT to disagree with my boss in public on this one.  If I can't convince my boss ahead of this meeting to keep someone, I'd wonder about the wisdom of keeping up the argument.  The first time you did this, you'd get forgiveness because you didn't know you disagreed with your boss.   If you keep trying and disagreeing with your boss, that could be carrying it further than your boss may tolerate.

I actually had a colleague who kept fighting for a direct report and got slammed by his boss's boss in his next review and almost lost his job.  The comment was that he was not a team player and cared more about losses to friends/directs than the good of the company in the eyes of his boss.  So, I'd REALLY think about how badly I wanted this person to stay!

 

thaGUma's picture

All been said above. Lay-offs are special. Calling in at times like this is a pre-requisite. You are showing you're committed and professional. Most importantly - you are showing respect to those who will be impacted.

Chris

tberge's picture

Thank you very much for the feedback and confirming what I imagined was the right thing to do, and had even started discussing with my spouse.  It's the right thing to do - this is my team and I need to represent them.

My disagreement with my boss did occur offline and I kept my comments professional.  She had informed me of her choice during a meeting and I asked for clarification, at which point she suggested we talk off line.  Perhaps I should not have even asked, but I was caught off guard, having heard it for the first time in the meeting.  Our disagreement is this:  she wants to keep someone who is perceived as loyal (this direct has been challenging to me, but the reason is perceived to be loyalty to her old firm pre-merger) but has fewer qualifications and talent than the person I wanted to keep.  I was concerned about winning more work (we're in consulting) and the ability of this other person to serve on several different types of assignments.  Of the two, I have a better personal relationship with the "talented" one, but then it's the relationship with the firm that is paramount, not the relationship with me.  I'm not sure I got that before reading everyone's comments.

I will attend, I will prewire. I will discuss with my boss beforehand.