I knew both only slightly; while they worked in my larger organization, our paths never crossed professionally. They were the people you nod at in the hall on your way to the cafeteria or bathroom, the people whose first names you know but not much else.
I feel for them both. While I wasn’t fired, I have been laid off and it’s a huge jolt of “now what?” In the same way and even though by all accounts they weren’t doing their jobs well at all, they’re still people who went home Monday evening and then learned they had an unexpected and unpaid vacation ahead of them.
My current employer doesn’t let the terminated employees pack up their offices. They’re notified after they get home that they’re not coming back the next day. Then the admins pack up those offices. I saw L doing that yesterday and asked her about it. She said over the years she’s packed a lot of offices. I told her that would be really hard to do but on the other hand, I guess it’s better that someone friendly does the packing up. I said I thought it had to be hard on her, too. She didn’t exactly agree outright but it sure looked like she teared up.
Sometimes in corporate America, we sanitize things with our phrases and clichés until there's no meaning left. But those soulless corporations are made up of human beings. Sometimes we do really well in that environment and sometimes, as was the case with my two former co-workers, we do not. But we're still people and those two had a really nasty shock this week. I feel for them, too.