dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Quiet Quitting Answers Loud Layoffs

October 5th, 2022 by dk

I have a friend back East who was recently laid off from her job. A new executive had been brought in to implement the dreaded euphemism, “corporate restructuring.” She could see the writing on the wall. The difficult decisions in that case may even have been overdue. But what often comes next is what concerns me most.

We know our economy is slowing. We’re told that’s mostly a good thing. It’s painful nevertheless. Just a few days ago, local EV manufacturer Arcimoto announced it was immediately cutting its payroll 32 percent. More than 100 employees are being furloughed or their positions are permanently eliminated.

That means a few hundred neighbors are looking at life differently this week than last. That contains a mix of anger and fear, but also sometimes relief and curiosity. “I wonder what my next chapter will look like,” my friend mused. She’s one of the lucky ones.

Here’s how those decisions are often enacted in the workplace. This is what bosses should rethink and workers should no longer accept. Immediately after giving the news to a worker that their job has been “restructured” away, the boss has a final paycheck already prepared, including any severance and often the last two weeks of salary.

When the worker returns to their station or office, a security guard is there to meet them with a cardboard box. They are told to surrender their employee badge. Assistance is provided to “restructure” their workspace until all personal affects have landed in the box. They are then escorted out the door. Remaining workers try to avoid eye contact.

I once worked for an employer who was even less humane than that. My co-worker had a meeting with the big boss at 9:30 that morning, but was not told why. He tried to check his company email for any news but was unable to log in. Some of us knew what that meant. We watched for the cardboard box to arrive shortly thereafter.

Layoffs may become more common very soon, so I hope everyone can see how this termination procedure looks to those who have not (yet) been called into the boss’s office. It’s demoralizing and demeaning — unnecessarily so. No wonder “quiet quitting” looks attractive to some.

Business owners and managers often liken their company or department to a family. They work to create an atmosphere where relationships can thrive. But when the time comes to subtract from the system, everything becomes ruthlessly transactional. Quiet quitting answers loud layoffs.

Certainly there are instances where somebody is fired for good cause where these procedures are appropriate. Terminations that are respectful and appropriately painful for everyone involved show strength and health instead of only power and policy. Forcing restructured ex-colleagues out the door in a perp-walk does nothing for the morale of those who remain.

Even if they have been paid for their final two weeks, an abrupt physical severance creates unnecessary trauma. Terminated employees deserve time and space to exchange well wishes with former colleagues. They may need to do some restructuring of their own.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Wednesday and Sunday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.