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A Questionnaire for Everything

A few odd things happened as part of the entire severance process (many years ago) that I lived through with Nortel, my former employer. This incident was the most macabre.

Given the nature of this post, I make the following opening comments:

  1. I post this primarily as humour because, in hindsight, it is funny.
  2. Nortel outsourced many of their HR duties, so an external firm did this incident.
  3. I have not altered the post. Remember it was written in August 2008. I still had a fair amount of venom about getting laid off in my system.

Questionnaires for Everything

Have you noticed that every time I interact with anyone via a phone or a computer, I am sent a questionnaire asking me to evaluate the person and how well they did their job? I sometimes find these questionnaires annoying, but I fill them in and am honest most of the time. I know that folks’ job ratings are connected to these questionnaires. However, in this case, I made an exception.

The Most Obtuse Questionnaire Ever

Monday morning, I received an e-mail from the HR department at Nortel (I was still in their employ until the end of September 2008). I had asked a few questions about returning equipment and essential dates, so I opened it. I was expecting to find responses to my queries.

It was morbidly amusing to see that this questionnaire asked me how I enjoyed my layoff. I am not entirely sure that is what the questionnaire was about but given the topic of the questionnaire is “Involuntary Employment Termination – Workforce Reduction,” I am assuming that is what the questionnaire was about.

I read the e-mail three times wondering, what in the name of Abraham Maslow would cause anyone to think that they should ask folks that have gone through a severance process “how it all went”? It was so bizarre. All I could think of was the scene in The Princess Bride where the six-fingered man is questioning Wesley on how he enjoyed his Machine of Pain in the Pit of Despair!

But Wait, There is More

After walking away from the e-mail for about 2 hours, I decided maybe I should fill it in to see what questions they might ask me. The e-mail had a “click here” on it, so I clicked, and nothing happened! I was not transported to a website, nor was I sent to the Pit of Despair. My cursor sat there.

Another 1/2 hour passed, and I sent an e-mail to the folks who sent me this correspondence about how their e-mail didn’t work. They replied a while later with another link apologizing for their mistake.

I looked at the questionnaire, filled it in dutifully, and pressed the “SUBMIT” button, which didn’t work. It gave me an error. The words that exploded from my mouth I will not print, as they were out of frustration.

I sent one final e-mail to my contact outlining the steps I had taken, and I finally was frustrated enough that I included the following question:

“Are you asking me how I enjoyed my layoff?”

BCM asking about Layoff Questionnaire

I never got a return e-mail or more instructions on completing the questionnaire.

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