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:
- I post this primarily as humour because, in hindsight, it is pretty funny
- Nortel outsourced many of their HR duties, so an external firm did this whole incident.
- I have not altered the post. Remember it was written in August 2008. I still had a fair amount of venom in my system about getting laid off.
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 pretty honest most of the time. I know that folks’ job ratings are somewhat 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 important dates about things, 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 decided to send 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 filling in the questionnaire.
Nortel related articles
- On Being Laid Off (a 10 year retrospective) what had I learned the 10 years after getting laid off.
- A Year Ago, written a year after that day I was laid off luckily I was waiting to start a new job
- Sometimes it’s better to be lucky a retrospective about how lucky I was to get laid off when I did. Read on to find out why.
- Pensions and Severance an important topic I took from my layoff from Nortel.
- Twenty Years in One Line is what my severance letter did. My 20 years are summed up in a sentence.
- Financial Issues With Severance what do you do with your severance if you have options? If you get severance as well.
- On Being Laid Off my explanation of being laid off from Nortel, a day or two afterwards.
- Nortel Still Paying Out? Really, well not that much.