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Meeting buyouts head-on

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, May 6, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Since the damn things have been or are becoming a reality for so many of us, I'm curious as to how folks here would perceive a buyout, based on the two typical approaches:

    1. Paper offers buyouts to all staffers who meet certain criteria (like 10 years of service or age 40 and above, or some combination thereof). Then it sorts through all the applications it receives and approves some, declines others. Result: Some folks who wanted to go are told they must stay. That's one frustration. Second frustration is, bosses now know who wanted to go and might act on it, dishing out lesser assignments or raises to the "disloyal."

    2. Paper picks-and-chooses the people it offers buyouts to, mostly following criteria but excluding some who might qualify from even applying. Now there's frustration in not being able to leave with a nice check, from an industry in trouble, while others -- just because of the role they're playing now -- get to go. Or because the bosses don't think much of their work relative to how "valuable" those weren't asked allegedly are. Then there are the staffers who get the offer but want to stay, and now risk angering the bosses by not vacating their jobs.

    I guess it boils down to, what's worse: Having to stay after you have asked to leave, or staying after you have been asked to leave?

    I guess a third choice could always be: Not being asked, not being eligible and having to stay to do the work of all the departed.

    And a fourth: Leaving and finding yourself SOL in job prospects.

    (uh oh, starting to sound like a poll possibility. not my intention.)
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Even when these are "offered" it is very frequently made clear to the people that they have little choice but to take it...
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think getting a better job and finding out that you qualify for a buyout just before you put in your two weeks' notice is my preference.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    There are, unfortunately, no really good options here.

    But the idea that anybody who volunteered to leave and really did want to go once a buyout offer was made would be prevented from doing so has always bothered the heck out of me.

    Who wants somebody around who doesn't want to be there? I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Nobody is indispensable.

    I'm not for a minute advocating that anyone/everyone at any particular job level, pay scale or age group pack up and go, or be forced to do so, either, just because of the rampant idea that there's always someone younger/cheaper. There is irreplaceable value in experience, wisdom, knowledge and contacts.

    But at the same time, if somebody wants to go, and has outwardly and officially indicated as much, I just don't get why any company would keep them around.
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    "If you agree to leave, we have a nice check for you. If you don't agree to leave — well, you're still leaving but we'll keep that check and run it through the shredder after security escorts you out the door."
  6. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Generally, they give you a much smaller check when you're pushed out, with no fringies of a buyout like six months of insurance or whatever. Or they just stick you in a crappy role, nightwork, with Mondays and Thursdays off, until you quit outright and save them money.
  7. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    If you are goign to step forward and apply for a buyout, know that it is the beginning of the end of your employment there.

    management definitely takes into account the fact someone applied for a buyout. It might not necessarily translate into assignments - depending on one's role - but don't ever expect a promotion.
  8. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    So it's pretty underhanded when a company solicits buyout applications, turns down some people and then holds it against them, when it started the whole ball rolling. No wonder some people just sit tight and wait for layoffs.
  9. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    a fifth option would be to be proactive. i'm not suggesting it's something to be taken lightly, but get off your ass and do something else with your life. go to grad school. get a degree. change careers into a career that needs workers.
  10. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    I think I'll wait and apply for the publisher's job when it opens up.
  11. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    buyouts are used to entice older, higher-salaried (and the equivalent higher benefits, pension commitments etc that pretty much doubles the compensation costs of an employee) to leave, whereas in a union shop, seniority prevents that.

    layoffs, as we know, trim younger, less expensive workers

    But yeah, when you see a younger person who is willing to leave, it's human nature to question their commitment to the place and to scratch them as future "leaders"
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    I'll take your quote marks around that last word as the equivalent of blue font. Because while I have had many bosses, countless managers and plenty of supervisors in the newspaper business, I have seen or worked for precious few leaders.

    I frankly don't think we all would be in the pickle we're in if the news industry had true leadership over the past 20 years, in the corporate suites and in the top editors' offices. Mostly, IMHO, it has had suits and sheep, with occasional blowhards in both groups.
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