Art Of The Layoff? No, More Like the Art of Sounding Like a Jerk

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Mar 8, 2016
This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.

Editor’s Note: As I wind down my stint as Editor of TLNT — I’m leaving in the next few months — I wanted to share some of my favorite TLNT posts. Here’s one from October 2011.

Anytime you see a story with a headline that reads “The Art of Layoffs,” you better prepare yourself for a lot of nonsense.

The Wall Street Journal this week used that headline on a interview with a guy named Howard McNally who “oversaw thousands of layoffs” in the early 2000s as Chief Operating Officer of AT&T during a time when “the company’s traditional landline business shrank and its wireless revenue grew.”

OK. I get that. The old phone landline business went through a huge upheaval as people rapidly moved to cell phones, and with rapid upheaval sometimes comes big layoffs as companies transform themselves to the new business realities.

I’ve been there, done that, get that completely.

What I don’t get is the notion that there is some kind of “art” to the process of mass layoffs. I also don’t get the “lesson” that Howard McNally says he learned from this process. Here’s how The Journal described it:

This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.