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Published on December 5, 2012 By terpfan1980 In Politics

Argh!  Double Argh even.

I so want to say something, but I really can't, at least not to the parties that I'd like to say it to.

In this particular case, knowing some sensitive information leaves me so wanting to pass it along to some folks, and yet, well, I can't.  I'm sworn to secrecy and for business reasons, I really do need to keep things that way, but it doesn't mean that I don't want to and don't feel the need to tell someone else that they really might want to consider all of their options and possibly re-think some plans that they were talking to me about earlier today.

Here's the basics:

I'm aware of possible and probably likely personnel moves that may be necessitated due to the fiscal cliff negotiations and possible outcomes, and really probably likely because of business plans that will likely be put into effect even if the fiscal cliff is solved without too much damage to the economy in general.  Knowing of these possible moves, I'm holding information that could impact friends and co-workers which means that as those co-workers talk to me about their plans for the holidays (plans to take time off and use up their paid-time-off as an example) I have the fun of smiling and encouraging them to have a great time even as I want to tell them that they really should probably rethink those plans so they can save up some of their PTO so they'd have it available if they were to be laid off.

I really wish I could say something but since the information that I have is a rumor only, and the co-worker has not been told of this possible RIF (that I know of), I can't really say anything.

Were I able to just sit down and talk about politics and the economy in general, I suppose I could steer the conversation a little towards the idea that given the way things seem to be going with the fiscal cliff negotiations if I was a smart man I'd probably be hoarding up my PTO time since my employer pays for that time if an employee is terminated for some reason.  But, in this case, this is not the type of conversation that I'd normally have with the co-worker I'm most thinking of.  In general, it's not even something that I'd talk about with most people in my work team and yet I have talked about these things a bit with some co-workers because we've lamented the work load and burden that we know is on too few people currently.  Sadly, given the budget situation for the government in general, and the organization myself and my co-workers contract for, an educated guess can be had that there will be losses in the future and no one is really all that safe.

I do wish that the clowns in congress would get things figured out, but I don't think any of that will change the plans that seem to be getting made now.  In the end, I expect that I'll see some reductions that will wind up having some co-workers become victims of Reductions in Force (RIFs).  I hope for the best for those co-workers and do wish I could give them the word to become much more conservative in the use of their PTO time, though I also admit that hearing them speak of the need to enjoy some down time and mental R&R time over the holidays leaves me thinking they probably do need that time as well.


Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 05, 2012

Nobody is guaranteed their life will last more than this moment.  How tragic would it be for those coworkers you are worried about, to horde their vacation time because they have inside information they might be let go, and then they get killed in a car accident the day before Christmas?  Who is to say, if your coworkers become victims of RIFs, they might not find a better, more enjoyable job because they were forced out of the one they have now?  Have a little faith that the people you are worried about have steered their live successfully thus far -- a little adversity isn't going to change that, and regardless of what happens, "good times shared with family" are memories we make that carry us through the hard times.

on Dec 05, 2012

Personally, I always accumulate as much PTO as I can for just such a possibility. "Two weeks in lieu of notice" is just not enough...

on Dec 05, 2012

Watch your own back.  Sometimes they do not let all those being let go who is going.  A friend knew I was on the cut list (this was 23 years ago), but failed to realize he was as well (He did tell me as there was no way to trace the news back to him).

on Dec 05, 2012

If you have been entrusted with confidential and sensitive information, your employer is trusting you with that, so if you want to break his/her trust, you go right ahead. Me personally, I'd do my job as instructed, as should you.

on Dec 05, 2012

Even if you "want" to break their trust, you shouldn't. You could be all sorts of liable.

on Dec 05, 2012

LightStar
If you have been entrusted with confidential and sensitive information, your employer is trusting you with that, so if you want to break his/her trust, you go right ahead. Me personally, I'd do my job as instructed, as should you.

Exactly.

A few years ago it kinda dawned on the folks at Stardock to ask whether I'd signed an NDA .... considering I was on an IRC channel where 'all sorts of stuff' was mentioned.....

I hadn't [then] ....or at any time in the 7 or 8 years that I'd already been privvy to 'stuff'.

Not that it was ever going to be an issue....because I'm not an idiot.

on Dec 05, 2012

Either way, you have to live with yourself.  Hard choice.  Think about how you are going to feel after if you don't tell them and how you will feel if your boss fires you for telling.  Life doesn't have easy answers.  Should probably keep your mouth shut and say nothing, that's the smart choice.  Probably not the "right" one, but the smart one.

on Dec 05, 2012

LightStar
If you have been entrusted with confidential and sensitive information, your employer is trusting you with that, so if you want to break his/her trust, you go right ahead. Me personally, I'd do my job as instructed, as should you.

I concur. 

on Dec 05, 2012

Nevermind.

on Dec 05, 2012

I so want to say something, but I really can't

Sounds to me like you've come to understand the situation.

on Dec 05, 2012

I wonder what the chances are that one of your co-workers might be a member of the community here?  Did you just not consider that possibility? 

on Dec 06, 2012

In the interest of self preservation, especially in today's economy with just about everyone hanging on by a thread, I'd zip it! The lesser of two evils as it were.

on Dec 06, 2012

WebGizmos
Nevermind.

Well now I'm curious.... lol  Who would you be loyal to? 

on Dec 06, 2012

Philly0381 said:

I wonder what the chances are that one of your co-workers might be a member of the community here?  Did you just not consider that possibility?

 

I know the situation quite well and am sure that my co-workers are blissfully unaware of the contents of this site and my writings here, so when I speak here it is with a great degree of anonymity.

That said, some mis-understandings above remain to be cleared up:

Lightstar said:

If you have been entrusted with confidential and sensitive information, your employer is trusting you with that, so if you want to break his/her trust, you go right ahead. Me personally, I'd do my job as instructed, as should you.

... to which I can say that it is not my employers that have entrusted me with the sensitive information, and that is really all the more I can say there without betraying some confidences.

For the most part, my coming into possession of this information is from some educated guesses and then, well, discussion with persons in positions to know what is coming.  OK, that's a little more than I said just a paragraph ago, but that is all the farther I can take things.

The issue for me remains one of wanting to help make sure my co-worker(s) would be prepared for what could be coming while also completely understanding the position my employer is in.  My employer isn't in business as charity.  They have to get paid for the work that is done and if they aren't getting paid, they can't, in turn, pay the employees.  Even if the work levels don't go down, they are still left to do as much as they can for their customers with however many workers the customers can afford to pay them for.  If the customer's budgets are cut and yet their work loads remain, they'll have no choice but to ask fewer employers to do more as some employees must be let go in order to stay within the budgets.

I want to see the budgets brought back into reality but at the same time the losses of these jobs affect real people.  Some of those people are friends.  Some may be totally incompetent and probably should have been off looking for new jobs a long time but they were too lazy and too comfortable and didn't believe that they could ever be the one(s) that would lose their jobs.  Those people could be in for a very rude awakening.  On the other hand, some of these people are very good people, dedicated hard working souls that don't deserve to be kicked to the curb and yet they could find themselves out there fighting for open jobs with the dregs that should have been canned long ago.

I wish I didn't know the information that I know and I really wish I could be somewhat ignorant of the situation, but it just doesn't work that way.  I'm smart enough to see writing on the wall and put facts together to form educated guesses as to what is coming.  I've been through these cycles in the past and know how the game works.  I may not like it, but I know how it all works and in the end I have to sit back, keep my mouth shut, hope to get good work out of the co-workers and team members until their very last days and yet also have to be prepared for worst case scenarios where work won't be done, or worse yet, where things get sabotaged by someone that decides a scorched earth exit is their best approach.

 

One final quote to respond to here:

Dr. Guy said:

Watch your own back.  Sometimes they do not let all those being let go who is going.  A friend knew I was on the cut list (this was 23 years ago), but failed to realize he was as well (He did tell me as there was no way to trace the news back to him).

Already ahead of you there as I pretty much never assume anything.  I've worked at too many places and seen how things go too many times to ever assume that I'm safe and that it can't happen to me.  I lost a job that I really did enjoy because my supervisors were stupid about selling my services at any sort of discounted rates and yet they felt they were forced to let me go because I was not generating revenue and income for their department so I became a target when the belt tightening happened.  I had conversations with my supervisor where I acknowledged that we needed to get me back out on the road to generate more revenue and yet it didn't happen.  I should have jumped ship and moved to other areas that were opening up around us but I was too loyal to my team and I shouldn't have been.  Finding myself looking for work and taking about a month to find a new job after losing the old one hurt, but I was prepared to do what I had to take care of my family.

In my current case, I've heard assurances that I'm well thought of and should be safe, but I trust that about as far as I can, well, lets just say I don't really.  I know that I'm being told what someone thinks I want to hear, and being told what someone feels will motivate me to keep producing.  If I'm not producing and not generating revenue then I'd be gone in a second, and even if I am generating revenue, if I can be replaced at a lower cost, then I'm subject to being cast aside.

That is the way the game is played, and I do understand those rules.  I may not like 'em, but I understand 'em.

on Dec 06, 2012

terpfan1980
I wish I didn't know the information that I know and I really wish I could be somewhat ignorant of the situation,

That is exactly the position your coworkers are in....so why stress about them?

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