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  • December 13, 2017, 07:03:33 PM

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Author Topic: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff  (Read 6314 times)

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Momof2Pekes

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For years now (and I do mean literal years), my friend has been complaining that if she doesn’t get her numbers up at work, they were going to let her go.

Well, a layoff came and she was let go about 10 months ago.

Now she is telling everyone that she was let go because of her age and her medical insurance costs.

I’m sure we all tell ourselves what we can to make things more palatable, but I know what she was saying (about the numbers) so what she’s saying now doesn’t jibe.

So when she mentions the layoff and complains that it was due to her age and her medical costs, repeatedly, it is really hard to remain silent.

Do I continue to keep biting my tongue, or do I say, “I recall you saying that if you didn’t get your numbers up….?”  I know it’s a tricky subject. But it was 10 months ago! She keeps discussing it (believe me, I don’t bring it up myself).

Also, the thing is, I work for the same company that she was let go from. I have an understanding of how things work here. She was a part of a layoff, and I doubt it was due to her age and her medical issues. I receive a monthly list of terminations (due to my job responsibility) and she’s just one from that month that was let go.

Any ideas on how to courteously address this would be appreciated; you guys are always awesome and help me when I’m too close to a situation to see clearly!

Mustard

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 10:04:46 AM »
I'm not sure I would address it all; I don't think you will change her mind.  Sounds like a classic bean dip moment...

ladyknight1

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 10:06:24 AM »
Change the subject, or disengage. I know far too many people who do this, create alternate explanations when something bad happens to them, but I try to avoid them or disengage from that topic.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

Zizi-K

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 10:06:50 AM »
I think no good can come of your challenging her version of events. She is complaining to you as a friend, not as a representative of the company. I think your job here is to lend a sympathetic ear. Obviously I would not encourage her to go on about it. Given that almost a year has elapsed, I might ask her questions about her new job (or new job prospects, etc.). I would gently encourage her to move on, not to revise her understanding of her layoffs.

miranova

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 10:36:54 AM »
I can totally see how this would be annoying.  However, I have to agree with the others that you aren't going to change her mind.  Her brain is doing mental gymnastics to justify the layoff in a way that protects her ego.  Facts are no match for that, especially if she doesn't ask for them.  I agree with trying to move the subject toward her new prospects.

TeamBhakta

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 10:43:16 AM »
There are times to use "I told you so", "Why didn't you do xzy then" and "You need a reality check." This is probably not the time for those phrases, even gently used. I would hold off until she's securely in another job. Then if she starts in with "Company X fires the aged & the infirm", you can correct her. 

GreenBird

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 12:41:23 PM »
I think maybe you need to set aside the urge to correct her about the company, and approach this as a situation where she's gotten stuck on a single negative topic that she can't give up, and you're tired of hearing about it.  So maybe you let her vent for 1 minute, then change the subject.  Or when she starts to vent, ask her how the job search is going or what steps she's taking to deal with the layoff.  Basically either try to move her off the subject, or if she won't go with the subject change, move her forward on the subject to action rather than just venting. 

If the layoff is all she can talk about, maybe there comes a point when you say, "You know, it's been 10 months and the layoff is still all you can talk about.  How are you doing?  Are you okay?"   If she honestly doesn't realize how much she still goes on about it, this may get her attention. 

Or you could try a more direct approach and say something like, "I know you're frustrated that you were laid off, and I wish that hadn't happened to you.  But I still work at the company and I really need to keep a good attitude at work, and it's getting hard to constantly hear you criticize them and keep my good attitude.  Could you maybe tone it down for me?  I'd really appreciate it."   If you think she's in a place where she would respond to a request to help you out, that may actually be your best bet. 

Cali.in.UK

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 12:53:00 PM »
I agree with others that its not worth correcting. She has her narrative and that is how she is choosing to remember it. I would only step in if you felt it could go legal or if her comments were hurting the reputation of your company.

I had a friend in my early twenties who had a GF who broke up with him and started dating someone he knew. For years would tell the story in a way where he was a victim and blindsided by his "GF cheating on him  with his best friend" and he used it as an excuse for being less than nice to a lot of girls he dated afterwards. I was always biting my tongue as well because I knew that the version he always told was not really the truth, he had been not that great of a BF (lots of cheating) and his GF eventually got fed up with it and broke up with him, and then months later started dating a guy that he was acquaintances with. I never corrected him but I would internally roll my eyes, or bite my tongue when he was again retelling his story of betrayal to yet another girl he was trying to win over. But he was at the point where he told his version of the story so often, I think he genuinely believed it.

Easter Hat

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 01:03:42 PM »
Bean dip. 

I have a friend who blames her sons problems due to his autism.  However, she's shopped him all over town to doctors and none of them agree with her autism diagnosis.  She continues to feel that her son is autistic and refers to him as such.

From what I can tell his main problem is that his parents don't follow through on discipline.  I know autism is a very special thing and no two situations are alike.  And I don't live with this kid 24/7 so who am I to judge.  But I know my friend situation well enough to feel that the autism label makes HER feel better about his shortcomings.  From time to time she speaks about "her situation" and I have to bit my tongue to not call her out somehow.

I bean dip.  Maybe someday I'll understand why she choose her path.

With you actually having a strong knowledge of your friends employment situation I totally get why you are annoyed.  And sick of hearing about it.  I like Greenbirds suggestion.

"You know, it's been 10 months and the layoff is still all you can talk about.  How are you doing?  Are you okay?"

oogyda

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 01:09:46 PM »
To me, being part of a lay off does not indicate that it's any fault of the employee.  Yes, she may have been first on the list because of her low numbers, but unless you were part of the process that decided who would be on that list, you do not know for what reason she was included on that list.  You may be right, but it's also possible there is some validity to her claim. 

It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

ladyknight1

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 02:45:34 PM »
My colleague who retired had second thoughts toward the end, and started making it sound like was being forced to retire, which was not true. It took her about six months to adjust back to the choice she made to retire.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

LadyL

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 02:50:00 PM »
To me, being part of a lay off does not indicate that it's any fault of the employee.  Yes, she may have been first on the list because of her low numbers, but unless you were part of the process that decided who would be on that list, you do not know for what reason she was included on that list.  You may be right, but it's also possible there is some validity to her claim.

What makes it sticky is that she's claiming they did something unfair or maybe even illegal, and the OP is still working for the company she's accusing of this. I know I'd bristle if someone was saying the place I work for was unethical in their practices, especially if I felt it was unfounded or that the person was trying to deflect responsibility for their work performance.

I have a friend at my current workplace but in a different department who has several valid and serious complaints about her boss. But part of how she dealt with it was to go on vacation for a few weeks and then just ghosted her job entirely for a week or two beyond that. I know this because her coworkers reached out to me worried about her dropping off the face of the earth. She eventually requested medical leave but I think she was out for a total of 3 months of the first 10 months on the job. She told me a few conflicting stories about her medical situation also. Basically although I believe she was treated badly,  the way she conducted herself in response maximized bridge burning and is why (IMO) her contract is not being renewed.  I would not recommend her professionally, even though I still like and care about her as a friend. But I would not bring these concerns to her, she's an adult and can make her own choices and interpret the situation however she wants if it helps her move on.

NFPwife

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 02:56:57 PM »
To me, being part of a lay off does not indicate that it's any fault of the employee.  Yes, she may have been first on the list because of her low numbers, but unless you were part of the process that decided who would be on that list, you do not know for what reason she was included on that list.  You may be right, but it's also possible there is some validity to her claim.

What makes it sticky is that she's claiming they did something unfair or maybe even illegal, and the OP is still working for the company she's accusing of this. I know I'd bristle if someone was saying the place I work for was unethical in their practices, especially if I felt it was unfounded or that the person was trying to deflect responsibility for their work performance.

I have a friend at my current workplace but in a different department who has several valid and serious complaints about her boss. But part of how she dealt with it was to go on vacation for a few weeks and then just ghosted her job entirely for a week or two beyond that. I know this because her coworkers reached out to me worried about her dropping off the face of the earth. She eventually requested medical leave but I think she was out for a total of 3 months of the first 10 months on the job. She told me a few conflicting stories about her medical situation also. Basically although I believe she was treated badly,  the way she conducted herself in response maximized bridge burning and is why (IMO) her contract is not being renewed.  I would not recommend her professionally, even though I still like and care about her as a friend. But I would not bring these concerns to her, she's an adult and can make her own choices and interpret the situation however she wants if it helps her move on.

The bolded is what stuck out to me. That friend is damaging the brand/ reputation of the company for which I work. That would make me so itchy to say something. And, I'd have to remind myself of two things - 1. I'm not the "brand police." I don't have to correct misinformation or manage brand reputation in the community. Besides most people who know friend heard the old version of her employment struggles so they are likely making their own judgments.

2. If I were to say something, anything, she might think that I'm pulling from confidential information I've acquired as part of my position and that could put me in a precarious situation. So...

I'd say nothing and bean dip if people were around. If it were just her and I, I might let her go on while I think about my grocery list, reorganize my closet in my head, plan my workouts, etc. All while making sympathetic noises of course. My thinking is that if I "hear" her she might start to exhaust herself on this line of talk and do it less with others. If I have evidence to the contrary, that her talking about it amps her up, I'd shut it down one to one too.

Momof2Pekes

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2017, 03:07:12 PM »
I appreciate all the responses! I think I may have to take GreenBird's script (say something direct) because anything I try to come up with on my own would just get preachy. Thank you GreenBird, because it 'is' affecting me.


LEMon

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Re: Friend (and former co_worker) Changes Tune About Her Layoff
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 06:31:50 PM »
Part of the challenge I see is that she is likely trying to make it the company's fault because if it is the company's fault, it isn't her fault. If you defend the company, she may hear you as saying it is her fault. So making it about how she is doing since she keeps bringing it up, and making it about how it impacts you to keep hearing how she is hurting is probably going to have the best results. I would go for the how she is doing with the how it impacts you as a very minor focus to start with.