[Author’s note: The following is a memo I plan to send our daughters in three years, when both of them will have graduated from college, informing them that they are now officially responsible for their own lives – and phone bills.]
FROM: Senior Executive Team
Congratulations to the junior members of Jones Family Enterprises [henceforth JFE] on your recent completion of your undergraduate studies. The Senior Executive Team is confident that your long-term economic forecast is bright. We wish we could say the same for your near-term economic outlook. This memo is to inform you of an important decision the executive committee has made regarding your status on the JFE org chart.
After a series of challenging years in which JFE has experienced steadily declining economic growth and spiraling costs, primarily in the area of our educational assistance program, the senior management has decided to implement some immediate cost-cutting measures in order to preserve the organization’s long-term cash reserves. This decision has forced us to make difficult personnel decisions to improve efficiencies and eliminate waste.
Effective immediately, JFE is announcing a 50% reduction in force. As a consequence, we are forced to terminate your roles as fully-funded dependents of this organization and re-classify your status as “non-essential employees.” We considered all other viable options before coming to this decision, including a recommendation by our firm’s Co-CEO, Ms. Jones, to eliminate my position on the executive steering committee. But that recommendation failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote required for passage by the two-person executive steering committee.
Please understand that this decision is not personal. It adheres to the terms of our labor contract policies, in which any layoff must apply to those staff members with the fewest years of service. That would be the two of you. After an in-depth review of financial forecasts, the executive committee has concluded that these steps were necessary to protect the solvency of JFE’s rapidly diminishing retirement pension plan.
As former dependents, several fully funded employee benefits you have been receiving are hereby terminated, including, but not limited to, the following: cell phone bills, auto insurance premiums, clothing allowance, use of the organization’s company cars, and our generous M & E (meals & entertainment) subsidy program during your summer and holiday visits to our headquarters facility near Seattle. After much debate, it was also decided that our organization’s very popular “kids fly home free” travel perk will be discontinued.
The management of JFE is aware that this staffing reduction may come as a disappointment to both of you. We can appreciate that this move could cause short-term economic volatility in your portfolio as you contemplate launching your own start-up ventures. We apologize in advance that our near-term cash flow projections do not permit us to provide you with seed capital as angel investors. Those funds have been previously earmarked for a three-week Caribbean fact-finding study aboard the Norwegian Oasis of the Seas.
We would like to formally acknowledge your many valuable contributions to the growth and success of our family organization over these past 22 years. If you would like the organization to return any of your 357 crayon drawings of rainbows and butterflies or your fourth grade research project, How Baby Kitties Get Borned, just inform us of the address to which you would like us to ship these items. We will be happy to include in our shipment the 27 boxes of shoes, makeup, and hair care products you left in your former sleeping quarters here at the home office. Please let us know if you’d like us to include in this shipment the box of condoms you hid under your mattress.
As former dependents, you will immediately be able to take advantage of JFE’s attractive severance package. We will provide up to five hours of financial planning counseling which will include the following services at no cost to you:
- The ins and outs of balancing a checkbook
- Calculating how much you’ll need to earn to afford a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Manhattan
- Learning how to budget – using cost estimates based on reality and not an episode of The Bachelor
- The secrets to writing an employment cover letter using complete words, punctuation, and no emoticons
Our generous severance package also includes an 8 x 10 framed photo of the organization’s founding partners. We will also include a copy of the handy young adult’s survival guide, Twenty-One and Downsized – How to survive on your own now that your free ride is over. Helpful chapters include:
- When your parents say “No, I absolutely will NOT pay for that”, what do they mean?
- Making your own bed – a five-step overview
- Busting the myth that money grows on trees
- Food or Italian designer shoes? – Making the right choice
- Ten reasons why your parents won’t pay for grad school
- Five warning signs your roommate is stealing your food
- Wardrobe makeover: How to switch from shopping at Hollister to Target without your friends finding out
We wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Drop us a note with your contact information once you have found gainful employment.
By the way, we anticipate that you may wish to inquire about our “post-college live at home” internship program. You are welcome to apply for this residency program by visiting our website www.NoFreeLunch.com, completing the application form and sending in the non-refundable $250 processing fee. A member of our senior staff will get back to you with our decision in approximately six to eight months.
We invite you to email any questions you have about this reduction in force to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call us anytime (during normal human waking hours) using your own pre-paid cell phone plan.
Co-Chief Executive Officer
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2014