• Clarke Wallace


There is no worse feeling than being called into the head of human resources. He waved you into a chair, the only one in his office other than the one he sits on. He shuffles the pages on his desk that seem blank to me.

This is a serious, reputable business magazine, he said, “and unfortunately you don’t have the background needed for our publication. You too often inject touches of humor…” He stopped shuffling his papers and looked up at me for the first time. He shrugged.

This is a devastating moment. I felt empty inside. Crushed as I hear him mumble. “You’ll find another…something.” He had the decency not to add, “clear out your desk.”

I should've seen it coming. A few hours later I was guzzling down beer in the Montreal Press Club. Mid-morning with few around. I fought hard not to feel sorry for myself.

A reporter came over and sat down beside me. "Word’s going around you’ve been canned." He paused. "Lucky for you there’s a rewrite desk sitting empty over at Weekend Magazine. I’ve put in a good word for you.”

This happened some years ago. Yet life could hardly be worse at the moment, what with the worldwide pandemic marching into its second year. It seems there have been waves of layoffs everywhere during this economic downturn.


Even those with jobs are asked to work from home. It can be nothing short of disastrous to have someone phone there saying you’ve been laid off

According to Nita Chhinzer, associate professor at the University of Guelph, “We continue to see more layoffs of those at home, alone.”

Layoffs are inevitable in these circumstances, she was quoted in the Toronto Star. In the age of remote work, she says, by conference or video, you can still get a message saying you're no longer needed a . Their excuse, if you get one at all, is sorry, we need to make cuts quickly. Goodbye.

Author’s comment: Why can’t companies use a little compassion when laying off workers? If they're sorry, say so. With most layoffs, they’ll have to come up with severance packages. The complications go on and on…

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