Friday, June 17, 2011

Layoffs coming at RIM

Last night I went out for a bridal shower dinner at Sole. I had a wonderful time eating way too much, reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a while, and meeting and getting to know people who are new to our circle. We talked about the usual things: kids, travel, movies, gardening, and life in general. We also talked about the layoff and earnings announcement that RIM had made earlier that day.

Even though I no longer work at RIM, I've been following their product launch reviews and investment analyst downgrades and it's clear that things are not going well. The last few products they've launched have not done as well as expected and the company hasn't been as innovative as they needed to be to compete. It appears that RIM rested on its laurels and is now playing a game of catch-up instead of leading new product innovations. It's going to be difficult for them to turn this slide around.

Logically, it makes sense for the company to lay people off and to streamline operations. Emotionally, those layoffs are going to affect so many people - including everyone at last night's dinner because they either work there themselves or their partner does. While I'm relieved that I didn't go back to work and that I'm not going through this process, I'm worried and scared for my friends. They're worried, too. No one knows how many people will go or how those people will be chosen.

I remember working at Levi Strauss & Co (Canada) when they laid people off at head office and shut the plants down. It was a hard, hard time. Between the layoff announcement and finding out who was being laid off, everyone was worried, tempers were short, and rumours abounded. Things didn't get better once we knew who was going, either: if you were staying, you felt guilty for staying and scared at the prospect of so much more work ahead; if you were going, your life was turning upside-down. Either way, we were all trapped in a situation full of change that was completely beyond our control. It's an extremely stressful situation.

I imagine that similar things are happening at RIM right now. I hope that my friends are able to take some time to enjoy themselves away from the company to balance out the increased stress at work. And I hope that RIM comes through this downturn stronger than ever.

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