Some time ago when I lived in Washington State a Sister in the Ward gave a talk
in Sacrament Meeting that when a man loses his job it is like he is being
crucified. His power to support his family is gone. I didn't give it too
much thought until it happened to me some time ago and it is true. Thankfully I
am back working. In this day and age it is always good to have a 2nd job
(income). You have to protect yourself. The financial train may slow down but at
least if the wheels are always greased then it still goes down the tracks.
Though I would not pretend to tell the Church what to do, it has become apparent
to me that most pepople will not know all the factors that go into a decision.
I do know several Church employees and I have found them highly qualified and
highly effective in their jobs. The ICS people I know, I would hire if I had
positions.After being subject to a lay-off after many years of
service, I started my own company. I even got some customers from previous
employments contacts. The company I had worked for closed and shortly
thereafter the economy changed and my business went downhill with it.The results in my case were the same, an old guy without a job and not many
prospects of anything much turning up. The key word is "old" and I soon
learned that "senior discounts" of only a few cents were important.
Combine a lay-off, economic changes, price increases in things like gas, and
being an "expert" in older technology makes for a dismal future. I hope
it works out for everyone involved in the lay-offs.
These lay-offs occurred because there were redundant operations in the two
departments involved. Great effort was made to place people in other positions
but some refused changes that they perceived were demotions or less prestigious.
It was a long process of interviews in the course of deciding who would be laid
off, not a case of last hired first to go. I have a close family member
involved in Church productions, but not in one of these two departments, who was
also concerned about their job.
Help those who may have been affected by reaching out to them, encouraging them,
and looking for new job opportunities which they may be interested in and
qualify for. The Church has a great Career Workshop which provides resume
assistance, opportunities to do mock interviews, and networking sessions at
local employment centers. I live in Phoenix and learned the Stake Employment
specialist has organized weekly networking meetings. The blessings of the Church
extend to those members in need by providing the ability to be self reliant, but
assisting in providing limited termporal assistance if necessary while the
worker goes through the transition. I know because I've been there.
The business side of the Church is wise, prudent, and fair... more than fair
probably. "Systematic management failure" - really??? And no, there
are not always alternatives to layoffs. Welcome to the real world. It's
not easy, so hang on and do the best you can. Even when one does all the right
things (...supposing here that the church has), someone is still likely going to
have an axe to grind. Opposition in all things, I guess. May
those adversely affected by this have God's blessings to help sustain them
through whatever trials they must face.
Are individuals complaining about Church lay-offs because of redundancy and
overlapping efforts the same ones complaining about Washington DC not cleaning
up the redundancies between government agencies? Do we want the Church to
continue paying wages and benefits for jobs that aren't needed?
@Gr8Dane,You asked why the Church didn't have a hiring freeze.
They DID have a hiring freeze, quite a long one, in fact. I know because I have
worked for BYU in the past and the freeze not only affected the main Church
organization jobs, but also all the colleges and universities belonging to the
Church. Of course, the freeze went into effect right at the same time as my
husband was laid off from his non-Church job. Even though I was seeking work,
not only the Church schools but also the State schools had similar freezes and
it took me 3 years to find work. Believe me, the Church doesn't just hire
because it would be "nice" to give someone work. They wait until there
is a legitimate need and they can afford it.
For what it's worth, even a church business--hey, even if it's LDS--is
still made up of...wait for it...real, live, and imperfect human beings. They
get just what every other well-meaning, caring, honest, and concerned
businessperson does, and that is, many hard-working, happy employees, which, no
doubt, they treat well. And they, too, are generous when decisions have to be
made that are not happily made. This is business, too, and just because these
are LDS businesspersons does not make them better, worse, luckier or less so
than any other caring and concerned person would be for his or her employees.
Those who are let go, no matter how careful they have been, may, depending on
how easily they may be able to fit into another placement, will still be jobless
at the moment, need to turn to some sort of assistance, no doubt, like it or
not, and their lives are not the same. While the LDS Church is not Scrooge by
any means, it can still do only so much as an employer. Don't expect more.
I heard from someone who works for the Church that a friend who just got laid
off is getting 6 months pay plus one week's pay for every year worked plus
one year medical coverage. Seems like fairly "Generous Severance."
O'really wrote:"There is a business aspect to the church-
to EVERY church for that matter. But the LDS church is not primarily a business.
It's a church. I'm pretty sure you recognize that."I'm pretty sure the "business aspect" is much more primary and
dominant that the faithful care to recognize.
Was their a final count? "Limited Layoffs" seems like a PR stunt
dutifully reported by their Deseret News. Did they send the employees
information on LDS Employment Centers? Did they encourage employees to sign up
for government services like unemployment? Did they give people vouchers for the
Bishop's Storehouse? Did they warn you about this possibility before the
Christmas holidays so people could conserve resources and stockpile cash for
this rainy day? So many questions I have that the article seemed to leave out.
Did they define "Generous Severance?"
Based on what my friends who have worked for the Church have told me, the people
laid off will probably do just fine. People don't work for the Church
because of the high pay (the joke I was told is that they automatically deduct
your tithing b/c the pay is so low) or because they can't get a job
somewhere else. Generally they want to do something important and different than
the rest of the world. These are skilled people who will have offers before they
spend the severance package. Good luck to them.
“a planned reduction in workforce” What does that mean? It means
they decided to lay some people off, then they did. Why use public
relations-speak instead of just telling it like it is?
Eagles 63 - the idea to explore new options during a time of unemployement is
right on. After our 3rd layoff my husband changed careers and although we make
a lot less money, he has greater job security and goes to work with a smile now.
@ ScientistThere is a business aspect to the church- to EVERY church
for that matter. But the LDS church is not primarily a business. It's a
church. I'm pretty sure you recognize that.
@J-TX"Anyone familiar with the new curriculum knew this was
coming."Yep, on my visit to SLC I stopped by the Distribution
Center and was greatly disappointed by the lack of material in general and
especially the NO MATERIAL for the Come Follow Me curriculum. It's all
on-line. I would not have predicted the lay-off but I am not surprised.
Lasvegaspam: Kudos and great respect go to the LDS Church for its wise
management of resources.Unfortunately, we don't have any means
of judging how wisely the LDS Church manages its resources, since the
institution has a non-transparent financial policy. The people who give funds to
church coffers and labour to church projects are not given access to financial
reports about how their contributions are used. To say that church funds are
managed wisely is a proclamation of faith; it is not based on hidden balance
It's ggod to see the LDS Church recognizing that the social contract needs
to be honored with their employees. The employment-at-will rule is "morally
bankrupt" according to many ethics and human resource management scholars.
Eagles63- Both you and my husband seem to know what many people choose to
ignore. Being self-employed guarantees that you never get handed a pink slip.
Losing one or two clients, here or there, is only motivation to gain new ones;
but you never completely lose your job. Both my husband and later my brother
decided to hang out their own shingles after experiencing lay-offs. Turned out
to be the BEST thing that ever happened to both of them!
re:Utes FanAgree 100%. The Church's reputation as a good
employer is going to take a nose dive over this no question. Why work for the
Church when they now have resorted to the layoff model seen at other hi-tech
companies? Might as well get higher pay and bonus's if you have to deal
with layoffs plus not have to dress up. The idea that Church will now hire to do
a new project and then fire after the project is completed is basically a
contract position. Might as well work for STG or other contract type company
where at least they set up interviews for you after your work is complete. If
the Church wants to retain and attract good engineers it is going to have to
PROVE is't old loyalty is still intact and this was a one time thing. I
doubt the Church will say anything because I do believe they will conduct more
layoffs going forward.
re:djcNo question age discrimination is real and the only ways I see
to at least to survive anymore is to make certain your skills are current AND
your debt is low if at all possible. Having all of our kids moved on now my wife
and I were enjoying our rather large home but then realized we really
didn't need all the room and would be much better off downsizing. It is
nice to have a large home so your kids can come home to roost if need be but
reality these days says otherwise. Our plans are to sale and cut our loan and
square footage in half. I suspect interest rates aren't going to remain low
for much longer the way Obama is driving our debt up so ...maybe a 2 year window
I have heard?
Imagine all of the people who are going to be "layed off" because of the
change in mission age. It is going to hurt a lot of people who work in higher
education in this state.
Been laid off two times and it is not pleasant. Neither employer offered a
decent severance package or any real assistance in getting a new job. It is
life changing. Did the resumee thing, but failed to get a job. Took a minimum
wage job to get by each time and moved up in the new company. The problem is
that each time this happens, you are in effect starting over. I'm now over
60 and trying for decent employment. Believe me, there is blatant age
discrimination out there. I have multiple college degrees and a good work
history. It is hard to even maintain reserves after a couple of layoffs. It
takes years to recover economically from each one and because you are now last
hired, you can be first let go in many places. I have a good work ethic and it
hurts to be unable to get a decent job. I feel for these folks and hope it
works out well for them.
I can tell you that current church employees are going to reevaluate their
church employment especially with the improving tech industry. You don't
work at the church for the meager raises or the fact that you have to dress
appropriately. You work at the Church because you enjoyed the projects and the
fact that the Church always avoided layoffs by not over hiring and running lean
as well as going out of their way to replace you somewhere else in the org if a
project did get cancelled. Those days are now in the past and the new business
model now seems to be more like many in the cut-throat tech industry. For
example the church now has cross the line with layoffs AND the church is going
to a contract to hire model where you get hired as a temp for 6 months and are
allowed to fight it out with the other temps and the last man standing gets the
job. Terrible stressful environment. I have always avoided the contract to hire
situations if at all possible. In any event I suspect there will more leaving
for better and more stable work soon.
No,Gr8Dane, what you're doing is quite the opposite of steadying the ark.
It's a free country, and you're free to criticise, but criticism
itself isn't the definition of "steadying the ark." That term
describes "correcting" individuals to keep them in line. Much like what
I'm doing here.
@MountanmanHayden, ID"I worked for an international corporation
that used to force rank their employee's performance and would lay off (let
go) the bottom 10% every year... Be efficient or die in the real world!"I worked for a division of GE, who did this. And they were a very
dysfunctional organization. In fact, the organization in GE who I worked for no
longer exists. I fully agree that workers must remain competitive, but the
"cutthroat" competitive performance expectations actually backfires. In
fact, there is strong evidence that Microsoft's inability to be competitive
in new technologies is related to their cutthroat employee performance
appraisals. Still, I am glad the LDS Church is trying to take care
of people. But, unfortunately, this will hurt their reputation as an employer. I
work in IT, and the Church doesn't have the best reputation as a good
employer in the first place. Especially since they just eliminated their pension
plan for new employees. I get contacted by recruiters frequently in behalf of
the LDS Church and I always politely decline. I love the Church, and wish I
could work there, but unfortunately I won't be able to.
@Gr8Dane"I just wonder why they didn't institute a
"hiring freeze" a couple of years ago, and then offer incentives for
people to retire early or leave, instead of just issuing layoffs to hundreds of
people."Correct me if wrong, but I heard from somebody who works
for the Church that they have been offering retiring incentives to some of their
more seasoned employees.
I would hope the church would treat their employees like they would want to be
treated, and as we're taught. I just wonder why they didn't institute
a "hiring freeze" a couple of years ago, and then offer incentives for
people to retire early or leave, instead of just issuing layoffs to hundreds of
people. Wouldn't that have been a more humane and "orderly" way to
do things? Or am I guilty of "steadying" the ark by even positing the
I can tell you the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes very
serious any decision that affects their employees. It must be an important issue
for them to do this. There is not a more efficient or caring employer in the
world. They are fair, comparable and honest and I know they will do everything
they can to make this bearable for the employees that are being laid off. They
wouldn't do it any other way.
I've been self-employed about 20 of my 26 years in the workplace. When
you're self-employed you are laid off all the time. There is no severance
package when the project ends. No safety net. It is all about working hard. You
have to learn to create and recreate your opportunities. Our society is losing
people like myself and progressing rapidly towards an entitlement society where
a job is taken for granted. I don't wish unemployment on anyone, but anyone
who is unemployed and able bodied should take advantage of exploring their
creative side during that period and see what you may find. I'm sure many
do and those that are successful at it often find out that the saying is true,
"necessity is the Mother of invention" and fulfillment I might had.
Anyone familiar with the new curriculum knew this was coming.
The fact that there are paid employees and so many business executives says
something in itself.
Seek to understand - we lived just as you described, debt free, actually had a
year's savings in the bank, had a very low house payment, no other debt, we
owned our 2 cars and had a two year supply of food. While we waited for the
right position to come along (as my husband sent out resume after resume, did
interview after interview, and worked his tail off for 8 months this last time)
he worked as a ski lift operator. We could take care of ourselves just fine. Nevertheless, when a man has been prepared to be a provider - in our
case 10 years of college and 3 good (useful) degrees at distinguished
universities - and takes seriously his god-given commandment to ,"multiply
and replenish the earth" and to "provide and protect", and then has
his ability to do so severed, it's not a cake walk for him even if he is
debt free. The family feels a lot less suffering when, with some belt
tightening, they can continue with the life they have known, but it is still
very hard on the father.
I worked for an international corporation that used to force rank their
employee's performance and would lay off (let go) the bottom 10% every
year. At first I thought it was heartless and cruel but then it dawned on me
that it was to protect the rest of our jobs. In a very competitive world, many
companies fail because they are not efficient enough and that is a threat to
every employee. Be efficient or die in the real world!
This is a common business decision.But let's not forget or deny
that this decision is being made by a business, and a big one at that, led by
Harvard MBAs and other business executives.
Having had experience as a Church employee and reduction in force, I can vouch
for two things: (1) The Church leadership takes very seriously the impact that
RIFs have on people; and (2) the leadership does offer very generous severance
packages to try to help those impacted get through the difficult transition
period. Unlike our US government, the Church lives within its means, so some
painful realities exist and difficult decisions have to be made. My sincere
sympathies to those whose lives are being deeply affected.
Not a huge fan of lay offs in any company. IMO, they should've been hired
temporarily or cutbacks could've been made gradually over the whole, rather
than at one fell swoop, so that they could be transferred to capacities
elsewhere in their overall corporation. I find this sort of thing a
lack of foresight by management, which I hold entirely responsible for things
like this. Managers typically get paid more because they are entrusted with
employees whose lives are dependent upon them making important decisions
regarding the resources available to the company. If the church wants this to be
purely corporate in nature, they need to face the prospects that this is a
systematic management failure. There are alternatives to lay offs. Lay offs
disrupt the whole company, destroy morale of the workers still there, increase
their workloads and are a sign of a lack of longterm vision... not to mention
the poor folks being laid off and the crippling effects of joblessness. Anyhow that's my opinion on the business end. This says nothing of
the religious aspects which I'm sure are entirely above board and
responsible and trustworthy.
I am personally involved in this process, as we in Europe are going through a
similar process. What I can tell you, as one who has been made redundant by a
different company in the past, is that the Church has done every possible thing
to ensure that the staff members concerned are being taken care of. I have
personally sat with a senior manager as he has agonised over what is best to do
for each individual. There has been dialogue at every stage for everyone
involved, and the Church has tried to find alternative employment for everyone
within other departments.I can tell "ROK," that the Church
has not operated "like any other business" in this. They have gone far
beyond what anyone should, and could, expect. I have seen this at first hand,
and can tell you that none of us that are personally involved feels anything but
good about the way it has been handled. Sorry if that doesn't fit with
some folks' opinions. It is merely the truth.
Wouldn't it be a really different situation if people generally lived debt
free (with the exception of their home until they can pay it off at the earliest
possible time), had at least 6 months of cash reserves, and paid 10% into their
long-term retirement plan and kept a year's supply of food (that is
edible!)? Then, when they are laid off (most people will need to
find new employment several times in their working lives), they don't have
to panic or be depressed or be distraught (at least for a few months!) while
they look for a new position. They can live on their savings (and hopefully
some severance) and even pick up a part-time low-paying job for cash and
something to do while they wait for the right position to come along. I have known people this disciplined and wise, and their experience being
unemployed is very different from others.
The traditional job is dead. People need to recognize that as technology
changes, the need for people diminishes or re-locates to areas closer to the
distribution points. What most encouraging is seeing how many major media
corporations are cutting back due to declining revenues. That's a sign
that information is becoming more democratized and less in the hands of the big
My husband has been laid off three times in his 20 year career as the
breadwinner of our family of 7 and it is devastating. He is generally an
optimistic and happy person, but not being able to provide for his family was
excruciating for him. I feel for those who will be seeking new
employment because of this change. I do not believe however that the church
owes these people a job as a previous person stated. I believe the church is
doing everything it can and likely more than the average employer.
I am impressed. Regardless of the fact that a company/church is growing,
certain positions can become obsolete and/or duplicated, and should be
eliminated. Unfortunately, we rarely see job elimination in our government,
which either is continuously hiring or in hiring-freeze mode. Kudos and great
respect go to the LDS Church for its wise management of resources.
The church should find other jobs for these people. The church can't
operate like a normal business.
I've been laid off and had a paltry severance package before. Reading that
the Church stated that they are going to work with those who are laid off and
give them a generous severance package is all anyone can ask for.
I am sure that the LDS church does know and it isn't something that they
want to do. There are way to many paid positions in the church which hopefully
can be replaced with service missionaries and volunteers. When I was working at
the MTC after my mission, I was teaching the Senior couples, there was a period
where there was no one to teach and I was going and doing nothing. I quit the
job, cause I did not feel right about having tithing money or whatever church
funds they came from, paying for me to sit idle.
You really do not know the devastation of taking someone's job away has on
a dedicated breadwinner and a family until you actually go through the motions
of trying to live through it. Pain beyond any description!