If you’re employed somewhere you’ve probably seen the memo: the stilted and awkward announcement that one of your co-workers is about to become one of your former co-workers, thanks to the right-sizing of the organization. It’s almost as if bosses get special training in how to transmogrify what should be a simple and direct conveyance of a bit of office news into a hideous and/or hilarious trip to Freaktown.
A couple of years ago Chicago newsman Steve Daley, who died on Sunday at 62, authored the essential takeoff of the genre. Read the whole thing at the Columbia Journalism Review.
John came to us (four years ago; in 1981; last month) from (the Bugle; the London School of Economics; a think tank in Phoenix). He arrived here with a reputation as (a sociopath; a member of the team of twenty-seven reporters that won a 1991 Polk award for the Bugle series on alternate street parking; a friend of the former executive editor).
John’s contributions to this paper have not gone without notice. He’s a (deft writer; diligent copy editor; pain in the neck), a man who is passionate about (the First Amendment; gerunds; the Bass Ale at Costello’s Taproom) and a newsroom leader who has (become obsessed with Google maps; not generated a single sexual harassment complaint; inspired legions of young reporters to consider teaching American Studies out at the junior college).
So it is with (mixed emotions; ill-disguised glee; a disturbing sense that I have now written about seventy-five of these tortured memos) that we bid farewell to our colleague. Moving forward, it is possible the number of voluntary buyout applications may be limited by (pure malice; Sarbanes-Oxley; the guy in the Crocs on 7). Only then will we know if the Involuntary Severance Program (“Opportunity 2009”) will be extended.