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.
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.