Back in WFT #2: Motivating the Unmotivable, I mentioned how I had been handed the impossible assignment of making sure my undead colleagues — working for now, but have been notified of their pending layoff — continue to be fully committed and motivated to the project at hand. At least one reader mentioned in the comment section how he was surprised that being an undead was demotivating. Although I responded to that comment in length, I had no concrete evidence that they weren’t doing their jobs. Well, I did, sort of. I was aware of their job searching efforts. In fact, I quite encouraged it. I quite like my soon-to-be ex-colleagues and I do wish better futures for them, wherever they may land. Then there was that time when I ran into the lot of them at a restaurant during lunch. We’re all working from home nowadays so running into them at a random restaurant in this town of a million people is quite the coincidence. Obviously, they didn’t get together to talk about work. Yet, beyond this, they still showed up at meetings, responded to emails (albeit slower), and handed in their work.
So no, I didn’t have concrete evidence progress was much affected, despite me feeling otherwise. That was until this past week. Due to a software change, we were required to re-run some of our circuit simulations. I had asked two of my colleagues to please take care of this for their own respective circuits. One colleague responded positively. The other wrote this (I’m paraphrasing here):
Hey Flux, thanks for having confidence in me in asking me to run the simulation on Super Op-Amp. However, it seems FluxCorp no longer has the confidence that I can contribute to the company, so I think it’s best that this simulation be done by whoever is going to pick up the work when I’m gone.
There you go. Refusing to do work and taking a not-so-subtle swipe at the corporation simultaneously. Evidence now at hand. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if he had just replied to me personally, as my original e-mail was limited to just the two colleagues that needed to re-run their sims. However, he decided to CC a large group of people, including people in other departments and several managers. I remember him saying that he’s already past the first step of the grieving process of being laid off — denial — and had moved on to the next phase — anger. I think his anger is getting the best of his EQ. Burning bridges; sullying reputation. I’m afraid he might be more than just an undead at FluxCorp; he might already be dead to potential future employers if word spreads of his intransigence.
What The Flux is a semi-regular weekendish feature on EngineeringBlogs.org that follows the follies and jollies of an engineer in industry, yours truly.