So I had to "let someone go" a few weeks ago. It ammounted to me letting their vendor company know that their contract was going to expire on a certain date. I felt like I sort of cheated the system a little bit, because I didn't actually haveto do the entire "can I see you in my office?" bit, with the long hard talk about how their services were no longer needed. I just told the vendor company, and that was that. I felt relieved. :) I gave this guy a few weeks to ease his transition, find a new position, so on.
Enter today. This guy swung by my office about 30 minutes ago and asked if he could talk. Fortunately, I was a tad busy, and told him I'd come collect him in a few minutes (secretly hoping he had a work related question, and not seeking a question about why his employment was nearing it's end).
He swung by a few minutes later, and there was a lul in my work, so I invited him in. This guy is a diminuitive 4 foot 11 indian guy, maybe 90-100 pounds. When he got back from india a few weeks ago, he told me he had just secured enrollment for his children into the most prestigous school in all his city. So, he nervously asks me "My vendor company has come to inform me that my contract is ending soon. May I come to know why, what the reasoning is behind the contract being removed?"
Pretty articulate, for him, actually- one of the reasons we decided to let him go, was that no one really understood him very well. I want to hire someone to really strengthen and bolster my team's abilities and help me achieve some of my goals for my team.
So after he asked the question, I had to explain. Well, the application you work on doesn't have enough hours of work to justify a full headcount. My other two vendors are currently working on in-flight high profile projects with a full workload. I made a mistake here, and I told him that there were also budgetary issues, too, which isn't true. I regret saying it, but I was sort of stammering to provide him with answers that didn't make him feel bad. I don't want to lie like that, and I will try not to do it again. Just sort of slipped out when I was thinking of how else to let him down easy :( One of the issues was his vendor company only told him a week ago, which is unfortunate, because I wanted him to have several weeks of time to look for new positions and get ready for the change. I apologized to him about that, and told him his vendor company was responsible for helping him find a new position and place him correctly, and that his resume is strong enough that he shouldn't have too much of a tough time finding new work. I sort of believe it, but I honestly can't recommend him to any team asking me for info on him. He's just not strong enough technically and personally, and I haveto be a good steward of Microsoft's money.
Business is hard sometimes. It's these sorts of decisions, where I need to do the right thing for the company and my team, that cause all sorts of "companies are evil" type crap talking. I'm not an evil person, and I'm doing my best to have a great build team that does great work. I'm sure situations like this all over the world cause people to get angry and hate companies and not understand intentions. Such is life, I guess. The anti-business rhetoric is extremely high right now, and I guess I'm part of that big business machine now.