People Who Fire People Are People Too

Ad Age probably realizes that only the still-employed get the copy of Ad Age that’s being routed in the office, so they’re trying to feel the pain of management:

Already beset with worries over flagging income and burdensome expenses, those in the top roles face the unenviable task of letting staff go. And while the holidays may be a time of forgiveness and harmony, this year there will be little empathy for the person who just laid off hundreds or even thousands of employees.
“I’ve been involved in many, many layoffs and no one has ever asked me what it’s like to be on the other side,” said John Sullivan, professor of management at San Francisco State University and a human resources consultant. “It’s 10 times worse to do it than to have it done to you. … Surviving is not the best thing to happen after a layoff. There’s plenty of actual research that shows their lives are miserable.”

Yeah, right. Just exactly what qualifications do you need to be a “human resources consultant”?
The article did get one thing right: I have little empathy for these people. They have their duties in life and I have mine.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Somebody ought to fire Sullivan for being an idiot—and just for the fun of it. Been on both sides of it, and receiving a pink slip is far worse than giving. Can’t think of a single person who honestly feels otherwise. Not one.

  2. It is better to give than to receive.

  3. I write this as a former agency wage slave, high enough up the food chain at some agencies to have been the one who fired some people.
    I hated it. Thought it was awful. Resented those who ordered me to fire some people because they were too chicken to do it themselves. Or because their choices of whom to fire weren’t mine.
    I’ve also been fired. If you haven’t been both, trust me on this: getting fired is worse. You’re the one who goes home to a wife and kids and says, “We have to cancel the vacation.” You’re the one who lives in panic that the mortgage, or the credit card payments, —or worst of all your kid’s tuition—will go unpaid because you don’t have a job. And past a certain age you may never get one again.
    Not to mention that you may be the one whose boss tries to justify having tossed you out the door by denigrating your work. (“I don’t care how many awards he won. He’s a hack.”) Or, “He used to be good, but now he’s a hack.” Or (as one former Exec CD who herself might have been slipping said to my face) “I don’t care how many awards you won this year. We can afford to coddle superstars around here.”
    Anyway, it’s easy for Sullivan to say what he said. He’s not in advertising any more. And don’t college professors like Sullivan get bulletproof tenure?
    Say, let’s campaign to eliminate tenure at San Francisco State and then see what Sullivan has to say about it.
    Crankily yours,
    The New York Crank