It’s Right-Sizing, not Down-Sizing

Media Agency Carat recently decided to lay off some of its employees. PowerPoint and Word documents somehow leaked out detailing how management planned to inform employees and clients of the decision. They offer an example of corporate b.s. at its finest. Details include:

• The agency wasn't going to be down-sizing. Instead, the documents repeatedly described the moves as a "right-sizing" of the agency.

• Clients were to be informed of the "staffing change" with this script: "Mary Smith will be moving off your business. Now that we understand your business better, we are replacing her with someone whom we feel will be a better partner for you."

• The remaining "critical talent," who might understandably be "questioning if this is the right place for them to build their careers" were to be reassured with this script, "The actions we had to take, although unfortunate, were necessary to right-size the company and ... bring in the skill sets we need to effectively service our business and future client needs."

Full details at AdAge.

Business/Finance Literature/Language

Posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008


"Down-sizing" is, of course, itself a euphemism for layoffs, which is a euphemism for "firing a bunch of people."
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Sep 11, 2008  at  12:17 PM
Alex, please let us know if the website requires registration. It's mildly irritating. Great story, though.
Posted by Vitajex  on  Thu Sep 11, 2008  at  04:28 PM
This is the kind of thing that causes unstable now-former employees to come back to the office with a rifle.

That kind of psychosis is indefensible, but insulting people by telling them they've been "right-sized" is another insulting slap in the face when their source of income has just been taken away from them and they're terrified about their future.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Sep 11, 2008  at  06:40 PM


*makes note for his next spamrun*
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  on  Fri Sep 12, 2008  at  03:42 AM
I'm not sure how this qualifies as a hoax - or even unusual. Anybody who has built their career in corporate America has long since become use to this evolution of spin. It is like Carlin's explanation of going from "shell shock" to "post-traumatic stress disorder."
Posted by forthright  on  Fri Sep 12, 2008  at  06:42 AM
This is the same bs wording that the fortune 500 company I worked for used in the last 4 layoffs. I do not think they qualift as fortune 500 anymore...
Posted by Nat  on  Fri Sep 12, 2008  at  08:18 AM
Hmmm, and now I can see the article by following the link.

So, it's not you... it's them... 😊
Posted by Vitajex  on  Fri Sep 12, 2008  at  03:00 PM
Now that I read the memo, though, I don't wonder at all why this company is losing profits. There are SO MANY typos! I've never seen so many typos in one document before!
Posted by Vitajex  on  Fri Sep 12, 2008  at  03:03 PM
Hmm, I used "insulting" twice in the same sentence. Bad CMG! Bad!
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Sep 13, 2008  at  02:29 AM
There is a legal difference between a layoff and a firing, at least in the States. If laid off, you receive unemployment insurance (and can theoretically be called back if the business needs more people later, although that never happens to anyone). If fired for cause, you do not get unemployment compensation.
Posted by Carl Fink  on  Sat Sep 13, 2008  at  10:03 PM
The British Civil Service switched from using "down-sizing" to "other-sizing" in the early 1990s.
Posted by Robert N  on  Mon Sep 15, 2008  at  06:18 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.