Everyone in Temp Town has a firing story. Some they've heard, some they were a part of -- every Temp Town project ends with everybody getting fired, so there are a gazillion stories. Usually, you get an email, "Project's over." Sometimes you get a phone call, same thing. Sometimes you get an announcement on Wednesday that the project will be done on Friday, sometimes you get that announcement on Friday.
There used to be a project manager at one of the agencies I frequently work for who would walk into the review room, and clap his hands together before he started talking. This became known as the "Clap of Doom," because when he came in and clapped his hands, he was about to announce that the project was over as of the end of the day. I still joke about it with him, even though he now is in sales and no longer delivers the Clap of Doom.
Sometimes, you get the Pizza of Doom. If you are on a project where food is never provided, and suddenly the firm or the agency has pizza brought in, you know that the project is over. Today, tomorrow, whatever. The Pizza of Doom never lies.
But tonight, I think I was witness to the most cruel and heartless firing I've ever been a party to. Most projects start with a number of people, add some and then cut a bunch, keeping just a few for the final stages of work. This project has been no different. We added people twice. Yesterday, more than half got let go, but were rolled over to another project at the same firm. No blood, no foul. Tonight was different.
Right before quitting time, almost 8 pm, the firm legal assistant providing us with adult supervision -- yes, it is odd that on Temp Town projects barred attorneys aren't allowed to work without a paralegal supervising, but that's the way it is -- came in and called out three names. Only one of the three was actually there. I don't know if the other two had already left, or simply didn't come in because it was Saturday and they had a million better things to do. The one person who was there answered, and was told to check in her batch of documents before she left, done or not.
Ho. Ly. Shit. Only one reason for that announcement -- you're done. The fact that this was done in front of everyone, by a paralegal, adds insult to injury. Bad enough to get cut. Much worse to get cut in front of everyone. We won't even try to delve into getting cut by a guy who can do his job with a high school diploma while you job requires a law degree and bar membership. Seriously, everyone at any law firm is higher in the pecking order than any temp working for that firm.
I think it goes without saying that the woman who was there for this indignity was highly torqued. Not that it helped her.