Inside A Layoff

AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT HOW ONE COMPANY HANDLES THE DELICATE TASK OF DOWNSIZING

The e-mail looked harmless enough. Be at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, 20 minutes from the office, in about an hour. Just another stupid meeting, no doubt. But by the time Dell IT specialist Chuck Peterson walked into a room filled with 75 of his co-workers and a few managers he had never seen before, he knew what was up. "None of them would look at us," he says. "They had their backs to us, or they were looking at their feet."

The bosses stuck to their script. The economy is bad. We can't afford to keep you. So we're not. Hand...

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