In Transition and Other Lies My Boss Told Me

Recently, employees at a company somewhere near you, maybe even your company, received a memo notifying them that several of their coworkers were "in transition." This is the new, trendy human resources palaver for "got whacked," designed to be sensitive to the delicate emotions of those who've survived to collect their wages for another day.

"Effective immediately, Elton in finance, Big Hair Jessica, and that poor bastard Phil from shipping and receiving with thirty-two children will be transitioning to new opportunities outside of Lawton and Groom Technologies, Inc. Lawton and Groom Technologies, Inc. will be reorganizing to a new management model designed to be more nimble to fit the needs of our clients. If you have any questions, please direct them to Abbey in human resources, who is also transitioning to new opportunities outside of Lawton and Groom, or mash your fingers against your phone until you've accidentally managed to dial an active extension."

It's times like these that illustrate the completely delusional nature of office culture. These people are not "transitioning;" the company has transitioned without them. They're not entertaining "new opportunities," they're more likely flailing in a mad dash to problem solve. And the company is not "reorganizing to a new management model," it's cutting costs because the economy isn't too friendly, or more likely, the decision-makers setting forth strategy made bad decisions about six months ago. But let's use gentle, nebulous words to pacify ourselves. It's better that way. We can almost, almost, pretend that the people in transition have freely chosen to participate. Or, maybe we pretend they're adjusting their gender identity, but that could just be me.

It forces the question, though: when did the office become a place where we're afraid of honesty and sincerity? Soon enough, it won't matter, because we'll all be in transition. And I don't know about you, but my name will be Lillian.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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