How NOT to Lay People Off

Boy, do I remember this one.

One of the companies I worked for before cartooning full-time was doing some reorganization.  The endless rounds of layoffs had everyone jumpy.

After one round, management must have noticed, so we had a meeting in the break room where, after more explanations of the company’s health and a well rehearsed sigh we heard “you know, it’s never easy letting good employees go.” And then, to his fellow management in the back, “what a day, guys! Who wants to grab some drinks after work?”

Tah-dah! A cartoon is born.

(By the way, scribbling furiously on a notepad immediately after a quote like that apparently gets you let go in the next round of layoffs. Just a heads up.)

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,

11 Reactions
  1. Ha ha ha! Mark, your last two lines had me howling! 🙂

  2. I guess it all worked out OK. That’s when I decided to really get serious about cartooning. But I hate giving them any credit!

  3. Nice cartoon, I like cartoon especially doraemon

  4. Hey Mark – boy, you have the best timing. OMG this cracks me up (well, kind of)…

    You see – this was literally me 3 weeks ago – ATc ‘let me go’ after having to ‘re-interview’ for my job (since they were combining 2 positions into 1) and decided to give my job to someone with 6 MONTHS experience over my 6 YEARS – hmmmm, doesnt really take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

    I came THIS CLOSE to telling Eric why I was not surprised with this decision – but somehow stopped myself. They gave me a lovely box as a parting gift, so I could pack up all my crap while my wonderful ex-boss escorted me to my car.

    It was a wonderful day…. Anyway – I’ll stop being such a smart ass…

    Keep the jokes coming!!! I know I’m not in this boat alone, with the economy the way it is.

    Hope all is well with you and the family.

  5. Not the exact words but that’s what been said to me when I got fired.(for the second time hehe)

  6. Too funny. It’s crappy that management can become immune to the emotions involced in firing after they have done so many. Glad to hear things worked out well for you afterward though.

  7. It is their loss… It is time to see the importance of the exchange of values between employers and employees.

  8. This reminds me of a movie with Paul Newman. He was a sheriff talking to a suspect. It went something like: “We’ll give you a fair trial.” Then he turned to one of his men and said “Somebody bring me a rope.”

  9. I might be able to top your lines (but never your artwork). I used to work in big business and our company was bought out by a bigger company. The new CEO showed up a couple of days after the take over. When asked in an employee meeting what the impact would be in terms of staffing, he responded: “Well, of course, we’ll keep the good people.” Then he walked away. The implication was that all the people let go (and more than 30% were initially terminated) were not good enough. I left, voluntarily, before the lay-offs got to my department. Some people are not fit to be in leadership positions, unfortunately they are.

  10. LoL! Just on timing Mark.

  11. When business gets slow (for whatever reason) and my company revenue sags, all my wife has to say is: “well, you could always just go out and get a J-O-B…” And i somehow, magically, pull my head out and find new revenue. Mark, this reminds me of how unemployable i really am.

    To top it off, i’ve taught my five year old son to remind friends and family who come to visit that “we don’t lollygag around here…” So he’s frequently reminding me — “no lollygagging, Daddy…”

    Good thing neither of them can lay me off. 🙂