The bank UBS announced today it would cut 10,000 jobs in an effort to save $3.6 billion in the wake of the European financial crisis. And it began doing so in the coldest way possible: Many employees showed up to work today and found their security pass didn’t work.
About 100 traders showed up to work at the Swiss-based firm’s London office this morning to discover their access to the building had been shut off. They were directed to the reception desk, then up to HR. Efficient, yet brutal. One who made it in drily told the Financial Times, “I was glad to see that my pass was working this morning.” Stiff upper lip!
By 2015, 10,000 UBS jobs will be gone. A reporter for the London Evening Standard called it the city’s biggest loss to investment banking jobs since 5,000 were let go in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ collapse in 2008.
UBS isn’t the only business to let employees go in ruthlessly efficient manner. Restauranteur Peter Demos laid off more than 60 employees by sending them a text message last month. Yahoo’s board of directors fired CEO Carol Bartz by phone. Sarah Silverman has said she was fired from her writing gig with Saturday Night Live by fax.
But there’s something extra-specially humiliating about showing up to work thinking it’s a normal day and finding out that you’ve been fired with the flip of a switch. Couldn’t they at least program the security pass to deliver a sympathetic “Call me if you ever need a reference” message?