Three years ago my division went through a staff reduction of 10% based on faulty forecasting. Most of the other departments affected lost non-exempt staff and were able to hire back replacements once it became clear that the forecast wasn't as dire as predicted. All except my department which lost two exempt employees...that were never replaced. Those lack of trained professional staff in those roles wasn't immediately felt (except by me as one of my best friends was caught in the cross-hairs) but as time went on it became clear that the strain of taking on more work was getting to people. We were constantly told that we were overstaffed and overhead, a drain on resources. We brought nothing to the company (unless you count keeping those in charge out of jail but that tends to be overlooked in day to day operations) and the survivors should feel lucky that we still had jobs. All in all, a nice atmosphere, full of happiness and light and unicorns shitting rainbows.
The year after the layoffs, we lost two more professional staff, one of whom was replaced by another non-exempt hire. So they could say that we were getting *some* headcount back but no leaders, no one to help shoulder the decision-making load. Soon the responsibility for the entire lab, three shifts worth of technicians fell to one person with me assisting in the afternoons. We continued on in this precarious shifting house of cards for sixteen months until our department head announced earlier this year that she was leaving. That left us with no manager, no lab manager, no chemist and one lab supervisor. A beacon of light shone in the darkness however, we hired a lab manager and we all started breathing again.
She quit after a week.
Two days ago, another professional member of our decimated staff was terminated, leaving us with four; two of whom have little direct interaction with the technicians. To say that we are stressed out and stretched beyond our breaking points is putting it extremely mildly.
It's like our very own business Hunger Games but in this contest, there are no sponsors or mentors. No silver parachutes of relief; no trumpets signaling a victor. Just a gaping void awaiting a single false step.