Layoffs: On the other side of the fence

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - As the economy continues to slide more and more jobs are eliminated to cut costs. Though, it is not all about numbers, for every job loss someone has to be the bearer of the bad news.

There has been five rounds of layoffs at Lufkin Industries this year. Paul Perez said it's not easy. "These are the people that live in the same town I do, there are the men and women that I've come to know," said Paul Perez, Lufkin Industries Vice President.

Those are the same men and women he has to let go. Psychologist Sid Epperson said trimming staff is tougher in a smaller community. "The smaller the community, the closer the knit the families and employees tend to be and the longer somebody's been there," said Sid Epperson, Ph.D. and licensed psychologist.

Perez said the layoffs linger in his mind. "Everyday, there isn't a time that we don't think about it," said Perez. "These aren't just employees they have families here in Lufkin and they have commitments and that's why it becomes very, very difficult to make these kind of decisions although they are business decisions they do have personal impact to them."

Epperson said it is a dreaded conversation for both sides. "When you have to sit down with the person across the desk and say I'm sorry we have to let you go it's not only a business decision, it's a friendship issue," said Epperson.

No matter how many times you have to utter the words, "you're let go" Epperson said it does not get any easier. "Unless the person has become really hard and that's something they enjoy doing, most people have a tough time with that," said Epperson.

Like millions of other Americans, Perez said he is ready to say this: "We look forward to more prosperous times when we can bring them back."

Perez said he is optimistic about the country's economic outlook. He is not sure when the will be able to rehire, but he hopes it is soon.