AOL employees are in the same boat with the rest of America when it comes to layoffs and downsizing. A full third of all AOL full-time employees, or about 2,300 workers, will be looking for new gigs by the end of the first quarter of 2010, after the large number of pink slips distributed this week.
Me? I'm just a humble blogger, an independent contractor whose duty it is to create content, and is paid by the piece. Working from home, I cost the company very little, so I just put my head down and write. But it's the full-time AOL employees who have been biting their nails for the past couple of months, wondering if their jobs were on the line.
In November it was announced that in order to save $300 million, major cuts would be made. In December, it's been reported that some employees, depending on their time and position with the company, were offered a buyout package rumored to be worth three to nine months pay and other benefits--if they left voluntarily. If they waited to be laid off involuntarily, their packages would be much smaller -- one to four months pay, and other benefits.
AOL employees were faced with a tough decision, and I ask you, what would you do, given the choice? Would you leave voluntarily, during this shaky job market, and receive more compensation to fund your job search? Or would you gamble that your position would be one of the two-thirds that would not be eliminated and stick it out, knowing that you risk substantial benefits if you bet wrong?
Some sources report that about 1,100 employees chose to accept the buyout package and leave, which left 1,200 positions to be cut. Just this week the axe fell on most of them, and announcements were made that several European offices will be closing.
When the dust settles, AOL will still employ about 4,700 people, with independent contractors like me contributing as well. Of necessity, AOL is becoming a leaner, cleaner machine since it spun off from Time Warner in December. Still, the economy is effecting us all.