Xerox Closes Florida Call Center

Tuesday afternoon, at about 2:00p EST, a meeting was held for the customer service and supplies departments of the call center I work in. Each department had their own meeting, well segregated from the others. Supplies was down in the Atrium, full time Xerox employees were in a conference room down the hall, and the contract employees at the conference table. These meetings were being called to dispell rumors that had been flying around about the departments.

The rumors started off innocently enough. They were laying off a few people. They got progressively worse. Just as a few examples : Xerox was closing the building in 3 months, Xerox was getting rid of 50% of all employees in attempt to cut cost, the center was being closed that day and we would all be jobless by 6pm. Some people were genuinely afraid of what was going on, others were taking it all in sarcasm, cracking jokes and ready to accept the inevitable. Then there was the third catagory which I fit into, those that were doing both.

The meeting time rolled around and I was still on the phone with a customer. My boss, Amanda, came over to my cube and perched on the wall. I muted my phone (I was on hold anyway) and said, "We're all fired, aren't we?" I must say, Amanda looked a bit taken aback by my bluntness. I wasn't weepy, I wasn't accusatory, I was just being matter-of-factly. Amanda looked at me and said, "Why don't we go over to the meeting to get the rumors out of the way. But don't worry, we are going to take care of you."

As far as I was concerned, she answered my question right then. All I needed to know at that point was when. I got off the phone about a minute later and wandered over to the conference table. I stood next to a friend, J, who was taking the same sarcastic approach to this situation as I was. We waited for the last stragglers to the table, all the while, most people somberly murmuring to each other, some of us making jokes. J started writing info down and I leaned over. "Can I borrow your notes after the meeting?" J cracked up and I started laughing too. Amanda and her boss, Carmela, gave us a look that said, "You aren't taking this seriously enough," which we weren't.

Amanda started the meeting. Since I don't feel like trying to remember the speech, I'll give you the highlights :
  • Xerox is closing the Florida Welcome Center
  • Xerox made this decision due to finances, not work quality
  • The last day calls are being routed to us is Nov 27
  • Adecco is working to get us all into positions so we aren't out of work
  • Adecco has 7 offices dedicating a lot of time to finding jobs for us
  • Adecco is also going to make sure that the vacation pay bonuses that we would be getting were we still working here in December will be secure for us
  • Adecco is working for us, we are their primary concern
  • Xerox is lame
Ok, so I added that last one myself, it wasn't in the meeting. I can't remember if there were any other huge points made, so they must not have been very important. I do know that there were a couple people who were totally clueless up to this point. I actually felt really bad for those who either hadn't heard the rumors or totally dismissed them. I am not feeling too badly for us though.

I really feel bad for those of the Xerox employees who have worked here in some capacity for years. There are some I know who have worked here for 15+ years! Some of them are being given the option to move to Texas to work in the call center over there, but I am not sure how many people are exercising that option.

After the meetings were done, they allowed us all to go home. I guess they figured that there would be precious few who would want to go back on the phone after that announcement. A few of us hung out for a little bit talking about what was going to happen, hopeful job prospects, possible keeping in touch, etc.

Wednesday, the center was a morgue. Everyone was really quiet and there was a few absences more than usual. However today, everything seems almost normal. I might even have an interview tomorrow! That is one good thing, Adecco is really pulling no punches for us. They are really working hard to make sure we aren't left out in the cold after the center closes. I, for one, think that is really cool.

Well, wish me luck!