Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

There may be reductions in headcount

Some people like to use the passive voice to obscure who, exactly, is doing the action. Others simply leave out a verb entirely and just go with a noun (and a copula).

Googleblog just had an entry in which they announce that they've officially acquired DoubleClick, and in which they say: As with most mergers, there may be reductions in headcount.

I wondered why they didn't just come right out and say something along the lines of "As with most mergers, we may have to let some people go", possibly followed by a brief explanation somewhere along the lines of "because we'd otherwise have two or more people doing pretty much the same thing", or whatever the explanation is.

It seems to me to match their sort-of friendly style -- and to be much better than the "there may be reductions in headcount" which sounds really cold to me. Analytic, even, as if they never think of employees but just faceless "headcount units" which are completely replaceable and exchangeable. Just numbers on a balance sheet.

Would it really have hurt so much to say "we may have to let some people go"? They needn't even use the word "fire" or employ phrases like "boot their lazy asses onto the street". But it seems to me to have been an opportunity to talk about people that they missed.

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