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WotC Layoffs

You've probably heard about the latest round of Hasbro/WotC layoffs. The press release on Gaming Report lists the VP and manager they let go, but editors and designers were affected as well. They include some good friends and acquaintances, leaders in design and execution, and people who made me feel welcome when I first moved to Seattle. I hope they all find good work with better pay elsewhere.

If you don't recognize the names, click through to the Pen & Paper RPG database listings. I think you'll find these folks worked on some great stuff.

John Rateliff
Michelle Lyons
Tim Thomas (Web guru, uncredited)
Wendy Wallace
From the Press Release:
Peter Archer
Charles Ryan
Joe Hauck
Mike Elliott
Cornelius Lee

It's a damn dirty shame, is what it is.


( 18 sutras — Your wisdom )
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
i know it's about improving the balace sheet for the quarter, but the tradition of December layoffs is one of the ugliest business practices. it's so much worse in an industry where people genuinely love the work that they do. bastards. i'd say that WotC and Hasbro appear to be a poor fit, but it's not like this is the first time this has happened.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
As you might imagine, this caused quite the uproar among the staff here at Paizo. There were frantic phone calls for confirmation and a general state of disbelief as to who was affected. I personally know several of the people laid off, and it makes me sad to see them go. Worst, I don't have non-WotC emails for them to express my condolences. :\
Dec. 2nd, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
I've got non-WotC emails for Peter Archer, Charles Ryan, John Rateliff, and maybe one or two more. Let me know by email if you want them.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Poor John :/

(And everyone else, but John is the one I know off that list...)
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
It's very sad. It's also harder for friends who know someone personally affected. I feel for the whole lot of them. I hope they all land on their feet quickly.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
Most of them will, but it's a small industry, and some folks are pretty specialized. I worry.
Dec. 3rd, 2005 12:31 am (UTC)
Rich Baker is already making bets when John will be rehired. This is his third layoff after all.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. Everyone gets my huge sympathy. Empathy even, having been there myself in a pretty literal way. Damn.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
Just read grubbstreet and was durprised—and then not so surprised—to discover Mr. Archer among the fallen. My sympathy well just overflowed. F*ck.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, no! I've had another friend laid off in the past two days, as well. Hard times.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
I know Wendy actually volunteered for the lay-off. She'd been ready to leave for a while and this was the perfect opportunity.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC)
Well, that's a relief (?). I was angry to see her among the laid off because she was there in 1995 when I was trying to navigate the start-up atmosphere. She's such a good egg, I'm glad to hear she's ready to do something else.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC)
It's not really Christmas without a TSR/Wizards/Hasbro layoff. I still shudder to recall the horrible silence in the French Quarter when John came around with his annual hat full of candy canes, completely unaware that he was one of those who'd been laid off. He just hadn't gotten back to his desk to find Carol waiting for him yet.

The longer it's been, the more I miss the people from those companies, and the less I miss being a part of the corporation.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's the people part that hurts. The corporate bodies are too often driven by inhuman goals.
Dec. 3rd, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, they are driven by an all-too human goal: greed. A trimming, once in a while, may certainly be necessary when the economy is bad. But in such a case, you look for the real deadwood and get rid of it. This was not a winnowing. This is a case where termites got hold of the tree, and istead of getting rid of the termites and trimming off the dead bits, they took a chainsaw, cut off some live branches, did some severe damage to the trunk, and carved a big "FU" in the bark — and left the termites sitting pretty. And the deadwood still hangs there in the tree, pulling down the living branches and stressing the whole structure...

It forsee a Spring round, too, after a poor 1st quarter. Once gain, like in a gang street battle, though, the innocent will die, while the guilty live on to perform stupidities another day...
Dec. 5th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
Dammit! Of course it had to come eventually, after Hasbro, eh?
Dec. 6th, 2005 12:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, probably, but it's a small layoff compared to some in the past. I've seen the new offices, and they're still a big company.

Honestly, it smells like they're just looking to fire the more-experienced/older/better paid crowd and bring in a few more college hires at half the pay.
Dec. 8th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that always works....
( 18 sutras — Your wisdom )

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