New reality TV show about lay offs is in poor taste

Get real … New Fox show that has employees vote on which coworker to lay off a terrible idea

Whether you love them or hate them, most reality TV shows gives viewers a chance to escape from their own real world problems while they see life through the eyes of others.

A new reality show from the Fox network is about a topic that’s all-too real these days -- people losing their jobs.

In “Someone’s Gotta Go,” the cameras will roll as employees at real downsizing businesses decide which of the co-workers should be laid off.

The show will feature companies with 15 or 20 employees that need to cut costs because of the economy. Instead of the boss deciding who is fired, the Associated Press reports, the company will open its books to show everyone's salaries and let the employees make the call. The person who is “voted off” loses his or her job. According to the AP, Fox says the laid-off worker will get a small severance. But the network wouldn’t say whether the network or producers are compensating participants.

It’s a bad idea on so many levels that it’s hard to even know where to begin.

Let’s start with this one. It’s difficult to come up with a more tasteless premise for a TV show than the one behind this one -- the notion that someone losing his or her job is entertaining. To a certain extent, many reality shows owe some of their popularity to our secret desire to see others fail. But when America votes a wannabe-pop star off “American Idol,” or Donald Trump says “You’re fired,” to someone who wouldn’t have even been working for him if not for “The Apprentice,” it’s a lot different than someone losing his or her real-world livelihood.

It’s true that the employees who signed on for the show knew what they were getting into, as Fox officials have said in defending the premise for the series. But that makes it only marginally less offensive.

Tastelessness aside, the process for deciding who gets laid off trivializes the way companies make these tough decisions. The show essentially turns downsizing into a popularity contest. If I don’t like Joe because he makes more money than me, or if Jane has been rude to me, let’s get even by voting them into the unemployment line.

And what kind of company throws up its hands and lets its employees make tough decisions involving their peers? Should we put it up to a vote whether Don gets to go on vacation? Or have the other guys in Bill’s department decide whether he gets a raise?
Somebody’s gotta go, alright. But maybe it’s someone in programming at the Fox network.

On a more positive note, for those of you who have lost your job, career coach Mary Elizabeth Bradford has some tips on her Web site. Go to:
10 Things To Do If You Have Been Fired or Laid Off

--Todd Palmer

Diversified Industrial Staffing is a nationwide recruiting / staffing firm headquartered in Troy, Michigan. Our job is to match ideal candidates to open manufacturing, construction and logistics jobs. We find and place CNC machine programmers & operators, manual lathe & mill operators, welders, pipe fitters, general labor, skilled trades professionals, machine repair personnel, truck drivers, hi-lo drivers, carpenters, painters and drywall repair people in addition to other positions. Now serving the manufacturing, construction and logistics industries in and around:

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Comment by Maureen Sharib on April 13, 2009 at 2:14pm
"...our secret desire to see others fail..."
Where do you think this comes from in our psyches? Let's not deny that it exists...


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