Question 1: What would you think if you received such a memo? How is Elop ignoring kairos in his memo? Reread the section earlier in the chapter in which kairos is discussed, and then decide with your group how Elop fails to take kairos into consideration in writing his memo. Report to the class.
If I had received this memo, I would have been astounded at the lack of respect shown towards myself and my colleagues. Elop flattens kairos in this memo by unneccesarily detailing the future business strategies of a company 12,500 employees can no longer be a part of. Elop first fails to take kairos into consideration when he fails to recognize the appropriate time constraints of such a memo. By droning on endlessly about the future plans of Microsoft, Elop leaves readers in a cruel, anxiety-ridden limbo – forcing them to wait for the knowledge of whether their next paycheck is secure or not. The rhetorical situation Elop is in does not condone distraction from the most important information held within the memo, yet Elop buries the certainty of his employees’ futures beneath drivel about upcoming marketing changes. Kairos both “provides and limits opportunities for appeals suitable to [the] moment,” but Elop disregards the selflessness fitting for this type of memo. Much of the memo is devoted towards the company’s future plans, which thousands of employees whom no longer have a job at Microsoft should not have to read about.
Question 2: Discuss what employees would have preferred to hear from Elop, assuming they must be laid off. Share your conclusions with the class.
Employees would likely have rather heard the lines that Kevin Roose offers at the beginning of his article. Lines such as “Thank you for your years of service” and “We appreciate all that you have done for us” often seem cliché or meaningless in their overuse, but at least they provide the facsimile of emotion from the company now severing you from its workforce. Parting condolences and appreciation is necessary for any employee receiving the news that he or she no longer has a job. No one wants to feel expendable, or easily forgotten in the wake of new business partnerships and company remodeling. Former employers should acknowledge the value of the work former employees have put into their company. The discontinued presence of former employees should mean something to the company, and that meaning should exude through grateful, gracious language and remorseful terminology.