Spaced City

A Chevron Houston Layoff Plays Out on Reddit

Since the end of last year, Chevron has announced that the company intended to lay off about 4,000 employees over the course of 2016. Still, it was sobering to realize the layoffs were hitting Chevron's Houston workforce on Thursday with more than 600 jobs from the Houston area on the chopping block.

Oil companies have cut more than 250,000 jobs since the price of oil started to fall in the summer of 2014. As news of the layoffs and bankruptcies keeps coming and oil prices continue to stay low, it's hard to find much humor in the whole situation. But one enterprising guy who hopped on Reddit with the user name st41 claimed he was a soon-to-be-former Chevron employee waiting at his desk to be laid off. st41 held an Ask Me Anything on Thursday in which he shared his alternately amused and bemused thoughts and observations about what these layoffs look like from the inside.

Unsurprisingly, he didn't paint a picture of all fun and ponies:

Over the next few hours, fellow Redditors started to weigh in on st41's situation. st41 told the users that everyone who will be laid off got an invitation to a private meeting where the layoffs would occur.

People asked questions, gave advice, sent their condolences and cracked jokes while they all waited. st41 told the board that he is a production engineer who has been with the company for about five years and has eight months of expenses in a "highly liquid" fund. 

Some people might have pretended to stay busy, but st41 was blunt about what he was doing while waiting to be laid off officially:

And about his plans for the night: And what he did not plan on doing Thursday night:

Meanwhile, the other Redditors kept the jokes and the sympathy coming as the hours passed by.

However, all things must come to an end, even funny-yet-compelling Reddit AMA about being laid off from Chevron in the middle of the oil bust. The AMA eventually slowed down, possibly because employees have to sign nondisclosure agreements with Chevron before they get their severance packages:

Or maybe it was because st41 got done waiting to be laid off and had other things to do. 

Chevron spokesman Cameron Van Ast confirmed that 655 Houston employees were laid off on Thursday. He made it clear that, as layoffs go, this isn't the worst deal out there. "We are sensitive to the concerns of impacted employees; we are providing them a minimum of six weeks transition pay, severance and career transition services," Van Ast stated on Thursday. 

We asked if the employees are required to sign nondisclosure agreements before they get their severance packages, but Van Ast said the company doesn't disclose details of employment contracts. 
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Dianna Wray is a nationally award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Houston, she writes about everything from NASA to oil to horse races.
Contact: Dianna Wray