“Paramount Global lays off about 800 employees, a day after announcing record Super Bowl ratings.” — CNBC

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Thank you for jumping on this last-minute Zoom meeting. As you’re all well aware, this has been a great year for us. Profits are at an all-time high. Our stock price is at an all-time high. Growth projections for the coming year are through the roof. You all have done an amazing job ushering in a new era of success for this company. So amazing, in fact, that we have no choice but to let you all go.

I realize this comes as a shock, but I don’t want any of you to worry about the future. Thanks to you, we are in an excellent position to ride out the challenges of the coming year. I mean, those of us who still work here are. But I’m sure you all will be fine too. You’re top-level contributors. You’ll surely help any company you join become successful enough to no longer need you, as long as you don’t do one of the jobs we’re all replacing with AI. About 60 percent of you will be A-OK, in the very short term. You have my non–legally binding word on that.

But let’s not linger on the very real problems this most recent evolution of capitalism has put before you. You should take a moment to celebrate yourselves. You crushed it. You’ve helped us grow so much that the only possible way for you to continue to help us grow is by no longer working here, effective immediately. That’s quite an achievement, although I do acknowledge it sounds a little nonsensical. Frankly, I’m not sure I even understand exactly how it works. Maybe one of you can explain it to me before you leave? You’re our best and brightest, after all. Well, you are for the next twenty minutes or so.

So keep your heads high. You’ll leave here knowing we couldn’t have been successful enough to fire you without you. That it was your proud and noble contributions that ultimately enabled us to stop giving you a salary and benefits. And at the end of the day, isn’t that more valuable than money? I guess no, not according to our board and shareholders. But they’re not as proud and noble as you, the chosen few (I think 20 percent of our workforce counts as “few”). They may come away from this whole ordeal with a few more points on their shares, but you’ll get to walk away knowing that, for the small sacrifice of your ability to pay your mortgages or buy food, you provided those points. That makes you the big winners in all this, in my eyes.

Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that my equity doesn’t vest for another six months, I might even consider joining you, you noble, fallen warriors. But no, my sad fate is to fail upward and look on with jealousy and admiration as you all succeed downward. I envy you. I really do.

As for what happens next, be assured that we plan to treat you with the utmost respect—

—Sorry, I think you all got booted when IT terminated your access to the company servers. Can’t be too careful, right? Anyway, as I was saying, you’ll all be treated with the utmost respect from now until we get your laptops back. Please try to have those in the mail by the end of the day, by the way.