it’s amazing how much knowledge someone can carry around in their head that only THEY know. They quietly go about their business, taking care of all kinds of things that no one else knows anything about. Then one day, that person is gone, and they take all that knowledge with them right out the door.
That’s one of the things the powers that be don’t think about when they start laying people off. (“Reduction in Force” is what we’re calling it these days.) When the staffing level is pretty lean to begin with, a lot of people are doing something only THEY know. They never had a backup who knew all the little ins and outs of their responsibilities — all the little tasks that somehow got done are no longer getting done, and no one realizes they aren’t getting done until something misses a deadline: “Where are the printouts for X job!? They were supposed to be ready for X meeting!” Well, the person who did that doesn’t work here anymore and he wasn’t given the luxury of time to pass on his knowledge to anyone else before he was escorted out the door. So now we all have to scramble and figure out all the things he was doing and how those things will be divided up among those of us who are still here, and add those things to our existing piles of work and hope nothing falls through the cracks again.
You can only carve so much meat off a carcass.