AOL is asking employees for volunteers to leave the company. The other option is to be fired. Sounds like the Titanic, take 2. “We don’t have enough lifeboats, so who wants to stay on board and drown?” As AOL prepares to spin off from its parent company of Time-Warner, the company will need to cut its employees by 1/3 , which is about 2,500 workers. This decision must be made by December 4th, 2009.

According to one article it states that:

This is lousy news for employees, who are faced with a “jump now or wait to be pushed” decision, but it is designed to cheer investors: AOL says the cuts will drop its annual operating expenses by $300 million. Through the first nine months of this year, AOL’s operating expenses ran around $1.8 billion.

Meanwhile, AOL is looking to shed some parts of its business altogether. It has hired bankers to sell off its ICQ messaging service, and is also considering dumping Mapquest, among other assets.

Armstrong’s (expensive) goodwill gesture: He is giving up his 2009 bonus, which was to be at least $1.5 million. His explanation to employees: “As a member of our team and the person who takes accountability for the results of the company, I am making the decision to forego my 2009 bonus. That decision is a personal one and is not a sign for the future payout of the overall bonus plan for employees.”

So as Armstrong prepares to give up his bonus pay, some 2,500 folks are not going to have a pleasant holiday experience. Isn’t it always ironic that those at the bottom of the ladder who make the least must go, so that those at the top can linger on in their lavish lifestyles?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.