The following letter was written in response to Printers Seek—and Sometimes Find—Alternatives to Layoffs: I work for a small to mid size midwest commercial printer...family owned and operated, the kind that I have heard America is built on. I agree, kindness and human empathy are at the heart of the business but times are tough (so I'm told...I recently graduated from college...I wouldn't know any different except the old timers speak of glory days..."they'd hand you a PO first, then get an estimate"...sounds crazy to me). My company has gone through recall style layoffs. Two to three employees each time, two to three months apart, starting in October 08. These are looking more permanent as the months go by. I know my company is in a good position to come out strong in the long run, we have quality staff who are very skilled and knowledgeable, also as far as I know the company sits with little to no debt regarding space or equipment. All this aside, my comment, or maybe it's a question is this. The layoffs have definitely put the staff in a defensive position. All of us are just reacting to the next rush project that hits our desk. We went through the awkward stage of having too little work for the amount of people on payroll. This the owners tried to wait through as long as possible I feel. It is that compassionate side you speak of. Now I believe we are at the other end of the spectrum. Too much work and not enough help. I know this has to happen to offset the whole deal. But instead of talking about bringing back people or when that may be, the owners are speaking of efficiency and working smarter. I understand we just can't bring back an employee if the money is not there yet. I feel as if we are trying to fix something that wasn't broke but now it's broken because the current employees either do not have the knowledge or the energy to work as smart as previously. We are all stretching our knowledge base and doing more and the main aspect that is down is customer service. Not good! I think I am talking my way through this as I type. The question for a company like mine is deciding against profit loss due to poor quality and mistakes versus money spent on extra staff. Or...retrain, redirect, redefine job roles and hopefully dish out raises to your overworked salary staff! This is all so interesting and difficult to go through, I guess all I need to say is thanks for listening. Sincerely, Ryan G P.S. - I have so much to learn from the "old timers"...college wasn't enough.