Every Target worker laid off today started their day with a meeting no one wanted -- the one where company leaders told them their jobs were gone.
Another meeting followed a bit later, where HR explained that the 1,700 laid off employees would receive up to 15 weeks of pay, along with additional severance based on years of service (and other help as well).
An email to surviving employees explained, "It's difficult to say goodbye to people we care about. And then you find out your boss has changed, or you have a new team, or your role has changed."
By noon, most of the laid-off workers, along with many boxes provided by their former employer, were gone.
Executive search consultant Kurt Rakos has helped many through layoffs, and believes Target provided generous severance packages and mostly good communication.
"I don't know when there's something of this magnitude, if there's ever 'typical,'" he says. "But I would say is they've done a good job the way they've handled it."
Rakos's advice for those laid off is to take a breather... and then start networking online and in person.
"Focus on what you've done well," he says. "Appreciate what you've done. And define what you want to do. People make career transitions more in these times than ever before."
Given Target's strong reputation for hiring top talent, Rakos expects -- with the exception of higher-level execs and those in merchandising -- most should find new jobs here.
"In the specific disciplines, like IT, accounting, and finance, and sales and operations, you're definitely going to be able to see the employers in the marketplace be able to absorb and hire some of those people," he says. "It will be good for them."
Meanwhile, over at Devil's Advocate, a downtown Minneapolis bar where the Target headquarters building dominates the view out the window, free beers were poured for anyone laid off.
"If I had a friend who was getting laid off, the best thing I could do was buy him a beer," says Devil's Advocate owner Erik Forsberg. "It really does genuinely affect our business."