A few months before I left the company, someone who we thought was totally protected, ended up getting the boot and being forced out into "retirement". This guy paved his career with favors (plied and owed) to the upper levels, and knew where tons of old secret skeletons were buried. If anyone was safe, it was this guy. To most of his peers, he was not a very likeable or trustable co-worker. But to management, he was golden and could do no wrong. It must also be said that there are thousands of protected employees just like him, so he was by no means an anomaly.
Apparently, this King of Brown-Nosers lost his ticket to eternal employment when his main link to safety got pushed out himself. That one is a long story in itself, but suffice it to say that it was an Act of God the likes of which could only be described as heavenly poetic justice -- someone that he tried to fire became a bigshot in our project, and this manager had to slink away into retirement with his tail between his legs before getting his burning comeuppances poured out onto his head. And this man had destroyed many peoples' lives with his callous disregard toward anyone who was not one of his favorite stallions. But, I digress.
One would think that this Mr. Brown-Noser would have deserved to get caught by an honest system and be put out to pasture like all old horses past their prime. He most certainly did (but XYZ does not work under an honest system). He put on a great and powerful show, but when the rubber hit the road he did not have an original thought in his head, and would mostly hold you back to make himself look good if you ever had to work with him. But when it came down to how he was pushed out, we were shocked and appalled, and felt that he was really given the shaft. We really don't know what happened in the span of time that led up to his "retirement/firing". All we know is that one evening, after first shift had gone home, we received a cowardly after-hours stealth-email from our boss saying that Mr.B-N had decided on short notice to retire and pursue some avenues of employment that he had been working on recently.
Huh? That information was pure tripe, designed to protect management. Everyone knew that this guy was in the game at the company for as long as he could stay on. He had no intention of leaving in the near future. And why were there none of the usual things like the official retirement party, the last lap around the lab to say good-bye, the cards and goodwill collection? Very odd. All that we found out was that he and the new manager did not get along since the other manager left, and Mr. B-N was destined to leave under that boss. It could have been him, or me, or anyone -- since the new manager didn't get along with him, he was history. That's how XYZ Corp fires people now: based on emotional preference, under the radar, with stealth torpedoes that blast you out of the water, often with no warning what-so-ever. Like the way that a hard working female employee in our lab was just let go with no warning, a few months before she reached her 25-year milestone (so XYZ could save some money on her lost benefits, no doubt). Now they work to cut you down and kick you out before they have to fork out the benefits that they promised you for decades. How DO they sleep at night?!