The Office of Personnel Management has been fielding some unusual and uncomfortable questions from federal departmental managers this summer according to Government Executive. It seems that a terrible bit of reality is dawning on them at last and they need some professional assistance in figuring out how to perform a management function which most of them have never experienced before.

They’re going to have to start laying some people off, and for much of Washington, DC, that’s a completely foreign concept.

Federal agency managers are privately telling members of the Trump administration they will soon lay off employees, according to Office of Personnel Management officials, and are seeking advice for how to do so in the most effective manner.

Agencies are “pretty certain” they will need to institute reductions in force as they aim to satisfy an executive order from President Trump and ensuing guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, said Leslie Pollack, deputy associate director of OPM’s HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions, on WJLA’s “Government Matters” program. Those documents required executive branch agencies to reorganize themselves and, in the process, cut the size of their workforces. Pollack’s office, which provides human resources consulting to federal agencies, has assisted officials across government looking at “closing down or realigning functions.”

On the one hand it’s rather tough to have too much sympathy for them. They’ve been getting warnings about this since the day President Trump was sworn in. (Did they think he was kidding?) Orders went out to begin planning for consolidation of redundancies and generally shrinking the federal behemoth. At first there was a lot of dancing around and alternative options being explored. Early retirement packages and generous golden parachutes were in the works. Some people were finagling for transfers to other departments before their positions were eliminated.

But the cuts are coming and eventually the harsh light of inspection falls on everyone. The stated goals will not be reached by simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. A smaller federal government means fewer workers. And that means some people will have to go.

The remarkable thing about the article linked above is the seeming shock which the managers are experiencing. Lay somebody off? What does that even mean? We don’t lay people off. They come here and stay until they retire or die. That’s how it works.

Apparently not anymore. Welcome the world that rest of us live in.