Posted by: emjb | June 23, 2007

The call




DORIS: Emjaybee? This is Doris. How are you today?

E (thinking: Who the hell is Doris?): Uh, fine, thank you. Can I help you?

D: Can you come to the boardroom for a moment?

E: Sure. Do I need to bring anything?

D: No, just yourself!

Rather than bore you with scripting the rest, I’ll just tell it straight; Wednesday, I was laid off. Me and the other manager who did the same job as I did, meaning the grunts are now manager-deprived and on their own. And extremely unhappy about it, they tell me.

It wasn’t a surprise, although I was thinking it would be July, not this week. I got a severance that wasn’t spectacular but was better than nothing, and at least got me health care for six more weeks. But the company is clearly circling the drain…I give them 4 more months, tops, maybe less, unless they find some really dumb rich investor to give them more money. Which is always a possibility. But ultimately, the product is crap and the management is a giant fustercluck. They’re doomed.

I’ve never been laid off before (which leaves only firing as a job-related experience I’ve yet to have…yay). It was rather surreal. I didn’t cry, or feel bad at all…once I knew what the money situation was, I was ready to go home and relax. For the first few days, I was actually kind of ecstatic. I haven’t had anything approaching a vacation in well over 3 years, so it felt like getting off for school for the summer. I mostly ate popsicles and watched soap operas and spend time at the pool. Everyone is very concerned about me, and of course, Matt is worried (OMIGOD WE HAVE NO MONEY WE’RE GONNA DIE) but I’m not feeling that way. Yet.

My job has really been a pain in the butt for a while, mostly because bad management meant I wasn’t actually able to do my job. It was an old story; autocratic CEO refuses to delegate or establish a hierarchy of decision making, and chaos results. I was a project manager, but neither I nor MY manager, nor HER manager were ever actually allowed to say “No” to anything that the CEO or one of his buddies wanted. Even if what they wanted was unworkable, shredded our carefully-figured and tight deadlines, and would cost both money and employee burnout on a massive scale.

I personally was very tired of being told about 3/4 of the way through a difficult and already-late project that some random person (it was never the same person twice) had pulled some cockamamie theory about how the project should look out of their ass and we had to redo it all practically overnight. And all our projects included teaching materials, vocabularies, video segments, interactive segments, Flash presentations, and about umpteen other components. So one significant change caused a ripple effect, something we tried in vain to explain to these idiots a hundred times. Not being Friends of the CEO, though, no one gave a damn what we thought. We were just the helper monkeys.

Pray for Mojo

After having this happen to me about 3 times, I learned my lesson and gave up. Initiative, expertise, and hard work would only get you more trouble, so it was actually most effective to procrastinate on every project as late as possible, since the parameters would keep changing until the very end. By the time I was laid off, about 3/4 of my time was spent diddling around on the Internet or doing minor copyediting work. In that sense, getting rid of me was a good move. No point in having cops around if they’re never allowed to hand out tickets.

Now what? I don’t know. Look for work. Get my hair cut. Do some unpacking. Call the landlord about the mouse/mice that have been leaving presents in my bathroom and kitchen. Watch Nathan practice his chicken-wing flapping dance that he picked up somewhere. Hope for better things.


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