Friday, November 12, 2010

Hanging out with the about to be unemployed

Hey, I am on the floor of a building where everyone is losing their jobs next Tuesday. Well, almost everyone. It is pretty sad state. People are close to tears. One lady was telling the woman who is replacing her that she did not know how to do her job and to "stop calling IM" all the time. Another came in, read some e-mail and left with a box. Everyone else comes in around 10am and leaves around noon. The last day is next Tuesday, November 15th, 2010. A lot of people are already gone, having exchanged phone numbers, e-mails, gifts and recipes last week.

"Leadership - Until you spreads you wings, you have no idea how far you will fly" (with a picture of an Eagle with wings spread). The department had those corny "Motivators" posters by Successories all over the walls. In the good times, they were ignored as another harmless idea from the boss. Now the posters mock the losers as they head out the door.

The company had a medium sized manufacturing plant in New Jersey but things haven't been good for years. Then they got bought by another company. The plant was running about 20% capacity. People would leave and not be replaced or replaced by temps. The last few days are a lot of heartache for the people working here. Almost everyone has more than 10 years experience. It is, sorry WAS, a big corporation accounting and finance operation, so you know the staff was 80% female. Only the bosses and the IT staff are men.
"Belief - The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" Lighthouse with a light in the dark on a hill. Say what, Can't figure this one out.

I stumbled across a cube, while looking for the printer. The cube has all the name plates that have been taken down as people left. Lisa, Pilar, Rose Marie, Ken, Patricia and Deborah. A pretty mixed group judging from the last names: some Spanish, Indian, Italian, Black and Polish. They were lucky to work here.

It is a little creepy to see order breakdown. I can almost hear the conversations: ”I never liked you. I saw you and Mike at the Christmas party. You can’t dress worth a damn. You need help and soap. I’ll miss you.”

Now it is Friday afternoon and the place is deserted; close to spooky. The cubes are stacked with boxes and junk. The filing boxes are in the hall way waiting for the mover to come get them. Some are going to storage because they cannot be legally destroyed. Others are going to the recycle bin. Just massive amounts of waste paper.

Excel - "All glory comes from daring to begin". (Waterfall). Who writes this stuff? It is just bad sloganeering that won't help anyone get a job.

I am sure they all got good severance packages. Company's usually give 1-2 weeks of pay per year of service as long as the employee's agree not to sue. But a lot of them were making good money for a pretty easy job. They worked 8 hours days, 1 hour for lunch, flexible hours, worked from home, vacation days and unlimited sick days. On the other hand almost none of them will find the same type of job and pay. Most were around 50, which is too early to retire but at least they got the kids out of the house (knock wood). Now what?

The security guard walks by, once in the morning, once at noon and one in the evenings. Looks in the conference room, decides I am safe. Some young kid. I guess they are looking for obvious trouble. Like some one going postal. I have never seen security in an office building unless there is trouble.

"Attitude - "Blah, Blah, Blah, it is all in your attitude, blah, blah, blah" (Ski-jumper going off a cliff)

Well almost time to go. I guess the posters didn't help much. But they had a nice little run so things can't be too bad. Some of the people had 25 years of experience and made it to retirement. It just looks bad right now.

Writing from the front lines of the recession...

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