Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh, Sweet Mystery Of Life, At Last I'm Floundering

Be careful what you wish for.

They had a little sit-down with me at Endless Bore and Tedium the other day and explained that, due to some new automated procedures, it’s possible that I may not have a job in a few months.

It’s a little suspicious that I’m the only one in the division that these new procedures would be affecting, but hey.

I think they just don’t want to celebrate my 20th anniversary next year. That’s a speech I’m sure they don’t want to hear.

“When I first arrived here, I thought I knew something about the depths of human depravity. Little did I suspect…”

I’ve been on breaks from here before, for illness and once when I was similarly the victim of downsizing. The unemployment had just about run out when I managed to find another job.

Unfortunately, it landed me back here again. It was the only thing I could find.

Sometimes I have the sneaking suspicion that, despite outward appearances, we Screwlooses haven’t come all that far from the days when my grandfathers worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. I’m just digging a different type of hole.

The recent news story concerning White House employees being made to attend Ethics classes did remind me of a similar period here at EB&T, though.

Quite a few years back, EB&T received some very heavy fines for misrepresenting their products and deceiving their customers.

Some heads rolled and new safeguards were put in place to prevent these sort of shenanigans from occurring for at least a couple of months. Among these were, yes, Ethics classes designed to test our knowledge of morality in the workplace.

Keep in mind we hadn’t done anything. It was the fellows sending us to the classes who had cheated on the test and now they were assigning us to detention.

We were shown industrial films in which actors portrayed scenes of office workers stymied by questions of right and wrong. Should Abby reveal personal information about a client to her sister Pam? Should Harry take an extra ten minutes on his lunch break? Does Mary’s gossiping constitute a security leak?

What about human sacrifice on the company grounds? Yea or nay?

It was not long after they made the big payout that we started hearing about entire divisions, fellow workers that we knew well, being told to go home in the middle of the day. These workers were not fired, mind you.

They were, rather, “impacted.”

I remember one big meeting where they read off the names of workers who’d been let go. There were audible gasps when a particularly well-liked or longtime employee’s name was read and then characterized as “impacted.”

You know, like a wisdom tooth.

There were other signs that the monetary penalty EB&T had received was going to mean big trouble for us. We all attended a presentation based on the popular book Who Moved My Cheese?, a parable designed to get workers used to the idea that change should be embraced, not feared. It involved the adventures of a plucky mouse whose cheese seemed to have a mind of its own, but the mouse rolled with the punches, thought outside the box, and soon learned that cheese never came with any sort of guarantee.

We soon figured out where our cheese was going.

My favorite, though, remains the weeklong meeting rolled out all over the country that all employees were made to attend. It was a huge multi-media presentation that made the case that the company was in truly bad shape financially after our episode of moral turpitude, and that we’d better pull ourselves up by the bootstraps if we still wanted to have a job.

No effort was spared in painting a picture of the company as terminal, with far more money going out than coming in, competitors breathing down our necks, and the wolf banging on the door. This involved all manner of expensive graphics and free food.

It must have cost them a fortune.

A year later we seemed to make a remarkable recovery, if you didn’t count all the people who had been “impacted.”

It wasn’t long after this, I think, that the company magazine printed an article about how the Chairman and CEO of the company had a gold faucet in his kitchen that dispensed soup.

I figured that the worst was over.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Well I can see that you failed your "Mobilization" and that you do not grasp that "We Are On Our Way" because if you recall, "It's a Group Effort". Seem like yesterday!!

This week's flavor? "Looks like what we have here is a failure to communicate!!" Back to the box Cool Hand Screwlooseum!

I just recently started a new job with a more corporate environment after being away from it for so many years. It still sucks...

And I am wearing a tie again! Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggghhhhh!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Sngbrds7trumpets said...

Had you been let's say a summer's bird of 30 or so when you initiated service and that was admittedly more than a season or two ago, wouldn't that be a potential case of age discrimination? It seems the big print giveth and the small print taketh away just when we're struggling to figure out where we put our graduated tri-focals. My condolences. The really cool part is when they escort you through the back door only after having alerted security. Can there be any doubt that an absence of National health & dental care just might be the final frontier when it comes to living on the edge? On second thought maybe stock up on the multivitamins and St. Joseph's aspirin for adult children while there's still time...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Cleetus,

I'm sure that brought back some memories you've tried very hard to suppress...sorry about that!

I'm dismayed to hear that they've managed to slap a tie on you again. But at least you managed to breathe the sadist-free air of independence for a little while.

Just keep the cyanide pill handy. And you might want to look into getting a night guard so you don't grind your teeth at night.

RG

Friday, November 11, 2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Dear Mr. Trumpets,

Well, we'll see what happens. They may decide they can't live without my constant grousing and complaining. After all, I laid off spray painting those rude things about the boss when they asked me to and one hand washes the other, at least in the men's rooms here.

How did you know I take those .81 adult aspirins? In fact, the last one in my current bottle came rattling out today which could be a sign. At least that's what Pat Robertson said and he knows something about drugs, I have a feeling.

Unfortunately I also read today that folks with sleep apnea seem to have a much better chance of being visited by the Heart Attack Fairy. Bring it on, Aorta Bin Laden!

RG

Friday, November 11, 2005 10:40:00 AM  

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