Thursday, April 24, 2008

To Add To My Resume: Always Smells Good

I don’t feel really great about coming to work anymore.

Female Boss has been surprisingly nice lately. Maybe because The Man got laid off? Or because I said I was so glad to have her back at work (which was a true statement, I was just kissing up)? Maybe I’m getting laid off and she feels bad for me? Or maybe it has nothing to do with me and she has just been in a better mood. I don’t know, but coming to work is easier in that sense.

More layoffs were announced last week. These people will have their last day on June 30th. One lady has worked here for TWENTY-TWO years. More than half of her life; she started when she was only seventeen.

These are the things that are going through my mind when I hear this news.

I’m reminded that I had “friends” who were laid off. Two people remained true friends. Another person, who I smashed down my usual brick wall for and overlooked her fatal flaw, and chose to pursue a friendship with outside of work, did not reciprocate. The pain of that resurfaces with the reminder that if she was not laid off, I could still be living under the (false) impression that we were actually friends (note to self: you may want to resolve those feelings…bring up during next therapy session).

When you lay off people, I guess you first lay off those who are not most important to your company. I know that the last two rounds of lay offs last year were particularly a big hit on the company and the remaining employees, but I don’t think the first two series were all that crucial. However, when you end up having to let go more people, those people are at more of a disadvantage. The people who were not as valuable to you have now gone out and found jobs; and the new people are left with sloppy second job offers, or perhaps none at all. If you truly valued people’s lives and well being, and appreciated their loyalty and work ethics, I would think you would do it all at once so that everyone had the chance to find new jobs at an equal pace, or that you would let go those most loyal and valuable in the beginning so that they could have a head start.

I am so sure that this is really naïve thinking. Naïve in that business just flat out can’t work that way, and in that CEO Boss doesn’t really care about the loyalty or value of the employees.

Of course, I am also sensitive to this situation because I am now dealing with the same issue in my own home. It’s like when people think, Oh cancer will never happen to me so I don’t need to apply sun block, or I’m going to live forever, who needs life insurance? I really thought that The Man was secure in his job. Because his employers told him incessantly that he was safe. And we believed them. That is why I don’t believe my job is protected either. Oh, you’re in commercial, you’re safe. Uh-uh. I don’t buy it and I don’t like hearing it. It might as well be a cheesy pick up line.

CEO Boss appeared to be in not the best mood at the beginning of last week. Then about Wednesday he comes in all chirpy again. Come to find out that more people were laid off. Are you happy that people are getting let go? Glad to have money coming in again? Do you care at all about how other people’s lives are being affected by your actions? Female Boss mentioned that he is probably trying his hardest to just keep the company up and running, and trying to keep it from shutting down. It’s not about making money right now. It’s a good point, and I try to have an understanding of that.

It is difficult though when I know so many of the things I know. This is where I know that I am still young in the business world. Because I see and hear how money is being made and spent elsewhere, personally, by the families who owns the company, which includes CEO Boss. In my head I know that this money is separate, but in my heart, I don’t want to see people loss their jobs and I calculate how long this expense could have kept so and so here. It all adds up, and I feel that jobs could have been saved. Even something like the company bowling party (which is also catered) scheduled in May – the cost of that might not seem like a large expense for the company, but I bet it could keep an employee around for a month, maybe two? Even if it couldn’t save an employee, by NOT having it, the appearance would be that the employers are cutting back in other places, not just in paychecks.

So Monday mornings are more difficult than ever; but for different reasons that before. I can’t decide which poison I prefer – the poorest morale I have ever seen in an office environment, or a nasty boss. Which would you choose?

The part I DO feel good about is that every morning I make the coffee and I use a creamer that is very fragrant. Many people walk past my desk every morning and I can count on at least one person mentioning “it always smells good.” Being the people pleaser that I am, it feels good to offer something positive to the people, no matter how small. And it’s better than the alternative.