Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Godspeed, fallen heroes of the garment industry

Maybe I really am an asshole. We were just told that 30 people were laid off here today and my second thought was "Well, that frees up 30 parking spaces out front." I made myself laugh, at least. Of course my first thought was "Sucks for them," so I'm not completely heartless.

None of this was expressed out loud, naturally, aside from perhaps a less flippant version of "sucks for them." Really, it just reminds me of the cold, unfeeling nature of a large corporation and the value (or lack thereof) of the people who comprise it. By this I don't mean the cold, unfeeling nature of some rich guys sitting in some wood-paneled office smoking cigars and counting their money but rather the corporation as an organism itself. There is no evil consortium controlling it. It's just a collection of people and an idea, really. It's nothing personal, but that's what makes it cold and unfeeling. Of course the people who've just lost their jobs did so for the purported benefit of those who get to keep showing up everyday and getting a paycheck, a sacrifice to the bottom line. I've never been laid off myself or worked someplace where any one else has, for that matter, so being this close to the fact is a new experience for me.

That's why I'm really glad that I don't give a shit if it had been me. Actually, I just gave someone a box of paperclips that had been sitting on my desk collecting dust and had to stop myself from saying to them "I don't plan on being around long enough to use them all." This line of work ain't for me, and I'll be moving on eventually, although I do appreciate the copious amounts of time this job affords me to write this here blog. More important than the work itself (or lack thereof, which really is a huge bonus) I'm not interested in working for a corporate organism, as it were. I'm all for working with other people in the service of a common goal, but that goal has to be meaningful (beyond simply earning a living) and I can't be viewed as a dispensable or interchangeable part of it. That's pretty basic, right? Not too much to ask?

I'm fond of saying a monkey could do my job. Or a machine, but I prefer to picture the monkey. He'd have more fun than the machine, although I doubt the blog he would write while he's supposed to be working would be nearly as well composed as mine. It would probably be funnier, though, 'cause monkeys are funny. Damn, that's what this post should have been about, instead my rambling about the inhumanity of corporations and my own dissatisfaction. Maybe next time.


Allie said...

Monkeys are funny. Have you ever seen Bedtime for Bonzo -- a monkey and a former president. You get to decide who is who.

Sorry to hear about the upheaval. It's never fun to be around that even if it doesn't really involve you.

Hope you get to park closer to the building tomorrow.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I've been laid off twice (twice in a row actually.) It really sucks. No mater what, unemployment just doesn't cut it.

I finally get fed up with the corporate machine. Why am I busting my hump so that my manager and their managers etc. can get rich? I work for a non-profit now, at least here no one is getting rich.

Noelle said...

I like to say a monkey could do my co-worker's work. And probably smell better while doing it. If only he didn't read my blog... Oh the stories I could tell.

em said...

you took the words right out of my mouth. amen.

Aaron said...

People always say, "Oh, a monkey could do my job", but the fact is, monkeys are really stupid. If a monkey tried to do your job, there would be papers, desks, and most likely excrement everywhere.

Unless, of course, it was one of those diaper-wearing monkeys.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Working in a school there's always the nervous fear that the town will claim they are broke and teachers will get laid off all over the place. In fact, the reason I scored my current job was because the former librarian died (she was like 85, whatevs) and they just never filled her spot because there was no money. Eventually volunteers messed the library up so badly they had to hire someone to fix it. Enter NPW.

Hope you get to keep your job for as long as you feel like doing it!

Courtney said...

Yeah, somehow I don't see you working for a discount clothing store's corporate office forever. That store sucks.

Also, let's get a monkey.

Julie said...

I have been laid off before, but it was actually by a smaller, not for profit organization. Go figure. It does suck.

I'll tell you what sucks even more... my mom's rather large corporation let go an entire team and said that if they didn't complete the six weeks of training for their Indian replacements, they would get nada as far as severence pay. Plus then they were forced to go to a welcome lunch in honor of the new, outsourced labor force.

Meaghan said...

After reading Aaron's comment, I'm thinking if said company pissed you off enough, excrement could still be flying - be it by monkey or Mickey!

Layoffs definitely suck, and I hope I'm never a victim of it's effects.

Chris said...

I'm with Courtney: that store sucks, and I don't know how the company stays in business.

And, wow, I think dutchess of kickball might have just summed up the spirit of communism in eight words: "at least here no one is getting rich."

Which is not to say I think capitalism is a perfect system. I suspect it might be better without Wall Street, because so many unrealistic demands are placed on publicly traded companies (e.g. consistent growth of revenue and profits every quarter, every year). This expectation is probably at the root of the layoffs at your company.