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a birth and a death June 10, 2009

Posted by That Guy in A Very Corporate Something, Economic Downturn, Management.
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In The World on Blood, during the funeral for January*, I believe Whistler or Selene says something to the effect of it being fit that a new baby was being born into the vampire/coven relationship even as they mourned the loss of someone else.

Or, to put it another way: how the hell do you go from an announcement about two people getting fired to a baby shower?

Photo by François Rejeté.

Photo by François Rejeté.

CorporateSpeak’s home office decided to consolidate my department company-wide, and they eliminated all the webmasters. That doesn’t include me, but it does include my boss. He had no idea it was coming, though sitting in his office later he took increasingly-frantic IMs from people in the webmaster community who were trying to figure out what was going on and why they were all being summoned to their Big Bosses for closed-door meetings.

Not everyone was fired outright; one webmaster in New York was offered a new position with a different name. I’m sure one other will not be fired because he’s the only person in the division who really knows how to use Flash.

I found out about it around noon; the Two-Year-Old held a meeting three hours later to tell everyone else. She did stop by my desk to make sure I was all right, which was nice, and she also talked to one of the other guys who used to work for my boss but was sucked up into her department a few months ago. During the meeting, she revealed that the company is also consolidating all HR tasks, so the HR person lost her job too**.

Most of the folks around here stopped by to make sure we’re okay. I admit I took advantage of the atmosphere of general sadness to goof off a little more than usual; that, and I really only had one more thing to do anyway, which wasn’t due for another week. I kind of got tired of talking about it after a little while.

Photo by Michael Wade.

Photo by Michael Wade.

And, an hour later, we had a baby shower for one of our employees who’s adopting a child. There was cake***, punch, fruit, nuts, and presents. The mom (she already has one child) was surprised and thrilled, and it was indeed an occasion to celebrate — a child who needed a chance is going to get one by becoming her son. So that’s good.

But how do you turn your emotions around? How, in one hour, do you go from “appropriate quiet sadness” to “yay! hooray!”? Is it even possible?

A valiant effort was made, but in the end, I don’t know that the baby shower was as happy as it could have been for anyone except the mom.

The rest of us saw the ax on the floor, heads on one side, bodies on the other. We stepped gingerly over those who fell and were thankful it wasn’t us. Also, I e-mailed my boss information on several recruiters I’d used in the past in hopes that he quickly finds new employment. He’s not a bad guy, except for his penchant for bow ties now and again.

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* Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but the book’s 12 years old. Deal.

** Interestingly, neither of the people fired today planned to work on Friday — my boss had a vacation day scheduled, and the HR person didn’t work Fridays. Bet they’ll both be here, though.

*** My second piece today; my first piece was left over from a celebration the previous day. I missed it because I was off. But when my co-worker tried the leftover cake and determined it was still good… well, who would I be to say no?

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