Posts tagged with: firings

Your office is not a home. Keep the personal stuff away

Last year, I brought my two sons to the publishing office where I work a full-time/part-time job. It was the first time either of them had been there, and upon seeing my rather spartan desk, my older son — he was 9 at the time — asked me why I didn’t have any pictures of him or his brother at my desk.

At the time, I told him that I’m not here all that much — I only go to the office one day a week, and work from home the others — so I didn’t need to fill my space with photos.

But there’s another reason: No office is home. And I don’t want to treat it like it  is.

I was reminded of this yesterday. Like all publishers, the company where I work is struggling these days. To make ends meet, the company fired several employees. That’s always painful. It’s even more awkward when the fired employees are back at their desks, packing up their personal items.

If I ever get fired? I’ll walk out the door without hesitation. I don’t have any personal items at my desk.

The ax fell at work today

I just got off a conference call this morning with the powers-that-be at the publishing company where I work on a full-time/part-time basis. Like all publishers, this company, which covers real estate news, is struggling. So this morning, the company had its first round of firings.

I survived the cut. That’s the good news. The bad news, of course, is that some very talented people are out on the streets now. And finding a job at magazines or newspapers is not exactly an easy task these days.

At the same time, our now reduced editorial staff will be working harder for no extra money. I hate doing extra work with no corresponding extra pay. However, I feel that complaining about that now would seem insensitive since I’m still employed and so many others are not.

The bosses handling the firings, of course, did their usual stumblebum act. At one point, one of the bosses mentioned that these moves might increase camaraderie at our company. Yes, there’s no better way to increase camaraderie than by firing a boatload of employees.

Many of our sale staff survived the cut. I suspect that’s because most of them operate 100 percent on commission. Yes, they’re doing a horrible job and not bringing in any ads — that’s why we’re in this mess right now — but they’re not costing the company any money. In fact, the one salesperson that was let go was making half commission/half salary. What a surprise.

As usual, I’m not exactly happy with the vision of my bosses. I am happy to still have this job. But I will certainly be looking for a replacement full-time/part-time gig, to supplement my other freelance writing, just in case.

I advise everyone in every industry to be on the lookout for possible opportunities, too. I wouldn’t trust that your job is any safer than mine.

How not to keep your job

Things are tough at one of the publishers for which I write. Like most of the publishing industry, the magazines it produces are getting smaller and smaller. That happens when formerly steady advertisers either go out of business or slash their budgets.

You’d think, then, that there’d be a sense of urgency. And there is among many of the sales staff. When I’m in the office, I hear them calling potential advertiser after potential advertiser, hoping to squeeze out at least a quarter-page ad.

But others? I hear them on the phone, too, discussing fantasy football ratings. Or their vacation plans. Or comlaining about their significant other.

I understand that you can’t shut off your personal life completely from 9 to 5. But these are sales staffers. The bosses can measure exactly how useful they are to a company by how many ads they bring in. You’d think they’d be desperately calling every potential advertiser they can think of.

I have the unsettling feeling that many of these sales staffers won’t be around much longer. And, I hate to say it, if they do get the axe? They have no  one to blame but themselves.

The unhappiest place on Earth? Whever you work

The ingenious promoters behind Walt Disney Land, and Walt Disney World, I suppose, have long touted their Magic Kingdom as the happiest place on Earth. Well, I’ve been to both Disneys — in California and Florida — and I can say, I’ve been happier at other places. ‘Course, I kept imagining all those dollar bills flying out of my wallet like so many gliding Dumbo elephants, never to be seen again.

That’s a bit of a digression. But I bring up the whole “happiest place on Earth” thing because I once knew many people who considered their workplace that Magic Kingdom. They felt fulfilled as they completed projects, boosted their companies’ bottom lines and worked their way up the corporate ladder.

Today, though, I don’t meet quite as many people who would describe their workplaces as happy places.

And why woud they? I know at the publishing company where I work a full-time/part-time job, the threat of job cuts hangs above everybody. The salesman who sits in the cubicle next to mine spends most of his time sighing and quoting the dismal news from the Wall Street Journal. My immediate boss comes over to my cubicle on his way to his frequent smoking breaks to fill me in on the latest trade magazine to either go under or cut back on its publishing schedule.

It’s damn depressing. At least I only go into the office two or three times a month. Working from home is healthier for the soul.

It’s unfortunate but in these tough times, I advise everyone out there to find a new “happiest place on Earth.” Home, maybe? Because it’s going to a long, long time before the workplace becomes that land of promise again.