Well, it is now December 2009, and I have been in the business of Internet marketing and online income for close to six years. In May of 2003 I was laid off yet again from the company I had worked for for 15 years, and something snapped in me, wherby I was willing to take any risk as long as I could be free of working for the heartless and cold blooded bastards we called upper management.
I saw the way people were treated in the company that I worked in and I remember the anger I had every time I saw an employee being treated like nothing more than the number and the stock animal. There are so many examples of the inhuman way corporations treat their employees, but nothing quite compares with a meeting I was in with the upper management team from our head office shortly before I was laid off.
There were some sizable layoffs coming again in our company, and we all knew it was coming for over a year. Management was always good at making us employees extremely nervous and for good reason. They knew the majority of us would be so terrified of being laid off that we would hunker down and work like dogs to try and impress their direct management in whatever department they were working in. This tactic is used by corporations all over the world and it’s particularly nasty. We would have to listen to each other wine and complain with fear about the possibility of being laid off in the near distant future. It was quite revolting to watch all of us shaking with concern about how we would pay for our groceries, or mortgages, or car payments, our children’s clothing, our children’s braces, etc. etc. etc. etc.
Every time the company used scare tactics whether or not they were legitimate stories are not, it was done in the same fashion. Somewhere in upper management leaks of information were being pushed out through through word-of-mouth to some employee in the country. Of course these rumors ran like wildfire to every station in every department. The result was always the same in that the fear level of the employees dropped dramatically, and the more belligerent and egotistical employees (this includes your humble narrator) would be outraged and call them on it. Sometimes the rumors turned out to be nothing, but sometimes they were very much real. In this case the rumors were very much real.
Anyways, before the story gets bloated way out of proportion, this is what happened.
We were all called up to the “big board room meeting center” to meet with upper management from the East Coast. We all knew what this was about and I brought my little recorder which I took to all of the meetings I went to, and sat at the front of the table so I was closest to the management team. I wore my black leather biker jacket because deep down inside I probably felt it was one-way for me to pretend I was tougher than the rest. I realize now how young I was, how naïve I was, how silly I was, and how manipulated I was.
The management team swaggered into the room and two of the managers (the two top guys) took center stage and began talking. They said they had brought us all there to discuss the upcoming layoffs and make it official that there would be people losing their jobs.
The board room was your typical swank long room with expensive leather seats and a extremely long and shiny table for all to sit at. All of the high-tech audiovisual equipment was installed, including all of the niceties for food and beverage displayed around. Several different phones were on the table for people to use during the meeting, and of course there was high speed Internet available. This particular room was the one room that us employees rarely ever saw, and you could tell that we were all out of our element.
The two top guys from upper management who were at the end of the room definitely in the physical power positions with full view of every entrance and nothing behind them. You could feel the tension in the room which was stupidly high, as everyone awaited the ugly news about the impending layoffs.
They began by thanking us for coming to the meeting, and you could tell they were a little bit nervous perhaps, because of the news they were about to give us, but they didn’t let that affect their default body language, which was an air of huge arrogance. The man who did all the talking was obviously in his late 50s or early 60s, and someone we had never met before. This is extremely typical because when it comes to big layoffs and bad news these big companies and corporations always bring in a new face that will never be seen again to break the news. I’ve seen it many times before.
He started telling us about how times were tough and how they were going to need to lay off employees in the hundreds. We had all been hearing the rumors for over 6 to 7 months and most of us were expecting this to be the news of the day. Then the questions began from the employees.
As usual, I was extremely vocal and a menacing character in the eyes of management, and most of them knew my name and my reputation for being a rabble-rouser. You could tell they very much disliked me using a tape recorder that I had in full view of all who are in the meeting. I asked them many questions about their poor choices and management decisions over the last couple of years, and pointed out that if it wasn’t for their poor management skills, we would not be laying off a single person, and in fact we would be hiring more employees. Whether I was right or not, it didn’t really matter – they didn’t like my tone, they didn’t like my questions, and it was pretty obvious they didn’t like me.
When I asked the head honcho how much we were going to lose in the way of jobs, he sort of grimaced at me because of the way I was pinning him down for answers. He cocked his head back and scratched his neck with that bottom feeding fish expression on his face, and asked this question to the management team that was standing behind him;
“How many bodies do we have here Dave?”, he asked as he turned around to look at a punchy looking and disheveled manager who was obviously extremely uncomfortable.
“Well we have about 350 bodies here Jim?”, as his eyes darted nervously around the room.
“Bodies!!??!!!!???, I yelled, nearly at the top of my lungs. “So we are bodies now huh – not even numbers, let alone names!!!”
Jim, the head honcho hardly showed that his feathers were ruffled, except for his face turning red with anger or embarrassment – I could not quite tell which. It was too late though for him to try and explain his attitude and his poor choice of words, because the floodgates of anger were open. The other employees in the room which numbered in the 80 to 90 range were packed in tight and my voice was no longer required in the feud. Questions and comments and exclamations were being hurled simultaneously from many of the employees in the room at this point. You could see the upper management team was now very nervous and fidgety, trying to maintain their composure, and their upper hand.
These employees were all men and all mechanics who were all mostly over the age of 35 and up, who are responsible for mortgage payments and supporting families. 90% of us had licensing and over 15 years experience in the field, and though we did not like the prospect of being laid off from a long time employment, we were not afraid to show our anger, our fear, and our frustration. We have had enough.
Jim, Dave, and all of the others in the management team which numbered a total of ten to a dozen men were now trying to wrap things up at the meeting short. They knew they had to get out of there in the board room was designed in a way that the management team could slip out the door they stood beside and be completely separated from our group. Security was certainly looked into with his room was designed. Three of the management team began moving slowly to their exit door they were so nervous with the body language and the tone of the room. One of them was terrified and I felt a little bit bad about him, because the truth was I was just trying to frighten these bastards, and I never really had any intention (nor did anybody else in the room) of causing them physical harm.
The management team soon got things off and Jim announced that he had to get to the airport to catch another flight and bring more bad news to other employees around the country, trying to deflect some of what we were feeling by letting us know we were not the only ones being laid off in the country. He cut it off and said he was sore you can stay longer (yeah right) and that we would hear more from our immediate management team at our base.
When we left the room we were all chatting amongst yourselves some of us with our chests puffed up like juveniles on our way to the entrance way of the roughhouse barroom, and some of us were just shaken. One thing for sure that we all have in common was that we were relieved to finally get some closure on all the rumors that have been swirling around all these past months. The hardest part is waiting and not knowing what your future is going to be. I still think that even with bad news like a layoff being in the mindset of an employee can be less stressful than self-employment. You are with your buddies and your coworkers together and you were never really alone with this kind of big and bad news comes down the pipe. You all have the same problem coming and you have someone to talk to, complain with, whine with, and cry with (sometimes literally).
I remember the we all got our official pink slips in our company mail slots. Seeing that piece of paper made it official, and he could tell that some of us were secretly excited that a change was coming. I for one was excited to be leaving this dull and decrepit workplace that I have despised the last three years. Many employees loved working there and they were extremely terrified at the prospect of finding a new job and losing all of their seniority and benefits.
When the day came that we had to leave to pack up our toolboxes I remember a sinking feeling that it was all over and I would likely never see some of my coworkers again. I remember being disgusted that management had to go and look through all of our toolboxes just in case any of us were stealing anything from the company on the way out the door. I remember walking out the last door to the outside air thinking that I was finally free of tyranny (laughter). I even yelped as I gave my card pass to the last manager as I walked out. I gave my toolbox to another employee, and 90% of the tools that were in the box. I was leaving much more than a job – I was leaving the career.
This is continued on my next post which you can read by clicking here…..