Busy-ness! Aieeee! Whoooooo!
It's always just business, but Jacob Marley would tell you that excuses little. A coworker got the axe today--sort of a layoff, apparently brought on by an urge to restructure his division.
We went out for a farewell lunch, just the two of us--I think I was the only person outside his bosses who even knew at that time. He was OK with it, or at least philosophical about it. He came out of a number of small-time startups before coming here, and more than one of those went belly up while he was aboard, so I guess this kind of upheaval was nothing new to him. He was certainly brave about it--a lot less angry and alarmed than I would have been, had I been in his position. Maybe that will come later.
The idea behind getting rid of him seems to be that, in a bid to change the structure of his department, they needed to free up some dollars, so management decided that his job could be better done by a "cheap" trained monkey than some "expensive" lower-middle manager.
Now, I've never thought my company has had a good handle on how to deal with your man's department--it's always had the highest turnover rate (still very very low, but probably three times what any other department has had in my tenure)--and wholesale changes of strategy have happened twice before in seven years. They never knew what they wanted, and now they want something else.
I've seen how this particular strategy can turn out if in addition to not knowing what you want, you don't know what you have.
In my last job, they basically assumed that I, as Production Manager, was the Art Department secretary. Since I did all the non-design Art Director stuff our Art Director didn't like to do, the job was substantially more than what could be done by anyone who didn't already have design, offset printing, project management, office management and computer troubleshooting experience. Management never could understand this. I tried to explain, yearly, and again before I quit, because I thought they needed to know what was really required (and also to bring home to them that I had been a huge bargain they'd suffer for not appreciating). The partners, of course, didn't listen. That's their job.
Anyway, when I quit they tried to put an assistant-level kid in the job. To their credit, she was one of their harder-working assistants. I think she lasted a month before she quit, being unable to climb the learning curve at anything like the speed required for the pace of work that went on in the place. I think this happened a couple of times.
The Art Department turned back into the poorly-run, unpopular place it had been before I started, and several other people left it, including the Art Director.
Eventually, they found someone who had enough experience to do the job, paid a lot more than they ever imagined paying me, and things got back on track. But it cost them pretty dearly, their miscalculation about what the job required.
I sure hope that doesn't happen here, but believe me--it might.
Anyway, there's no real point to this post, I guess. It's always shocking when somebody gets shitcanned, even more so when it's a decent person who always wanted to do his best for the company. I'm a little bummed out about it, and thought I would subject my readers* to my working-through of it.
Here's to the C-man--I hope this turns out to be a change for the better for ya, pal.*I think I probably only have one or two readers who come back with any regularity, but I'm just as happy for the dozens of people who've gotten here in the last couple of months by searching for "camel toe" to read this. Though I doubt it's much what they are after.
The Straw Man
I think we've probably all seen the hoo-ha that's going on about the Newsweek story that reported a copy of the Koran was desecrated* at the Guantanamo Bay. Newsweek printed it, as reported to them by an unnamed government official. There were riots in Afghanistan about it wherein people died. The unnamed official now says he's not sure he saw anything about the desecration after all, and Newsweek shouldn't have printed it.
Oh, yeah, also all the worst segments of the US government (namely the White House and Pentagon for starters), who are also the ones who'd most like all non-bought-and-paid-for journalists to go away, have all come out saying it's the worst thing they've ever heard of--not the desecration, but the fact that Newsweek rushed to print with it.
Let me say this about that:Item One:
I don't think for one second that the report of the descration is false. The people who are supposed to have done it are soldiers in an Army that is comfortable with a general saying that this IS a holy war, and that "our God is bigger than their God." They also serve in a military under a White House and Pentagon that think mistreatment is only torture if you're permanently maimed or outright killed.**Item Two:
I'm sure the unnamed source told Newsweek about this on purpose. Again, this is an admininstration that actually thinks very little is out of bounds, and that typically likes to suck up to the types who'd really like to see a good old-fashioned Koran defiling: Christian wackos.Item Three:
Of course everybody's going to back off the story when people start dying over it. Especially if by backing off it they can torpedo an even moderately independent news organization in the process.Item Four:
The current administration totally has a hard-on for cutting any remotely independent press off at the knees. This is exactly the same as the kind of payback that--who was it? ABC? I don't watch TV news--got over the forged National Guard documents.
It's the same right down to the fact that nobody particularly believes what was printed was untrue. Sure, in both cases, the rush to put something inflammatory out there probably trumped good journalistic sense. But I think it's disengenuous to think that the White House wasn't shitting when the National Guard documents came to light, because they knew full well Bush didn't serve as required--they just got lucky the docs turned out to be forged***. Same thing this time--they know damn well that kind of shit goes on at Gitmo, but since the source was kept out of the magazine, they were able to pressure him or her to recant once the shit hit the fan.Item Five:
This is nowhere near the important news item the crazy coverage makes it out to be. I mean, it's not like people aren't killing and being killed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan because of some shit our government is doing, whether they deny it or not. The press are getting played like a fiddle by the White House. I expect CNN and FOX to turn on Newsweek because they're SO owned by Bush and Co. anyway. But do all the other press outlets have to act like sharks at a feeding frenzy? They are so afraid of getting cut out of Bush's information club (where most of what they're told is bullshit anyway) that they're turning on their own any time there's blood in the water. Fucking disgusting.Item Six:
Newsweek fucked up. They should maybe have calculated what effect this piece might have had on folks in the Middle East, and insisted on publishing the source's name or left the info out. Now that they've fucked up, though, I think they should just out the asshole right now, and let the White House chew on that for a while, since I'm sure it would turn out to be someone who would never in a million years have gotten that wrong, or accidentally talked out of turn. Yeah, yeah--"If we tell who our sources are, nobody will ever talk to us again, whine, cringe." Guess what? If you called bullshit on some of the people who lie to you and later gut you like a fish over what you print, maybe that would stop too. Grow some balls.*Rumor has it a Koran was flushed down a toilet. Now, as an atheist, and someone with a working knowledge of toilets, this doesn't sound so bad. OK--it got wet. OK--the toilet is where you go poopie. But the water's relatively clean, and I'm absolutely positive they didn't get the damn book to go down, unless it was too wee to read in the first fucking place. If you are the type to get upset because of the symbolism of flushing a so-called holy book down a dirty, sinful toilet where you do your dirty sinful shitting, well fuck you. You're just the same kind of brainwashed idiot who'd do something like that in the first place. Books are books, not the word of some god. Sheesh.
**I would like to point out that setting such a standard for torture pretty much puts you in the position of, "Oops, he died. Guess that was torture after all. Sorry." It's like the witchcraft test--if she drowns, she was innocent.
***They probably figured out they were forgeries because no corresponding documents could be found in Karl Rove's secret stash of documents that prove Bush fucked up in the 60s (and 70s, and 80s...).