Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's your Internet, now turn in your badge

A slight deviation from the norm...pardon my indulgence.

The two longest terms of employment in my life were with a grocery store chain when I was a kid (5 years) and my last job at the cube farm (7 1/2 years).

Other than that, I've been a short term job man -- a by-product of the nature of the "show biz" I was in.

The grocery store chain, once a mega mover in the US Supermarket industry was swallowed up by another chain a few years after I turned in my apron and sticker price marking gun (remember those?).

Then I heard yesterday that my last long term employer was undergoing a major round of restructuring with announced lay offs of half it's total work force.

Had I still been employee #1497 and had miraculously survived the last two years since I left, I would not have made it during this last dark day, now known as Black Tuesday.

And that is making me a little sad.

I know I should be filled with joyous pleasure in the knowledge that my decision to pull up stakes and leave that job and that life behind in LA is revealing itself to be somewhat prophetic in many positive incarnations.

But it's just the opposite. Or at least, I think it's the opposite.

Perhaps I'm sad for those known comrades that will soon be facing unemployment. Perhaps I'm scared for those remaining behind who must now function at a higher level with half the manpower.
Or perhaps I'm just confused at my ambivalence toward it all.

I don't all together miss the company as IT was when I left. The people and co-workers that I was fond of, I'll always miss.

No, it's the company that I hired into way back when that I suddenly and surprisingly find myself mourning. As the 1,497th person to hire in, there was still cubicles full of the counter-corporate culture and the underdog excitement generated by being just a few steps ahead of start-up status.

And even though THAT place hasn't existed in realtime for quite some time, the new and current CEO is apparently doing his job and cutting off the slough, in an effort to save the company from itself.

Which is exactly what a johnny-come-lately hired gun CEO is expected to do. Corporate culture and revered idealistic history be damned. John Sculley saw through all the BS of the imbedded counter culture at Apple and did what he had to do to make the company what it is today...uhh, what is was before it became what it is today.

Save the company he may and more power to him since my poor excuse for a stock portfolio still has some vested interest in the success of the company.

But from where I'm currently sitting, in my little Oklahoman town on the prairie which is about as far removed from my old cubicle as I could possibly be, I can't help visualizing the tossing aside of the last vestiges of whatever idealistic values and goals that survived from when the Sci-Fi founder and employee #1 instigated them so long ago.

Remember, "It's your Internet?" I do.


Anonymous said...

Time for a final food run to Topz or Rosaritos...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, "It's your Internet". You fix it.

Kenn said...

OKDAD and I were in the same orientation class. He was employee 1487 and I, 1495. We started the same time and when he pulled himself out of the cube farm and scurried off to Oklahoma to become a pioneer, I stayed to man the fort, the last of our group.

When it all started it was an exciting time. Our coworkers were all the people in high school that no one wanted to hang around with, they just weren’t “cool.” All the geeks, the music makers, the artist, and worst of all the thespians, in other words, people just like me. We had one guy, working the overnight who had been on Broadway with Patrick Stewart. Another who, while at Earthlink, had two different Jazz albums , both of which got to number two on the Billboard chart. He played bass, and he was in the same orientation class as OKDAD and myself. The list goes on and on.

It was fun. It was new, and we made it up as we went along. I use to say that one of the great things about the job was that we never had to hear anyone say, ”the way we used to do it was…” We didn’t have to listen to that because it was too new, there was no “used to.” Of course, that is long gone.

Kyle said yesterday that it wasn’t going to be a lot fun for those who survived this slaughter. He said, “it’s not Earthlink anymore.” He survived, so let’s see how long before he starts on his resume.

I didn’t. September 14 is my last day. In the meeting where we given this news there was a question and answer section. I asked…”On October 17th I would have been at Earthlink for 10 years. Do I still get my watch?’ She didn’t have an answer.

Anonymous said...

Lotta this going around...

I asked…”On October 17th I would have been at Earthlink for 10 years. Do I still get my watch?’

...that watch would be a lot nicer than the strange lava lamp we've already got that looks like a crinkle cut french fry.

Anonymous said...

Tell ya what, Kenn. You can have my watch. It's big, bulky, rips the hair out of my wrist whenever it moves and has a big EarthLink logo plastered on the face. Not the cool old logo either, the new "sperm circling the egg" one. Yes, I'm a "survivor" and yes, many "survivors" have already submitted their resignations.