Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, March 21, 2011

Riding The Pale Horse

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

I've done some fucked up things in my life, but this just takes the cake...

I'm really at a loss to explain just how wretchedly horrible things have become at work, but at the risk of getting shitfaced and writing for half the night, let me sum up.

The Man has got a bit of a budget problem. The shortfall for the last fiscal year had all of The Man's minions taking an unpaid furlough day once a month. This year's shortfall is multiplied by a factor of ten. Facing a budget shortfall of 130 million dollars, the majority of The Man's departments are facing cuts of more than a quarter of last year's budget. Some will get off easier. Guns & Hoses will only lose 5%, but since they're the bulk of The Man's FTEs, it'll hit them just as bad as the Bookworms, the Beancounters and the Great Unwashed.

Factoring in benefits & pensions, you can assume an average of Umpteen Thousand per FTE. (I assure you, I'm well below the median...) So, to make up the 130M shortfall, it's pretty much a given that over two thousand minions will get their walking papers before long.

Oh, they'll cut services and programs where they can to reduce the carnage, but it's gonna get ugly.

I've been at this rodeo before. 10 years ago, I got shipped from Dallas up to Toronto to train my replacement up in Greater Canuckistan, then kissed 7+ years of a career goodbye, which is how I wound up back in H-Town.

Here's the kicker: Do a good job, gain a reputation for picking up turds by the clean end and polishing them all sparkly, and you'll be rewarded for your diligence. I'm also known for my rare ability to keep my mouth shut. I spend more time talking to y'all than I do to my co-workers, and this hasn't gone unnoticed by the Powers That Be.

No, not the blogging part! The bit about not spreading gossip. When the time comes to sharpen the headsman's axe, they want someone who can keep a secret.

So, my reward (if you can call it that) is to aid in overseeing the upcoming layoff plans.

(On that note: No gotdamn sonderkommando jokes! That shit ain't funny, guys...)

By April 1, the various departments will start submitting them for review. By May 1, the pink slips will start to flow. The Man's regulations are pretty precise. There's a formula to be followed, and every minion will be placed in a four-tiered system.

Ultimately, it comes down to seniority and annual review scores. Score high in both, and you might keep your job.

But not always... There might be someone underneath you who's got irreplaceable skills. They might get an Exception Letter, which is a Golden Ticket to cause the Angel Of Unemployment to pass over your cubicle.

I'd like to think I'll fall in that category, but I won't know until the very end. Adding insult to injury, we were informed this morning that we would be the very last group to go through the wringer. They need us intact to do the bloody work on the rest of the carcass. I'll see every single department ahead of time, know every name on the layoff list a month before the axe falls EXCEPT for my own department. That one's being done by one of the Nazgul, and they keep secrets better than me.

For those of you who are wondering how I can relate all this to you and still maintain the legal fiction of keeping it on the QT, it's all online if you know where to look and how to read the runes. A matter of public record, as it were...

If the axe falls, it'll be quick. Once you're told, you're shuffled out the door that very day, all access and network privileges cut off while you're in the rubber room getting your pink slip. You'll be escorted by security to clean out your desk, and walked to the exit. I find that insulting to the Nth degree, but I suppose too many people have gone apeshit in the past to expect a more professional process.

So, if things get spotty over the next few weeks, I apologize in advance. I'm going to be sorting through my office and carting things home, as well as sterilizing my office PC in the event the dice come up snake-eyes. I'm also going to be floating a $h!tload of resumes in the interim, since you're a lot more employable while you're currently employed.

I'd like to assume I'll be working for The Man until I retire, but you know what they say about that. Best to be prepared, and this old Eagle Scout has that engraved on his skull.

More news as I know it. Y'all be well, and think some happy thoughts.

El Capitan