Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Axe Swings at Work, But Misses Me This Time

HOO-BOY, I'M OUT FOR two days, and I miss a minor massacre at work. The payroll was 18 people smaller when I returned to the desk today. Fortunately, I was not among them. I believe I've already discussed my "Fuck this, I'm going to Vegas" plan were I to be laid off twice in one year. The powers-that-be have until the end of this month to evoke this response from me. As badly as I'd love to get back to the Neon Havens, I'd much prefer to do so in the context of current employment.

This layoff was quite different than the one I endured. Without divulging too much, four teams were combined into two, leaving people who were redundant. The people no longer needed were called to a mystery meeting and given the news. While this was transpiring, the rest of the company was gathered in another conference room and told what was happening. They were therefore closeted while the first group was given 20 minutes to clear their desks and leave. I was unable to find out if they got any severance. Even if they did, compared to this, I made out like a bandit.

The dismissed folks were primarily editors or managing editors, but also included were two longtime art directors, including the chief AD. It calls to mind the study from the Wall Street Journal, and the post I wrote as a result, about the potential for replacement among graphic designers. Now we only have two ADs left, plus some junior designers and support from satellite offices. Though the chief AD was to spearhead the switch from Quark to InDesign next year, this seems to have been no defense.

We did get a pep talk about our own bright prospects, but it only steels in me the need to acquire as much training as I can, in case this is the first spasm of contractions in the coming year. Many believe 2008 will host a recession (or continue the one that we'll eventually realize began this year). No time like the present to keep making myself as versatile as possible. The company does have a forward attitude toward such training, though when I asked the person tasked with the pep talk about a course we'd had earlier in the year, and whether there would be any follow-up, they didn't recall the course. I do, and I will see what I can do to get as much relevant, difficult-to-outsource training and experience — to say nothing of connections with others who can find me work should this not work out — as I can cram into my softening brain. As good as this job currently is, my experience at the salt mine has kept me from saying that this one — or any job — is forever.

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