May 5, 2008

Maybe it's not me

It's not nice when you deliberately delay going to bed on a Sunday because you're trying to hold off Monday because you just. Don't. Want. To. Go. To. Work.

I rarely feel this way, but I've been feeling this way more lately.

For some reason, I was thinking about this this afternoon as I chatted with a co-worker. Something about annual reviews (which are mutual between worker and boss) and our boss telling us to pretend it's business as usual.

You see, upper management has been staring at the bottom line and blinded by a desire that every year end with more profits than the year before, have pulled up a ghost from the past to haunt and taunt us with: Outsourcing. This they do even though managers in the US have already discovered that outsourcing doesn't work and certainly doesn't save money, and are now "insourcing".

We've been "investigated" since November. My boss has been running around, trying to fix a price to absolutely everything my department does. And attending a lot of meetings. Totally not his idea. It's direct orders from people who wear suits. They like things people who wear suits can grasp. Ideally, it's all in an Excel worksheet complete with graphs. My boss doesn't know how to use Excel, so he's really struggling to put our numbers into a spreadsheet format, as well as put a pricetag on fuzzy things like service, loyalty and creativity. We're a blue-color department that has nothing to do with the core, white-collar business - except to provide it with all the printing and copying it needs, from brochures to business cards to training manuals. And the occasional invitations to anniversaries.

He's been doing a good job of it. He's had practice. We've had this threat before.

But this time… this time is the longest we've had to go without knowing what or when, and with "new" management we don't feel too sure of. We were promised we'd be told in March, then April, then May. Now we'll be told if we keep our jobs or not in June. Or not.

We're tired of this. And since I have a tendency to pick up on other people's feelings (I've discovered), I can't help but wonder if my uncharacteristic lack of desire to go to work is rooted in how my co-workers feel about our current situation. We have a bit of gallows humor about it and our boss keeps trying to remind us of more likely and desirable outcomes, but it's the fact that we're even having to think about it that bugs us. We do darned good work. The company outsourced the cleaning crew after the last round of "what does it cost not to focus on our core business" and is regretting that bitterly, so we are annoyed that we have to constantly do this. It's one thing to ask for a price comparison, so-called bench-marking. That we're okay with. It's something else to be compared with the possibility of being gotten rid of.

I personally do not expect to be badly affected. Been there, done that, and computer-savvy enough to work somewhere else in the organization. My co-workers are not so "well-qualified", and some have had worse experiences than me: They were actually laid off, and unemployed for many months. It's not a pleasant ghost at all.

I am tempted to ask my co-workers point blank if all the joy of Mondays has gone out of them. It's rather hard to tell. We spent so much time laughing together today.

So maybe it is just me.

Or maybe we all really, really need the laughs.

5 comments:

Miz UV said...

Ugh, it sucks not knowing. I hope you get an answer soon.

I wasn't looking forward to today either cuz one of the guys was a dick on Friday, but so far everything's okay. They probably will keep me even though it's slow in real estate right now, but of course there are no guarantees.

Well, except for one: I could always go back to working for Jeff.

Fingers X'd for you, Keera!

Sparkling Red said...

Yuck. The atmosphere before layoffs is always fragile and awful. I've been there before. I wouldn't be surprised if you're picking up on the general vibe. It gets to be so pervasive.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the bastards get you down.

nicole said...

Ugh, that sucks.
We deliberately doing this to ourselves every time hubby signs a contract.
You never know what might happen.

Anyhow, you situation is a different one. Like you, I've been there, done that too. I just don't understand why the companies don't get the idea of "that's not gonna work like that"?!

:S

Good Luck to you and your colleagues!
Keep the Spirit up!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Paula, fingers crossed for you, too. I know it would be nice for you to enjoy the rest of 2008.

Spark, we don't really expect an actual lay-off; outsourcing can mean they sell us off as a package to another company, but we stay where we are and do the same job as before. But then the other company has to cut back…

Anonymous (that you, Ann?), I'll go down laughing, at least. ;-)

Nicole, Scandinavia tends to look at the US and five years later implements what the US has done, even though the US has already moved on to something else because it didn't work. That sucks even more. Why can't people learn from other people's experience? We are so selfish in the west that we even insist on making our own mistakes!