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Thursday, November 20, 2008


Coming as no kind of surprise — it was just a question of when — my place of employ let go five of its employees last Thursday (two of whom remain on staff until the end of the year) and even though I believe myself to be somewhat secure thanks to the services I provide I'm still sitting here with a bit of a knot in my stomach.

I've been through the layoff dance a couple of times and I probably don't have to tell you that it's a major downer for all of a workplace's staffers, leaving those who remain after the axings with a sense of survivor's guilt but also with a feeling of tension and possibly impending doom. It kills kills morale stone dead and hampers productivity, and no matter how much the higher-ups may make promises to the contrary there are always cuts to be made in these uncertain economic times. At least here at the design 'ho house there is no blatant psychological cruelty involved in the layoffs; when Marvel Comics ended up in Chapter 11 in the 1990's, the powers that be over there tried to put a ludicrous positive spin on things by giving the corporate clear-cutting the catchy name "Marvelution," and some of the people from the floors that had a clue as to who was up for the chop during the long cycle of culling would actually brush past some of us Bullpenners in the hallway and cryptically tell us things like "I'd get ready for something heavy today if I were you" and other such uncalled-for bits of torment, putting us into even more of an agitated state than we already were. And despite such dire "warnings" the layoffs would sometimes not come for weeks, leaving people fucked up and scared throughout, but at least some of the suits got their jollies...

Sheer assholism.

In fact, if I remember the dates correctly, it took some three or four years from the announcement of Marvelution before I got let go after nearly nine years of service, so we're talking years' worth of uncertainty and anxiety.

But this time around, should the axe fall upon my beige neck I'm ready for it and I'll just have to man up and sell boy-pussy in videos with titles like BEEF CHUNX 'N' GRAVY or BEARS' NIGHT OUT.


Anonymous said...

I do have to criticize one aspect of your account of things. You mention "service" -- twice, in fact, also use it to describe your current workplace. Since when has any recognition of a goods or service performed, worked its way up to the bosses? Saying thanks is cheap but meaningless, dinners, parties and 5-10-year gifts are deductable. I've never quite understood how the bosses (especially at Marvel when I spent way too much time with a lot of them) never connected what we did "belowstairs" to what they did. My favorite quote (fave 'cause I made it) was that Terry Stewart's $800,000 salary sure took a lot of comics to pay for.

I guess I'm saying that any sort of respect for services performed is a hopelessly romantic dream. But that's why you write, isn't it?

Good luck, chum.

-Professor Brown

Satyrblade said...

*sigh* Sorry, dude. Dammit, I hate hearing that.

Done the layoff dance twice myself - four times if you count the two rounds of layoffs I survived at White Wolf before I wound up on the chopping block myself. You're right - the shredding of morale that occurs when you see the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head (randomly spearing a few of your friends and co-workers) is vicious. In some ways, the final fall of that particular blade is a relief after the waiting and survivor-guilt that comes when it does not... yet.

And yeah, I remember that "Marvelution" shit, too. Seems to me I wrote a nasty letter to Marvel when that phrase wound up in the press... as if it mattered to them. It's my profound hope that someday Ron Perman and his scummy cohorts find themselves cornered by Vault of Horror-level zombies of dead comic-book creators and wind up (during a suitably Marie Severen-equse red-panel climax) run screaming through the printing presses, their pressed, cut and printed bodies being discovered bound in a newsstand bundle the next morning as a pile of "Special Collector's Edition" issues of Steelgrip Starkey and His Amazing Power Tool. (Varient cover editions, obviously.)

"Good Lord! *choke*"

Take care, and good luck dodging the "favor" of Dionysus II(*)!

* - The guy who hung the sword over Damocles' head.

eggs mayonnaise said...

I love you and all, but if you start showing up in my gay porn I may stroke out. Although you could make a name for yourself as the ultimate Cousin Oliver by suddenly appearing in the final orgy scene each time. You could even turn it into an orgy/martial arts fight. You could work your way up to an "And" credit in any movie you did: "And NINJA COUSIN OLIVER".

I've heard from our friend; this truly sucks.

Laser Rocket Arm said...

I work for a gigantor corporation that bought the original company I work for three years ago. Whole departments have disappeared and I have a feeling they're working on a Five Year Plan--once they get their people up to speed they'll have no more use for us. It's happened to me twice, I know the signs. Sending good thoughts your way.