Sunday, October 28, 2007


Just as HABSOC was ending, I went on vacation. I had postponed vacation until after HABSOC intentionally. I wanted the company to look good at the major trade show for our industry. The first Monday of vacation I woke up to a ringing cell phone. When I answered it I was greeted by the product architect telling me he had just been laid off. "They're laying off a lot of development. Deep cuts. Have a good one!"

To put this in perspective, the architect tends to exaggerate and I don't really care all that much about losing my job. It's a pretty good market these days. Plus, getting laid off on vacation would make for a great story. Alas, it was not meant to be. I dug through the list of numbers in my cell phone and discovered that the only number I had was for a member of the team in another office. I called him and asked him about the lay offs. "We're laying people off!?" Oops. I got the number of one of the programmers at the main office and called him. "Man, it's crazy here. They laid off the architect and our only QA guy. They also got rid of some sales guy. Fenrir's meeting is about to start. I've got to go."

Fenrir is the CEO if you'll recall. I shrugged it off and went about vacationing. At the end of the day Fredo gave me a call and said I shouldn't worry about my job and that we were making some necessary cuts. It all lacks a certain amount of excitement and suspense when you don't really care. I went about my vacation for the remainder of the week.

When I got back one of the other developers on the team was eager to tell me of Fenrir's meeting. The meeting was about how well HABSOC went, how it was creating huge opportunities, and how we had to lay people off. He apparently had a chart whose X and Y axes might have been time and how much money we have respectively (there were no labels or units of measure). There was a steady decline in money, a squiggle, and a sharp increase in money. You see, money was running out (the decline) so we laid people off (the squiggle) thus allowing us time to increase sales mysteriously (the sharp increase). The good news was that the schedule for the increase is "A+", whatever that means. He also screwed up the name of one of the people that was laid off. Unfortunately the name he gave is the name of one of the people that still works here. I'm sure that got a good laugh.

Lay offs concern me most when it's a whole position or department that is eliminated. To date we had lost all of our QA guys (we still have a manager), our dev manager, our docs person and our architect. Luckily we still employ the people responsible for booking travel for the sales people, roughly one executive staff member per regular employee, and the person that orders all of our sodas, granola bars, and Rice Krispie Squares. Thank god. For a minute I was almost worried that we weren't being A+ about these lay offs.


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