Thursday, September 23, 2004

Mission Keeping my Job: Total Failure

Well, they say that the more times you say a thing's gonna go a certain way, the more likely that it's gonna come true. Well, on September 14th the unemployment-equivalent of the Sword of Damocles came crashing down on me. For the first time in my life, I've been laid off.

I suppose in some ways I've been very lucky to have lasted this long. It was over a year ago when I was first told that my dismissal was imminent. But somehow, I kept dodging the bullet. I had so much luck at finding last minute contracts and assignments that I began to think I was bulletproof. Lots of more experienced, harder-working people had been shown the door long before it happened to me, and really, that's a small accomplishment in itself. But the bullets'll catch you eventually if you don't dive for cover, and this company's been hunting with a chain-gun for a year straight now.

And the optimist in me is doing its damnedest to see the lighter side of the situation. Yeah, I still have some debts from this past summer and a new apartment to finance, but it's no secret that I hated my job. I hated the insecurity (especially after the first threats of being laid off surfaced), I hated the way that management treated the company's employees - with no regard for skill, talent, or need, and I hated the fact that no matter what I did at that company, I never felt that I was given the opportunity to learn and grow and become more than I was before I was hired.

No matter how I look at it, I was a round peg in a square business environment: a writer, designer, and business analyst in a company that only cares about its technical resources and the "bottom line" (read: meeting its profit-sharing targets). And the bottom line was that my time had come, not because I was unmarketable or I wasn't benefiting the company in so many different ways. It was because they were told to slash the payroll and when they looked at me and they looked at their technical analysts, the marketability of their techs over-ruled.

Do I agree with it? Of course not, but I suppose in an IT consulting company, that's just reality. And yet with my dismissal, they have turfed one of only two people in the whole business unit who has any skills as a graphic designer, the only one, to my knowledge, who was qualified to work as a communications officer on client projects, and once again, the only person I have ever come across who can facilitate and conduct business process analysis interviews while drafting charts in Visio on a laptop while the meeting is actually going on.

Of course, I'm not sure the person who made the decision to lay me off had any understanding of any of this or of how it might be translated into profits. In the end, I was a number on a page, and at the time, I didn't have a billable contract, so I was gone, just like that.

And that is why the company will fail in the long term. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but sooner than they realize. Because every time they do this to someone, the first place they'll go to is the competition. They had good people, and they're letting them all slip through their fingers. And afterwards, these people are feeling angry, betrayed, and totally committed to taking every last bit of business away from their former employers that they can.

So, all of this being said, the layoff can only be a good thing right? Sure, but I have to eat! So I'm putting myself out there to the greater world and all of your connected and knowledgeable colleagues and employers. If anyone knows of any opportunities coming up soon that might work out for a guy like me, please get in touch somehow. I would certainly appreciate the help.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Mission Moving Downtown: Total Success

As I write this, I'm sitting in my new living room, which has a very red wall. Don't ask why, but that makes me very happy.

I have now freed myself from the shackles of the cookie-cutter, bland Kanata lifestyle. I have dived headfirst into the freaky, slightly funky-smelling pool of delights that is downtown living. And I'm loving it. Just walking around puts a smile on my face these days. It's so nice to be living life on my own terms and making the most of what it has to offer. And my absolute best season of the year is coming up, the ever-lovely fall. Everything's coming up Milhouse, baby.

So, to commemorate the occasion, I'm gonna finally update my oft-neglected LIST OF 101 THINGS TO DO IN 1001 DAYS. Because, lo and behold, #78 is to move closer to downtown. And I don't think I could move any closer than I am right now without living under my desk at my office.

I also, just tonight, tried oysters for the fist time (#92). And I don't know why I waited this long. They're very tasty, especially when mixed with one of the fine sauces offered by Big Daddy's Crab Shack. We felt obliged to chase it with a pound of fresh crab, eaten straight out of the roasting pan they serve it in. Tasty, and mildly vulgar, just like me.

Now if only I could find the cable to download the pictures from my camera, I could share some brand new pics with you. But somehow it seems to have been misplaced in the move. Hopefully it'll turn up soon.