Mar 6, 2009

Can I have a beer now please?

Just finished one of the toughest weeks of my life. We started downsizing this week. I had to fly out to LA and close an office of 23 people down. Not just any 23 people either… 23 of the nicest, most gracious people in the world. I can’t tell you how many of them said “Oh this must be so hard on you.” It made it so much harder that they were all so nice about it. Then I caught a red-eye flight back to do the same thing all over again here in Michigan, close a 7 person department of people that I work with every day. Then to cap it all off, a company wide meeting today with the survivors where I explained that 15% more people will follow in the next two weeks from each and every department in the company. Good luck everybody.

I am just heartsick. Good news is we have a very generous severance package so we are able to take very good care of the people that have been with us for a long time. Up to a year's severance pay for some of them.

On a less depressing note let me share a couple of things from my travel.

Sat in the airport bar drinking a beer, directly behind a guy who had to have known he was sporting the largest plumber’s crack in history. It should have been nicknamed the “Great Divide” or the “Plumber’s Abyss.” Yikes.

People who talk on their cell phones while on airplanes drive me crazy. These conversations fall into one of two categories:

1) Tarmac updates
“Yeah we’re still on the tarmac. About to pull away from the airport.”
“OK, well just thought I would let you know”
“I’ll call you when we land”

“Yeah, we just landed.”
“Should be at the terminal in a few minutes”
“I’ll call you from baggage claim”

Wouldn't be so bad if they added some kernel of uselful information in their converstaions. Is there anybody out there really so interested in the exact location of your plane? Shutup.

2) Conducting business
These are the people who conduct business while on the plane. They either call up somebody who is obviously below them in the pecking order and proceed to give them instructions on how to handle things in their absence, talking to their underling liek they are an imbecile. Or you get people that just have to close this big business deal. Or they want to discuss some brilliant strategy with a co-worker. All the while throwing in some industry specific jargon just to make sure we understand how in the know they are.

I don’t care how important you are. Yeah, yeah we get it, you’re a mover and a shaker. I am stuck in a tin can unable to avoid hearing you so do me the courtesy of shutting up, nobody cares.

Gosh… gotta get a beer and relax a little.


  1. Well, I never realized how difficult HR can be until now. Hearing your stories and what is going on at my workplace is heartwrenching. Thinking about you often!

  2. I'd tell you not to feel bad about having to do your job,but I know it wouldn't make it any easier.
    Crap..Got another beer?

  3. Sigh - Can't wait for April when all this is over.

    Sis - definitely helps to talk to somebody about this craziness.

    Sling - Would you like a Warsteiner or a Miller Chill?

  4. That must be so awful to have to be the one to do that to may be just the mouthpiece...but still hard. I hope you are okay. Re phones on planes...I have never heard anyone using one. We are told on Qantas and virgin to have them all off till we are airborne...but most people seem to leave them off. I think they would be frowned upon by all over here, but we lag behind you by about 10 years in some'll happen i guess.