Thanks for the information

Yesterday, we were taken into the conference at the community newspaper which employs me to write about local issues, like asphalt curbs that were supposed to be cement and bus stops that are too close to people’s dining room window. By we, I mean everyone who works at the paper—about 25 altogether, including editorial staff (of which I am tangentially associated), sales reps, production people, a randy receptionist. Hosts of this meeting were the bald guy who always gives us the bad news (i.e. the liaison with the corporation headquarters) and Doug, the newly appointed regional director (i.e., new fall guy).

The announcement of the meeting had come the day after the corporation let go about 340 people across the country.

My co-workers were understandably freaked out, although both editor and publisher made points of visiting the editorial room to tell everyone not to worry, the meeting wasn’t too announce layoffs, it was just a follow-up to a survey from a few months ago in which employees of the corporation were asked how the corporation could be a better employer. I believe that was also around the time some employees who attended some kind of meeting were asked to evaluate the corporation based on who the corporation reminded them of, with pictures of, I dunno, John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, or Darth Vader. Most picked Darth Vader.

Anyway, so there we all are, crammed into this conference room, most of us having to stand because there’s something like six chairs in the room. The blinds were closed and a slide-projector turned on as the regional director showed us schematics of the corporation’s goals. Apparently, one of the results of that long-ago mail-in survey was that the minions didn’t feel that they were getting enough communication from head office, and this was how they were responding. However, with people losing their homes, jobs and Republican Party-bought wardrobe, that was the last thing they wanted to hear about.

Yet these two dudes still had to go along with their dog-and-pony show. I almost felt sorry for them. I mean, imagine flashing slides of intersecting circles as you read off lists of corporate goals, all of which basically added up to the fact that the corporation wants to make more money. Newsflash! When all people really wanted to know was if they were going to get to keep their jobs. Or at least, if something could be done about the corporation’s resemblance to a Star Wars villain.

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