Gut Rumbles

December 30, 2007


Originally published January 19, 2006

I never thought I would say such an outlandish thing, but it's true. Sometimes, I miss working at the chemical plant. It's been more than two years now since I last passed through the hallowed portal of the Front Gate the way I did for 23 years, and I often wax nostalgic about the place. I spent a large chunk of my life there and I'll always remember it.

One thing I certainly DO NOT miss about working at the chemical plant is REORGANIZATION: The Cutting Edge Trend of the Moment striking rapture among corporate potentates and hanging the Sword of Damoclese over my head. During my last 10 years at the plant, I survived five different reoriganizations.

"Reorganzation," for those NOT on the Cutting Edge of corporate shitspeak, is a value-added process of human resources reallocation designed to capture competitive opportunities for positive outcomes based on the synergy of change agents, risk-takers and effective teams. Something a lot like this, only less scientific where I worked.

When the company announced another "Re-org," everybody walked around with asscheeks clenched and wondered how long they could live on whatever severance package offered THIS time. This period usually lasted about 90 days, plenty long enough to give employees time to think about Getting Fired. A strange combination of angst, paranoia and pure-ass FEAR spread like a flu through the place. Those were Bad Times.

They never got me in one of those head-count reductions, but I saw a lot of good people get the axe, simply to cut the workforce. Those cuts almost ALWAYS came in management positions, too, because to get rid of a union employee, they had to eliminate an entire JOB, not just one or two people. I was management, so I always got the galloping fantods just like everybody else whenever the Reaper came to make his rounds every two years. Hell--- I had a wife and children to support.

What I experienced is nothing unique. I think all corporations do the same thing today. If you work for them, that "good" job you have is subject to change and/or cancellation at any time. Nobody is secure.

I understand costs and competitiveness, but reinventing yourself every two years sounds kinda schizophrenic to me. I also realize that no employer ever guaranteed me a got-dam thing except a paycheck for work performed. They never promised to keep me until I retired. They never said that they wouldn't get rid of my ass some day. It's a business; it ain't your family, no matter what bullshit some Sunshine Pumper hits you with in teamwork meetings.

It's a jungle, where you may be killed and eaten at any time. It's a hostile environment. I'm glad I'm outta there.

But... y'know... sometimes I STILL miss working at the plant.

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