Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Restructuring Activities

The blue bags were the detail that lingered and that you first noticed
As the security guards escorted the unfortunate souls out of the building
The royal blue of our corporate logo, not quite Ikea blue or Big Blue
Lovely plastic bags filled with personal belongings, photos, wages due

The rumours had been spreading for weeks, it was hard to get any work done
We'd all started to worry about bank balances and the lack of emergency funds
The sword of the corporate Damocles loomed large over our heads
Water cooler conversation circled uneasily around the shape of dread

Some started polishing LinkedIn profiles and resumes
Replying to the recruiters' emails, the curriculum vitae
Truth be told, it could have been you that day, it was a roll of the dice
You'd been on the other side previously, the experience wasn't very nice

A day later, in Skype a number of avatars had "Presence unknown" as their status
Next to the grey offline dot, that naming designation was appropriately callous
The faces of the wounded members of your tribe forcibly ejected into the unknown
The rest of you counted your blessings and continued working in the torrid zone

ghana must go versus ikea

The corporate communications were full of inspired euphemisms
Uneasy phrases that outlined the process behind these resource actions
The passive voice reigned supreme, in this agitation there were no actors
The dry prose never assigned clear responsibility, only fudge factors

The actions were ongoing, the separations were involuntary
This opacity about the recent events and their inevitability
It was all about "the changes that we've made", those were mandatory
"The decisions we've had to make", on the other hand, were necessary

Tough love was in our future, there could be no promises about tomorrow
Indeed we were to understand that management was tinged with sorrow
And the logistics were tricky, it takes weeks to layoff thousands
When you wanted to present a human face you had to make allowances

Give them a couple of weeks severance, and explain their options
The bottom line was, we had to put this behind us, it was time to move on
A wilful erasure of the cheeriness and all the previous certainties
The stage was set, we'd simply have to endure these restructuring activities

heavy lifting

In the aftermath of this round of layoffs, I don't quite know what possessed me
To raise my hand, and indeed, my voice at the all hands meeting with my query
I simply asked the smiling executives if they could give us any guarantees
That those who had so grossly misallocated capital in stock buybacks
Had now adopted the right strategy to put The Company on the right track

There was a stunned silence at my impertinence, who knew?
"That's a very interesting question, you're not holding back, are you?
What was your name again?", he chuckled, that's all she wrote
Uh oh, you and your big mouth, I guess they were taking notes

In the event, the answer he gave was as expected:
"Piffle, paffle, wiffle, waffle"
Said with enough empathy to leave everyone baffled
In the land of concern, we wouldn't feel neglected

"Does that answer your question?"
"Indeed, thank you sir, I've learned a great lesson"
Woe is me, I should have kept my mouth shut
My future prospects had just received a haircut

Come to think of it, I never got a raise after that outburst
Luckily they weren't vindictive, they didn't do their worst
I've had years to recover, I make a good living, I can't say that I'm bitter
These days I keep my rather mild critiques of modern day shell games to Twitter

south africa must stay and ghana must go

Restructuring Activities, a playlist

A soundtrack for this pink slip, I must admit I found it difficult to get beyond Gil Scott-Heron who captured this mournful moment with uncanny accuracy. Pieces of a man collected in blue bags. (spotify version)

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log. Concept: November 15 2018; March 25, 2021

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