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Getting played -- a rant

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Freelance Hack, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    This has been boiling inside me for quite sometime. For some reason -- lack of time, my ADD, whatever -- I've kept it inside. It's been in the back of my head, though, occupying my thoughts. I'm hoping by posting this, it'll get out of my system and move on. If not, well, I guess there's always alcohol.

    OK, you've been warned. Read on if you wish. Reply if you wish. If this sinks faster than Rick Scott's approval ratings, so be it.


    For the last 18 months, I've been played at work.

    It started when my company hired a new executive. Based on his experience, he was given control of our department -- a proposal writing shop. He immediately came in and made us all look like schmucks and idiots who didn't know what we were doing. Eventually, though, as he got to know us and what we did, that started to change.

    He also started laying the groundwork for a major upheaval in our department, which was spread across several locations. He made it clear that the new organization would be totally based in our headquarters. I'm not based there, but after talking with my wife, we made the decision that if it meant keeping my job, we'd move. That wasn't an easy decision for either of us. Our families and friends are all here. Moving to the HQ would require my wife to quit her job and basically set up the homefront while I kept working.

    I started talking to the guy about what it would take and when I could expect it to happen. He talked in generalities, saying it would likely be in a year, so people moving could do so when school was out of session. Made sense. I started doing some background research so I'd be that much more ahead of the game when the time came.

    During the next few months, we had a lot of projects to work on and the company kept pushing back timeframes for the reorganization. They kept telling us how important we were to the company and we needed to keep focusing on our work in the meantime. The reorg would take place in phases with some other execs brought in to lead the way.

    That way ended up being my way out the door. My position was eliminated -- everyone's position was -- when the reorg took place and we were told we had to reapply. When we reapplied, the new people were the ones to interview us. They declined to keep us, citing a desire to go in another direction. Haven't been told when my last day is, but I know it's coming soon. In the meantime, I'm not sure whether to press on working or fire out more resumes -- there's another rant, but I'll save that one for later.

    I have no problem with the decision that was made. I agree with Bill Parcells. If you want me to cook, let me pick the ingredients. My beef is that I was reassured there was a place for me if I wanted to be there. I did, but now I find myself tossed is the scrap pile. I've always thought trust was an important element to a successful relationship, be it personal or professional. I'm not sure others feel that way, and maybe my philosophy isn't the right one to succeed in business. Maybe it's just one of those platitudes that are supposed to hang on people's office wall.

    I'm out not because I'm a bad or unproductive worker. In essence, I'm out because I live in the wrong place. My company thinks they can find comparable (or better) talent in another location. I wish them luck. I wish myself better luck. I basically lost a good year or so of job searching, and I've probably missed out on a couple opportunities that were there for me if I wanted them. Or if I knew I needed them.

    I've learned a few things during this whole process. I guess the most important thing is I'm still too naive. I hate being played and I let myself be played. I enjoy being a team player and contributing to a greater good. But there are times when it's best to be selfish. Sometime over this past year would have been a good time to be selfish.

    I am nothing but a commodity. A cog in the wheel. The majority of us -- probably 95 percent of us -- are replaceable parts. Doesn't matter if we're journalists, proposal writers or accountants. There's somebody out there who can do our job just as well. If that person is cheaper, then there you go. God help you if there's a machine out there that can do your job.

    We live a win-lose society. That's really what the free market is. When somebody succeeds, it usually happens at someone else's expense. It's not always zero sum, but it is in most cases. There are very few win-wins out there. That's what we like to talk about, because that's our hope. That you can benefit from my success and vice versa. That sells better. Hope always beats reality.

    As I said, I'm not bitter at anyone. It's a business and unless I'm running it, I have no say in its direction. I'm also a big boy and can fend for myself. It may be rough for a bit, but I've landed on my feet before. No reason I can't do it again.

    But, chances are, when I get back on my feet, it'll be at the expense of someone else. I hope I remember that. And I hope that if, no, when, the cycle repeats, I'll learn from my mistakes. Is that too much hope?
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Just want to say that I feel for you. That totally sucks.
  3. I feel for you, dude, truly. I haven't been in the business as long as lot of the people on this board, but it took a real knock upside the head to realize that you really have to look out for yourself in this business, because there really isn't anyone else that's going to look out for you. Unfortunately, if someone else has to get screwed for you to advance or for you to do what's necessary for yourself and your family, well then that's what needs to happen. Here's to hoping everything works out for the best.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear of it, Freelance. I've been there, as well as a lot of us on this board.

    If I'm reading your rant correctly, at least they didn't have you move, then dump you. There are plenty of companies out there who would do that. When I was laid off, there was a few people who were transferred elsewhere. And now they have a choice of either getting transferred again, two years later, or losing their jobs (and no, it's not in the Army).

    I've become very cynical about working in a corporate environment. It seems like it's nothing more than higher-ups throwing shit at the wall in the hope it sticks, followed by more higher-ups throwing a different brand of shit at the wall a few months or a year later. And we're the pawns.
  5. I've walked in your shoes, Hack. Saying that doesn't make it feel any better, but I can sympathize.

    I got the same song and dance in my annual review, and three months later I was laid off.

    In short, when a boss tells you how important you are to the company and to keep focusing on your work, keep one hand on your wallet and start updating your resume. That's code for "let us worry about the big picture -- and you're not in it."
  6. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear that, and it took me a while to realize we are all just parts in a big machine: sports, news, insurance salesman, white collar, blue collar.....It doesn't really make a difference. Many times its all in who you know, not what background, skills, or ability you can bring to the table.

    Keep those resumes handy. Its a lot harder to find a job than you would think.
  7. SoCalScribe

    SoCalScribe Member

    Expect zero loyalty at any time from anyone, essentially. That's the lesson I've learned. No matter what anyone says or does, no matter how good or important you are, you could be pink-slipped tomorrow. And that's not just in journalism.

    It's terrible but this is not the Boomer generation of gold watches, nor a nation like Japan where keeping people employed is seen as a societal obligation to some extent.

    My favorite is reading comments on articles online basically calling people who collect unemployment unAmerican and lazy. But there isn't much value in our society any more except by oneself for oneself. Narcissism has come home to roost and you can see that in the corporate world and many other places.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Dude, that sucks. Sorry to hear about it.

    And just letting you know, I also have ADD.
  9. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Well-Known Member

    I am in the same boat. The person who hired me, a person I really wanted to work with, left awhile back and the new guy comes in and reorganizes the department because of financial issues and boom, I am out of a job. Thank you very much for your service, now get the hell out.

    The mistake I made was going to work for a man who had honor and integrity and then being complacent when he got another job. I won't make that mistake again.
  10. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    That's awful. Small upside, you didn't move. I wish you the best of luck in the future.
  11. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    Hack, sorry to hear that. It truly sucks to be treated like that. I lost my first job when a new managing editor was brought in and didn't like me from the start. At one point I asked him if my job was on the line. He said no. The next week, I was canned.
    I used that to motivate me. It still motivates me, 12 years later, to prove him wrong. That would be my advice to you: use what happened to motivate you, not consume you. Don't wallow in self-pity, don't start doubting your ability because of what happened. Bust your ass to find a good job and then kick ass at the job.
    Losing my first job was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally. It may sound strange, but it's the truth.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You'll land on your feet, Freelance.
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