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Justifying your existance...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by doubledown68, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. doubledown68

    doubledown68 Active Member

    Unfortunately layoffs are nothing new in this business. I've been lucky enough thus far to avoid a major bloodletting, but it appears that luck is going to run out.

    We were told on Thursday that our efficiency will be examined over the coming week. (The Bobs from Office Space, etc.)

    So for the next week we've got to document our day: how much time we spent doing this, how much time we spent doing that, how many bylines, briefs, calls, posts, yada, yada.

    The fucking cool part -- besides how insulting it is -- is that no standards were given. Do they want more bylines? More web posts? Who the fuck knows?

    So we do this for a week, and then in two months, supposedly, they'll come in with axes and start swinging.

    As for me? I think they already have a great idea who they'll let go. I don't know if I'm safe or not, but I think all this is ham-handed justification for decisions they've already made.

    So I'll justify my existence by doing my job, just as I have since they hired me. But frankly I wish they'd just have the balls to do what they're going to do anyway.
  2. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    Unfortunately your paper is looking for reasons to fire people. If workers cut their own throats, it makes management's job even easier. If you value your job, play along. I say even exaggerate what you do. If you talk to parents after a practice or a game, write down you maintain a positive and productive presence in the community for the newspaper. Fight BS with BS.
  3. The bad thing about this is everyone is going to inflate what they do all week and put in more hours than they have all year, which for all I know is already more than the 40 they're probably paid for. When that happens, how can you even expect these things to be reliable?
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    yes, what a silly exercise, and I'm sure the company is paying these "consultants" to come analyze everyone's job performance...something the higher-ups are more qualified to do and should be doing anyway.
  5. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Hey doubledown, going through this exercise -- which I agree is insulting -- is actually to your advantage at this time of year. You're busy as all hell getting your football tab ready, doing previews of other fall sports, trying to get info out to coaches and ADs about how to report results to the paper, etc. If they did this to you in June or July your day certainly wouldn't look as busy as it does right now. I agree with rpmmutant -- detail everything you do that is a part of preseason preparations, no matter how small it is.

    But I agree these sorts of things make you want to do anything but work. We go through this every time someone leaves and the paper makes a decision about whether to fill the job or not. How many bylines did the departing person have each week, what was our inch count, etc. It's just flat-out demoralizing. But management doesn't give a crap about that. Such is the state of our business.
  6. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    Sounds like The Bobs from Office Space. Sorry, man. Good luck.
  7. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    They did something like this at our office a few months ago. The result was they got rid of the night (police) reporter and changed it to a day shift with more feature reports.
    When something major happens after 6:30, our newsroom is completely useless. Really keeping newspapers relevant.
  8. webo

    webo New Member

    Corporate nonsense. (FYI: If you do use the word existence in the process of justifying your existence, make sure you spell it right.)
  9. doubledown68

    doubledown68 Active Member

    Gotcha, chief. This week was busy for me regardless. And I'll play the game. But like I said, I think decisions have already been made.... nobody who they're looking to eliminate is going to have their job, short of winning a Pulitzer.
  10. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    They did this at my wife's paper about two months ago. They had everyone document what they did for two weeks.
    Unfortunately, we took a vacation one of those weeks. One week after we got back to town, my wife was let go.
    The shittier thing is one of my wife's friends was in the hospital one of the weeks with her sick son. She too was let go in the same round of lay-offs.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    As you've said, the decisions have probably already been made, pretty much. Given that, there likely isn't much you can do to save, or to not have to save, yourself at this point. Inflating hours, or work, artificially or temporarily, just for looks and just for now, probably shouldn't be done, either, because then that might be used against you.

    When it comes to those things, companies really do prefer that you work smarter, not harder, and not just as a new, wholly uncreative mantra but as a basic tenet of business success. It really does make sense, in the all-important economic/bottom-line way that is critical to any business.

    Just do your job to the best of your ability. That's really all you can do -- ever. Beyond that, this type of decision is out of your hands.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm 55, and I've been accused of being too nice about evaluating people throughout my life, and it's just finally sinking in how many stupid people there are in this business. Stupid, misguided, hard-headed (the wrong way), ignorant ... grab a thesaurus and fill in your own adjectives.
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