October 29, 2003
Unless you had been here in the company’s heyday, you would probably not recognize the quietness as abnormal. You wouldn’t notice any difference at all in my row, that there’s just a bit more laughter and unbusinesslike chatter coming from the cubes than usual. But if you leave our row, you pass by row after row of vacant cubes, a ghost town within Cubeville, if it were, with occasional traces of past accounts, and you could not miss that this is a dying place.
Patches of Halloween decorating mark inhabited areas. Flying bats, spider webs, and black crepe paper all over in an attempt to look festive, ignoring the reality that the 31st itself will be our last day. Somehow, instead of festive, it looks gloomy and pathetically appropriate. Management may be in denial, but all the little people know the place is dying. Management tells us we are good, it is not about the quality of our work. We know that. We know we are too good, and corporate is charging too much money for our services. We know our jobs are going to India, where the new employees will make half what we make and consider themselves fortunate.
I have heard that this is a good thing. I looked at it as our jobs going overseas, putting many Americans out of work and possibly on the welfare rolls. I looked at it as income that would not be available to put back into the economy. Apparently I was mistaken. Apparently this sending jobs offshore is a good thing, because it will help keep services affordable. You know, like the clothes and shoes and other products made in “sweatshops” throughout the world.
So I should be feeling really good about myself right now. My company is cutting costs so they can continue to provide affordable services to consumers. My layoff is helping out the economy. So, why, as I walk past the rows of vacant cubes, do I have this feeing that somehow I am getting the raw end of the deal?