Friday, March 13, 2009

Okay, everybody just breathe...

Yesterday, our office laid off ten more people, including Jacqueline, Wayne, and my very good friend and prominently-featured-on-WAD colleague Elliot.  Seriously.

Everyone got a few days' notice (Wayne got an entire week, bien sur, pat the baby).  Norman commented that it seemed to him that the ten let go were all good people but were possibly paid a little more than their colleagues.  They also weren't terribly busy, I countered--Jacqueline had been working barely 30 hrs/wk since she had a baby a year ago, and Elliot had been helping the office manager move some boxes and do deadfiling/destruction of old files in our storage units.  Derek and I wondered to each other how Elliot could be laid off at the same time as Wayne.  First off, Wayne should have been gone months ago.  And I realize it sounds like we're voting someone off the island here, but seriously, none of us on Team Howie wanted to work with Wayne.  The guy was useless.  Derek noted, "Wayne's good at the smokescreen, and Elliot is so meat-and-potatoes.  You get what you get with Elliot, and he's very clear.  But Wayne can make it look like he's doing all kinds of things when he's doing absolutely nothing.  And how is Mickey still here but Elliot gone?!"  Another good point--Mickey had been a pain in the ass and only slightly more useful than Wayne.  I worked with Mickey on a project in 2004 and refused to work for/with him again.  He spent the entire day surfing the internet, IMing, Twittering, or whatever the hell it's called.  I would have to go over to his desk and harass him for info at least once an hour, and every time I went over there he was looking at or something.  And yet, he billed 64 hours a week on the project.  You've got to be kidding me.

Ingrid, Liz, and I have been noticing lots of scurrying in and out of conference rooms this week, lots of partners not making eye contact.  The other shoe has finally dropped, and we all sighed in relief and sadness.  Overall, yesterday a lot of really good, strong, competent and pleasant people were let go.  And it gives us all the pea-picking willies.  Our big healthcare architecture boss Alex called us into a conference room and emphasized that we all need to share our work as much as possible to keep folks billable.  If we run out of work and find ourselves with nothing to do, it's okay to work even less than 36 hours.  We may have to go to 32 hours a week, but we just don't know yet.There may be more layoffs, maybe not, we just don't know yet.

There are some small projects in the office, some starting, some about to start.  Alex said that architecture is on the front lines of a crappy economy, and when the work comes back, our industry will be the first to know.  So everyone's still anxious and wondering and hoping and trying not to be freaked out.  And I still remain steadfast in my belief that I have done all I can do.  I've saved up my cushion, I have my plan, and I'm done freaking out.  Last night, after a long and wearisome day, Kitty and I had makeovers at a cosmetic store in the mall and then met Guy for dinner at a wonderful little restaurant a few blocks from our condo.  We even tipped the makeup artists a little something.  As much as I want to be careful with my money, I also believe (and my dear friend Vinnie the psychologist has confirmed this) that there is a psychological component to a recession, and I for one want to put a little breathing room back into the economy whenever I can.  

Tonight, we're going out with Dame Judith for a marvelous dinner, and tomorrow night we're meeting the ever-dear Elliot for pho at a new local restaurant.  And I know I'm whistling past the graveyard a bit here, but I'm tired of being freaked out.  It's not. helping. anything.  Pardon me while I go take a few deep cleansing breaths and relax with my friends and loved ones.


xtine said...

Is Wayne an example of knowing the right people?

I feel so bad for the folks who have been laid off.

Anonymous said...

If you're doing all you can do, then at some point, you have to Let Go, and Let Buddha. Sounds like you're there.

Also, I'm with you - I am making sure to tip appropriately in this economy - its all karma, and while everyone is hurting, I'm not hurting as bad as some folks, and those in the service world who live on tips, are probably seeing a helluva lot fewer people to get tips from.

Mile High Pixie said...

Xtine: Wayne is indeed an example of aligning oneself with the right backsides, pure and simple. I have not seen any evidence that he was actually that good at his job. The people that I know and respect were very reluctant to work with him because of how his management-by-lots-of-meetings style drained your project.

Miz Scarlett: Right on. Let go and let Buddha is a good way to look at it. And I'm so thankful for my job right now I can't even tell you. I want to give the world a group hug.

Wilderness Gina said...

Have you tried running thru the office screaming "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE AAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" ? Ya never know- cain't hurt.