Thursday, June 5, 2003

June Gloom

Today's a bit odd.

Southern California is experiencing its autumnal weather that it gets in June, called June gloom. This basically means that it's foggy in the mornings and kind of hazily clears up in the afternoon. It's nice that we don't have full-blown summer heat yet. But today is a little more dark and dank than other June mornings. It was actually raining this morning, for one thing.

Okay, it was actually drizzling.

Who says I exaggerate? Okay, okay. It was damp. There. Are you happy now?

With the physical environment being anything but cheerful, the work environment here feels the need to rise to the occasion and match it. A little less than two weeks ago, the announcment was made to us that our parent company wants to sell us. In order to do so, we must appear to be profitable, or at least lean and mean. So they're closing a bunch of our stores and laying 25 - 30% of us off for cost reductions blah blah blah unemployment cakes.

Long story short, today's the day. It's been two weeks of suspense, and in my case, of walking around looking at people imagining them with their heads on chopping blocks, or seeing a big red X through their faces, or even mostly decapitated in some cases (depending on the depth of my dislike for them).

It's nice that we've had this much notice so we can adjust to the idea that we may not be employed after August, but do it already! Bring it on! Let's go!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not eagerly anticipating not having a job, but I wish we could just find out already. We've suggested to the VP of our department that she should just call us all together for a meeting and point to people to let us know who's in and who's out.

She wasn't too keen on that idea. Something about HR and legal rights and blah blah blah lawsuits cakes. Whatever.

Failing that, I'm getting creative. Since we're a branch of Disney and synergy is such a big thing around here, I suggested that we do "The Bachelor: Special Layoffs Edition." Layoffs can be one big rose ceremony.

"Laura, you've been chosen to stay. Will you accept this rose?"

[announcer's voice]: "There are only 5 roses left and 15 employees. Who stays? Who's going? Don't miss The. Most. Dramatic. Rose Ceremony. Yet."

You get the idea.

This morning I ran into my vice president in the restroom. Poor thing. I know she can't run away fast enough, mentally or physically, when she sees me coming. I seem to have gained a reputation for asking questions everyone else is afraid to, which of course can be a little intimidating when you're the one who has to answer them -- her. Oh well. She's the one making the big bucks and driving a company car. Her blessing is her bane. Or something like that.

ANYway. I asked her if she thought I was dressed appropriately for a layoff. "I just never know what to wear to these things." She chuckled -- either because she's humoring me or downright afraid that I'll start a riot. Who knows? Maybe she even thinks I'm funny.

Or not.

She went with it. She's nothing if not game. (Two hunters are in the woods and they come across a naked lady. They looked at each other with raised eyebrows, looked at her, and said, "Are you game?" She shrugged. "I'm game if you're game." So they shot her.)

Laura: "I decided to take the more cheerful approach" (pointing to my brightly striped shirt) "as opposed to the 'black for mourning' route."

Diane: "Oh yes. Black is too depressing. You can see that I'm wearing beige," pointing to her outfit that was, indeed, beige.

Laura: "Yes. Very neutral tones to encourage us that you mean us no harm."

Laura & Diane. Laugh uncomfortably.

Laura: "Hey, so, if I'm on the list, will you please just call me down first so I can get it over with? Thanks." (I believe at this point I actually had my hands clasped together, kind of shaking them at her, to show my sincerity in an annoying pleading sort of way.)

Diane: Can't say anything because she can neither confirm nor deny anything. Laughs REALLY uncomfortably now and leaves.

So, this is my day today. Wondering if/when the call will come. Wondering who of my friends and co-workers will start working on their resumes in earnest today.

The good news is that I've already started interviewing for a job in another division. Early reviews are in and positive. Unofficially, I believe we're just waiting for HR to make the phone call with an offer. Darkness and despair do not yet reign. Gallows humor does, but you gotta do what you gotta do to deal, ya know?

See you at the guillotines!