Posts Tagged ‘ surplus ’

So, you think your life is “interesting”? – Part 4

Hit another milestone today: received my “Revalidation of Advance Notification of Layoff.” By law, this must be delivered to the surplused – “displaced” – worker fourteen days before his last day as an “active” employee. What this really means is that, if the company does nothing at all, I am out the door in two weeks. However, the company can, in fact, deliver an extension anytime up to the eleventh hour. So, I am still between the devil and the deep blue sea for another 15 days, 8 hours and 30 minutes (give or take). Put another way, I am expected to be moving toward the door for the next two weeks and then, at the last minute, I could be extended (i.e., retained as an “active” employee). Pretty much a “it’s almost definite,” or “definite maybe, possibly.” Even being laid-off is not in the same category as death and taxes.

The daughter, and her little, precious angel have left. Both my wife and I cried. But, in bed that night, I told my wife that I didn’t think our daughter’s “new life” was going to last long. I would have said that anyway, but after hearing how things went at the airport earlier that day….

The daughter got almost everything packed up. Almost. ‘Course, she had the safety-valve of saying, “Mom, could you mail this stuff to me?” And, “Mom, could we drive to Tacoma to pick up the son’s birth certificate?” Sure, a thousand things to do that day (the wife is 24 weeks pregnant. With twins), and instead of having the birth certificate mailed to the address on record (where we live), and thus saving a two hour drive (round trip) to the department of vital statistics, the daughter chose the option to pick it up. On the way to the airport? Did I mention that the grandson is two months and two weeks old? And the grandson’s mother still doesn’t have a birth certificate? Really? How do people live like that?

The wife drove the daughter and the grandson to the airport, where Meathead was waiting. Now, I can appreciate (more than most) how confusing some airports can be – I have lost count (literally) of the number of airports I have transited in my life. But some, like Seattle’s “Seatac” airport I could navigate blindfolded in the dark. Even my wife knows how to get around. The daughter, who has been thru that airport on the order of a dozen times, got lost. Following the wife.

Seatac has a parking garage that is connected to the terminal building by a number of “sky bridges” (what other kind of bridge is there?). You get out of your car, get on an elevator (it doesn’t matter what floor you have parked on, it doesn’t matter what your airline is), go to the fourth floor, and via any sky bridge, cross the access road to the main terminal building. At that point, you have to choose to go upstairs to ticketing (departures) or downstairs to baggage (arrivals). My wife goes to the elevator because she is pushing the stroller, and our daughter takes the escalator downstairs. Meathead follows. Fortunately, wife is looking at daughter and gets daughter’s attention before visual is lost.

They rendezvous at the United ticket counter, where there are self-service kiosks.   I have used them, and if you are computer savvy, they’re pretty slick. How a 20-something can’t figure it out is beyond me; but, there’s the daughter, poking at the touch screen…and poking…and poking. Wife flags down an attendant and whispers, “They need help.” So, with expert help, daughter is well on her way to checking in, and waves off attendant. Poke…poke…poke. Finally, done.

Meathead just stands there with his thumb up his ass. So, he’s not a world traveler. I get it. But, is he the least bit interested in helping? Or learning? Daughter and boyfriend make Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels look like Einstein and Oppenheimer.

Oh wait, there’s bags to check. Poke…poke…poke. Attendant returns. More hand-holding. More poking.

There’s a plane change in Chicago. No offense to Chicago, but that airport is idiot proof if you’re just transiting. However, daughter and boyfriend have only one hour…. Did get a phone call (surprise) that the intrepid troupe did arrive in D.C. (another surprise).

BTW, I have to mail the application form for a copy of the birth certificate to the government. And write a check for twenty bucks. Any bets on whether or not the grandson gets his vaccinations? You know, the ones due at six weeks.


So, how do I react to the news that I have been surplused? It’s not like it’s a surprise: the rumors have been fast and furious for about six months now, all that the news in the local on-line newspapers did was confirm the rumors. Not, of course, that management had the moral courage (aka “balls”) to tell the employees before they read about it online (or, in my case, before my mother sent me the URL).

True, the loss of the paycheck, and therefore the lifestyle I had come to enjoy is a big deal. No doubt putting the house on the market and trying to find another paycheck came earlier than my plans; but, what are my plans when compared to those of the corporate club? Clearly, nothing. Nothing at all.

But, this is the endgame. 29 years ago, the company recruited me out of a university in the Midwest and paid all relocation expenses to move my family and me to the Pacific Northwest. Now, my job here in Puget Sound no longer exists, and if I choose, I can apply for the same job in Southern California – at far less pay, in a state with a much, much higher cost of living. Granted, at the company’s discretion, I am paid far more now than then (my federal income taxes now are greater than my gross salary then), but I am conceited enough to think that I have learned a thing or two along the way and have more value – bring more to the table – than I did. Silly me.

If you think about that fable of the ant and the grasshopper, I am the ant; but I didn’t expect to be put out to pasture this soon. At age 60, I was planning on another ten-to-fifteen years of useful contribution (I like my job, sorry). All these years of building relationships with customers that shell out millions of dollars to buy a product that lasts for twenty or more years? Down the drain. How important are those customers now? Hell, I have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay; the customers can go pound sand.

All that practical stuff aside, it is the subterfuge, the lying, the equivocation that gets my knickers in a knot. I have never subscribed to the philosophy that those in the club were my betters, despite their constant reminders. I know I did not need to sign an “ethics challenge” year after year because some corporate vice-president made promises to a Pentagon buyer (and by email no less – what a maroon!). Fast forward to “geographical diversification” and I know of a second level manager that took a “company business trip” to look for housing in Southern California – and this was weeks ago. If customer service is the “crown jewel” of the company, why move it? Evidently, whatever my co-workers and I have cobbled together despite corporate greed, it’s working by their admission. Hey, if it ain’t broken…you know the rest.

It is the stringing us along, so we don’t bolt – i.e., look after Number One as our supposed betters are doing – that sticks in my craw. “You’re valuable,” “you’re essential”, “you’re the crown jewel” – so let’s move! Wow! Whadda concept. Take the recent Superbowl Seattle Seahawks or whoever won the Stanley Cup or the World Series, and change everything! Release all the players, dismiss the coaches. Who would ever expect a strategy like that? Certainly not Airbus. No doubt they have been caught completely off-guard and will never recover.

History will not be kind.