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Dispatch / Gloats / February 11, 2009

The past few weeks, national headlines swirled with distressing news for an American workforce already cowering in fear. As the world suffers the worst economic turmoil since the Great Depression, two-thirds of American CEOs plan to fire employees in the next year, Obama stimulus or no. Something like 70,000 people lost their jobs on a single Monday two weeks ago. I thought I was going to be one of them. I should have been one of them. But my job is safe and secure. Not by virtue of my skill set or my indispensability to the Company; no, my job security rests firmly on my employer’s catastrophic ineptitude.

I’m a copywriter working for an Internet subsidiary of R.H. Donnelley, better known as the Yellow Pages company. They had stock worth $80 this time last year. Weird, since their main product is a useless brick of cheap paper now mainly used for propping open doors and to beating toddlers without leaving any bruise marks. But just a few weeks ago the stock finally made the drop to under a dollar. As it turns out, the company’s executives decided that it was the perfect time to renovate their offices.

We got our lay-off announcement about six months ago. The subsidiary I work for handles pay-per-click campaigns (like the ads on Google) and other copywriting tasks for small businesses. We were told our company was “restructuring,” meaning everyone would be fired. People started to sweat. There were panicked conversations in the breakroom. Pay-per-click analysts vowed to go rogue and started contacting plumbers and day-spas, trying to sell them on the necessity of targeted Internet advertising. Copywriters tried to cloud their impeding financial doom with daydreams about those $75 an hour New York gigs where they give you six months and a twenty-five-man team to come up with “Just Do It” and a swish. But it seemed all that worry was for nothing. Our lay-off deadline came and went. And we still have our jobs.

Compassion was not a factor. The execs had come up with a restructuring plan they needed us to carry out before cutting us loose on the breadlines. It was like forcing someone to dig their own grave, and it would have been sadistic if it wasn’t such a total failure. On paper, our bosses wanted to have us “fully automate” the implementation of pay-per-click campaigns. I laughed long and hard at that one during our lay-off announcement. The task was literally impossible. Conceived by stupid executives, it was as poorly thought through as the policies that sent the stock into the gutter. But the ancient management types have very little knowledge of how anything in our office actually works. They brainstorm independently of us, the people who actually know. Their plans only work on paper, unlike my check, which can be converted to hard cash. (That is, as long as the banks hold up.)

It’s kinda funny to think of these assholes at work, all of them in their fifties with “Just For Men” highlights in their hair, sitting around a boardroom, watching a PowerPoint presentation that strategically stimulates the vague concepts that make up their costly expertise. There’s positive language all around. Back slapping. Optimism. Smiles. Underlings are well-advised to only sniff ass, never say anything smart. Insight is just a threat to the hierarchy when the people on top are delusional — ask any apparatchik. A break for a two-hour lunch is taken. And that’s when some long-term plan is finalized. A huge figure with too many zeros to count is called out. Papers are signed. And everyone goes home happy.

Now I hear they’re outsourcing the advertising copywriting — my job — to India. I assume the 200-word ads will soon look like those glaring, non-native English speaker Nigerian spam letters. The irony, of course, is that it makes sense. Our office is hilariously inefficient. All you had to do was fire people who do nothing, and give the rest an incentive to do things. But with the execs’ misguided PowerPoint plan, I’m glad to report the entire bloated and redundant workforce keeps getting its checks. Now 85% of the office, following my lead, “works from home,” doing maybe a half-hour of work per day. This has been going on for months.

I wanted to sign my name to this article and forward it to my boss, so I could go out in a blaze of glory. But I’ve reconsidered. I mean, why blow a sure thing? I could milk this job for months to come. I’ve been “working from home” — I mean, playing Fallout 3 — all last week.  I did no work at all. NOTHING! You can’t believe how good it feels to send in a timesheet and get paid $500, with the knowledge that you won’t have to do a single lick of labor when next week rolls around. There’s like 40 or 50 people in the office doing the same thing. It’s better than working for the government! Since everybody’s getting fired, even management’s doing it, brazenly. And since the execs are mired in their own folly, everybody keeps getting paid.

While the bosses, dizzy with success, “perfect” the new system, I get to perfect my masturbation technique. It’s a regular welfare state. It’s sort of like the Soviet Union, but with better entertainment. Thanks, execs!

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41 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Joe  |  February 11th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Man, I wish I’d worked for your company instead of CBS :( Are you guys hiring?

  • 2. GOD  |  February 11th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Joe, you retard. Did you read the article? Do you live in INDIA??

  • 3. Jacob  |  February 11th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    awesome

  • 4. Baked Dr. Luny  |  February 11th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    The scary thing is when you realize that the people running everything are just as stupid as the rest of us. The only thing making the market better than the government is that at some point reality kicks in and you go out of business, unless, that is, the government steps in and hands you $800 Billion just for shits and grins. The really horrible thing is that we’re probably just making things worse and dragging this out longer than necessary.

  • 5. foo  |  February 11th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    “I hear they’re outsourcing the advertising copywriting — my job — to India. I assume the 200-word ads will soon look like those glaring, non-native English speaker Nigerian spam letters.”

    Indo mean “India”.

    English is a Indo-European language, tracing it’s roots all the way to Proto-Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit basically)

  • 6. Oelsen  |  February 11th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    And, after outsourcing to India all falls apart. Nice plan, execs. With big (Big-500-big) companies pulling out of India, because there are mostly incompetent assholes left for those coming too late and turning whole departments into marketing departments, for that, after India finally gets it, the company can finally start to sell something; with big comapnies shifting divisions back to america because the dollar is weak enough to make it economic; or just to China, because the Chinese actually work… India will become a big hole after the world economy rebounces. No policy, no social structures that could help solve anything. Just racism and greed (like everywhere, but there its _teh_ system).

    I really hope your company stays that way this year and you can enjoy the free time. I would sign up for learning something or exercise, or just playing games as you did. Hilarious. No economic theory says anything about the incompetent inertia of drooling management that worsens an economic slump. All they do is blaming the state with its lame duck stimulus package. I am sure, that if they would understand something, have the foresight and work out plans that consider the future, not their guts, most companies now in trouble wouldn’t be. And after the banks get sorted out, we all could begin again.

  • 7. Harv  |  February 11th, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    fuckin asshole

  • 8. Izy  |  February 12th, 2009 at 12:43 am

    “I wanted to sign my name to this article and forward it to my boss, so I could go out in a blaze of glory.”

    Good decision, why should you give your knowledge to your boss for free ?? This would be stupid.

    “But I’ve reconsidered. I mean, why blow a sure thing?”"

    Bad decision. IF you stay in such job, you will end up playing Fallout 3 and masturbating … you will end up like a looser and a woos … you should find yourself a job, where you could do something of your self … to become something, not just masturbating Fallout player, working for peanuts …

  • 9. mechagodzilla  |  February 12th, 2009 at 12:54 am

    the message I gather from foo’s comment is that english and indian languages and dictions are not so far apart and that indians are perfectly capable of forming a reasonable sentence as a result.

    That’s a steaming pile of horseshit, especially when viewed from the point of views of proto-languages.

  • 10. Yuriy  |  February 12th, 2009 at 1:28 am

    foo, don’t get offended, nobody is taking away that outsourcing job from you ;)

  • 11. Spanky  |  February 12th, 2009 at 1:37 am

    ‘Indo mean [sic] “India”.

    English is a [sic] Indo-European language, tracing it’s [sic] roots all the way to Proto-Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit basically)’

    Amazing insight. Now learn the written form of the language!

  • 12. Alok  |  February 12th, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Oh crap… this comment section is going to be filled by Indian morons with nothing better to do than take offence at everything on the internet.

  • 13. it's true  |  February 12th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    what’s you’re point foo? That’s like saying an Italian speaker could write an advertisement in perfect French because they’re both romance languages. And those languages are a hell of a lot more similar than English and Hindi.

    stop being a show-off and get some common sense

  • 14. Janitor X  |  February 12th, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Reminds me of my old IT job at Client Logic. I’d show up, check my email, then go hiking the rest of the day….

    … now I mop floors, but like you said…. it’s job security baby!

  • 15. mean indo  |  February 12th, 2009 at 6:16 am

    sheeeeee-it brah, you got foo’d!!!!

  • 16. Homer Erotic  |  February 12th, 2009 at 6:57 am

    This article gives more than a small amount of insight as to why this country was bound to have very serious problems sooner or later.

  • 17. Michael  |  February 12th, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Indians are the most slavish brown-nosers on the planet, and they have a natural knack for sniffing out hierarchies and management structure (when their nostrils aren’t brimming with feces). It’s what you’d expect from a country whose caste system keeps families in prostitution generation after generation. On the other hand, well-educated Indians are much sharper than our Ivy Leaguers, and speak the Queen’s English more articulately and wittily than most of us can muster. But given that standard cost-of-living adjustments raise Indians’ pay by around 15% every year, you may see your next pay-per-click ad delivered straight from Nigeria.

  • 18. thucydides  |  February 12th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Paychecks for Fallout 3. Excellent! Now you can work on improving your Big Guns and Sneak skills for cash.

  • 19. willyblues  |  February 12th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    must be a lame or new copywriter if he’s only making 25K a year. My first advertising job in 1996 out of college paid 30K

  • 20. Lance  |  February 12th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    See, this is what’s going to fuck our economy. Idiots like this who were stuck in a stupid company and are now being given a golden opportunity to find something better.

    He’s getting paid to do nothing, and has all the free time in the world. Is he spending his time polishing his resume? Perhaps getting some extra classes or certifications under his belt to broaden his skill set and make himself more valuable? Nope, he’s playing video games and jerking off.

    With a workforce like that, we’re fucked.

  • 21. Joe Blow  |  February 12th, 2009 at 10:37 am

    you need to put in for overtime…..

  • 22. bjacques  |  February 12th, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Not exactly polishing the *resume*

    Sweet, but working from home means you can’t loot the office. Nor will you know when the potted plants disappear–a sure sign the axe will swing in earnest.

    On the other hand, you’re not wasting money and time on the commute that you don’t get back anyway.

  • 23. Allen  |  February 12th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Granted the article’s author is being a little shameless, but some of you in “the working slugs are letting us down!” crowd are missing the take home message.

    Management is grossly incompetent in a lot of places; they don’t control their employees; they don’t posses skills in any way commensurate with the financial resources they absorb; many of them are paranoid and irrational latter climbers who negatively affect the companies they run.

    It’s a lot like the many, many, people who blame those who took on mortgages they couldn’t afford for the economy woes. This even though greedy ass lenders targeted them — usually the undereducated and ignorant — with slick sales presentations on how it “would all work”.

    And why? Because fucking management flat out told people to sell those loans no matter what.

    And that isn’t even the real reason why it crippled the financial industry — morons sold and resold the mortgages as guaranteed investments grossly inflating their impact on the economy.

    And why? To make the numbers on stock prices go up and up and up (see Enron). These geniuses figured that perception is reality in business … at least for a while. Meanwhile no one in the financial industry was able to figure out what was going on/or stop it.

    There’s a certain mentality the maintains that those who make it “to the top” must always know what they are doing and be really hard working and admirable. In truth the very opposite is very often true — the emperor has no clothes.

    Now that the economy is in the shitter, more and more companies are being exposed for having terrible management structures and flimsy ass business strategies that only floated when the economy was in “irrational exuberance” (to paraphrase a recent fallen financial messiah). Now its fat cutting time, and you can thank many of the dangerously under-qualified people you look up to for it.

  • 24. Eye del Cul  |  February 12th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Amazing… Joe, keep that “work” while it pays. The system isn’t honest with you, so, why you should be honest with the system?

    And, like we say in Spain, “que te quiten lo bailao”.

    >> “He’s getting paid to do nothing, and has all the free time in the world. Is he spending his time polishing his resume?”

    Well, he’s spending his time…, living a life, or something. You have only one, after all.

  • 25. Dango  |  February 12th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I hate the new Exile readers. What a pile of idiots.

  • 26. troseburger  |  February 13th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Allen, you lost me at “latter climbers”.

  • 27. Baked Dr. Luny  |  February 13th, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Look at all that soda in the pic. Does this guy want diabetes or something?

  • 28. RHD BLOWS  |  February 13th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Joe – Nice post man. Some of these readers are missing your point, but I get it. Funny enough that I too worked for an RHD Internet subsidiary. As I think you worked for a different one… We had the same experiance. To the t. I was a lucky one and got out as soon as the writing was on the wall, but if I were in your shoes, I’d do the exact same thing.

    Fallout 3 is a great game.

    On another note, would love to have your contat info where I have some freelance writing jobs that come up from time to time. Could use a good copywriter.

  • 29. John Doe  |  February 13th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I used to work there as well and found out this guy got fired yesterday. Good luck finding a new gig dumbass!

  • 30. Ball De Sack  |  February 13th, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I used to work there – quit about a year ago. I can’t help but agree with several points, however, I wouldn’t be so brazen as to include in your story key components that could be used to terminate your employment – if that’s what you call it. The “stupid” executives, especially if you paint them accurately, don’t like to me made a mockery of…

  • 31. Fast Fred  |  February 13th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    RE incompetentcy with bonuses:

    America has a serious problem with executive responsibilty and shareholder rights. Shareholders albeit the owners have been disenfrachised in general and especially in regards to executive compensation. These issues are a major threat to capitalism.
    In regards to executive malfeasance and capital punishment in China, Americans still live in a democracy with a functioning court system and trial by our peers. Not perfect but a far cry from fascism and communism.

  • 32. aleke  |  February 13th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I used to work everywhere and I found out some untrue rumors.

  • 33. Abraham  |  February 13th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Fallout 3? What year do you think this is?

    Fallout 3 has a thousand flaws and there are barely any mods worth your time. There are far better games to waste it on.

    Look around a bit more, be a bit more liberal with the torrents, and you’ll wonder how you ever threw away so much time with the Easy Mac of Fallout when there’s so much restaurant food out there, for free too.

  • 34. Ajax  |  February 13th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Gee, what a surprise he got fired. I guess the post should now be titled “Dumbass too incompetent to hold even an easy job”.

  • 35. Allen  |  February 13th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    perhaps I meant “latter”-day climbers … with the power of magic undergarmets.

  • 36. jake  |  February 13th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Just an update “Joe” was fired yesterday. it took the company 10mins to track since Joe was a numbnuts and sent it from his work computer. Apparently he will be experiencing the wellfare state froma different angle.

    dumbass

  • 37. I Used To Work There, Too  |  February 14th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Milk it! The check at the end of the road is pretty nice. Not many companies give you a 6 month warning about you losing your job, so you should be somewhat appreciative of their “courtesy.”

    I’m going on vacation for a long time with that $$$ =)

  • 38. fajensen  |  February 16th, 2009 at 4:44 am

    Sweet, but working from home means you can’t loot the office. Nor will you know when the potted plants disappear

    The potted plants around here are made of plastic! Should I worry?

  • 39. PaigowPokerOnline  |  February 16th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I also work from home, but still, i do more than 9 hours of work evryday

  • 40. valuyev  |  February 16th, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    nice, this reminds me of the attitude that people had in the soviet union during gorbachev era. This is the perfect jumpboard for new oligarchs to emerge and grab the golden goose. Just keep sticking your head in your ass and play Fallout bro.

  • 41. vasya  |  February 17th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    lucky fucky. i had to go to mental clincis for a month to earn the right of doing nothing just checking emails. from home of course.


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