Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Tried to RSVP Out . . .

. . . of the meet-and-greet with the new managing company, but my refusal went refused.

For those of you who don't know how my job works, it goes like this.

I work in a city office for the department of revenue. To reduce the costs of staffing city employees, the city began experimenting with privatizing certain departments. Hiring private companies to staff certain offices. Five years ago, I was hired by one of those companies. Due to a re-structuring in the contract, the company I work for was forced to sub-contract out my office to a firm that met the new requirements. We were all laid off and had to re-interview to keep our jobs under the new company. The rest has been written about previously.

The five of us who were taken on received an e-mail invitation to a cocktail mixer in the managing company's office in the CBS Broadcast Office. I regretfully declined but was told I had to be there. In short, this wasn't the friendly meet and greet. This was a way to hold the new employee orientation cheaply. It would be more cost-effective to ply us with food and drink after-hours, as opposed to holding an orientation during business-hours that would grind productivity to a halt.

It's a situation you all know. The immediate bond that develops between a drinker, and the person buying their rounds. Those of you from Dodge know exactly who I'm talking about. In the Queen of the Cowtowns we had a man whose sense of self was so ridiculously inflated that it drew awe. In his mind, he produced the greatest hip-hop album of all-time, that he never needed to rap. He felt he could defeat anyone in a battle, that he never had to fight. That his car changed color in the evening sun was his sole laurel. He entered every room to a wave of acclaim, even though it was never there. During the holiday weekends when everyone would return home, he would arrive at the local saloon with his motley band of social barnacles. He would put a stack of money on the bar and tell everyone the drinks were on him. He raised his glass and toasted to his vehicle whose car could sit idle while the blue chrome rims would continued to revolve and revolve. And for those few hours, we'd pat him on the back. Ask what he was up to. Then order more gin and coke.

I now work for that guy.

Not that the CEO isn't a nice guy. He's simply successful enough that his lame jokes never go without a laugh. And there we sat at a dark oak table with leather placements bearing the company insignia before us, the five remaining employees and a few of the new hires. The first-date silence reared about often. It would be broken with his commentary on the grand view from the 14th floor. During another lull, he pointed to a flat-screen television in the corner. The local news aired. "We're on the leading edge of technology. Before we came in, people were using projectors during a meeting. We thought that was so clumsy. Bringing in a projector. We were the first company to use a flat-screen for our meetings. People were blown away. We have a fifty-inch plasma! We own it!" He then turned in his leather chair and looked at the set he was talking about. He sat for a moment and then turned back.

I later asked if it was connected through a wireless router to a nearby PC. "Nah, it's just hooked up with rabbit-ears."

I left early. Welcoming the new hires and stopping to take a leak. One of the retained was in the facility. He was nervous that the place was wired for sound so he only spoke in Spanish. Thinking that the CEO would be unable to crack our Navajo code talk.

And that was the company meet and greet.


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