Friday, April 10, 2009

So Long Old Friend

They let Hank go yesterday, after nearly thirty years of service to the company. So what did he get for his efforts? Some Dunkin Donuts and coffee that he had to share with the few remaining employees. No severance pay, no retirement package, no gold watch. It’s a good thing I got him a happy retirement card because no-one else did. Still, I passed it around to them so they could all sign it. At least he could leave with a little dignity. I felt bad for Hank not only because he is a widower with bad legs and a weak ticker, but that after so many years of service to the company, they barely acknowledged his departure. But then, the management’s commitment to their employee’s well being at our company has never existed. In fact, after cutting back his hours and reducing his hourly rate, they finally laid him off after trying to force him to retire. You see, that’s what they do where I work. Because my boss is too cheap to pay the unemployment, he harasses people until they get so fed up that they quit. Often this works, but some people can tolerate a lot more BS than others, so those who can hang on to their jobs usually do.
Hank had a lot at stake, and he needed the unemployment benefits due him to help with the soaring costs of his medication and doctors bills. Medicare alone wouldn’t cover it, even with the supplemental insurance he had to get. I felt that it was shameful of the owners to do what they did to him, but he was able to hold them off long enough to cover his ass. In this economy, nobody is walking just because their boss treats them badly. So, so long old buddy, I will miss our time spent around the water cooler even though there wasn’t one.
It is Good Friday and the plant is now closed. In fact, it's now close every Friday. It is like a ghost town around here. Most of the lights are off, the factory is completely shut-down, and only a dozen or so office and key people are still here. I guess I’m one of the lucky few. When I started here 2 years ago, we had seventy five employees. We are on a 4 day week and as I sit here and ponder my future, I know that it’s only a matter of time before I get laid off or we go under. While I don’t relish the idea of joining the ranks of the unemployed, it does, at this point seem inevitable. Even though my boss is a totally incompetent megalomaniac, he has managed to keep things afloat. While I don’t want to go down with a sinking ship, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can hang on until the next rescue ship passes by, even a dinghy would work. If not, I guess I’ll just have to swim my way back into the mainstream. No problem, I’m comfortable in the water and I’ve still got a life jacket.

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