Rumors of strikes, severance pay and war
by Matt Worley
A few weeks ago, it seemed like it was going to rain everyday. And then it just didn't. Every once in a while it would drop a bit, but it always stopped soon after. Albuquerque, for the first time this year, got the average amount of rainfall for an entire month. And we got that rain in about three days. But since then, it's just been hot.
I think the heat is getting to me.
I drift through days at work without getting a lot done--just doing what is necessary and that's it. For a guy who is in a labor dispute with his company, I'm not necessarily showing the most enthusiasm for my current vocation. I have no union, and I'm tired of trying to rally co-workers to my cause. When there is no benefit for other employees to help me out, no one is going to stick out their neck. Although one of our interns did offer to "tell whoever is necessary" that I deserve everything I want, it's not the big coalition needed to change the boss's mind. I'm not even sure if he knows the intern's name.
And, to be honest, I'm not trying to start a revolution. My maneuvers are purely selfish. If I get what I want, it will likely do nothing for anyone else at the company other than have someone else to point to and say, "He makes more money than me."
This is not to say I'm on the MLB players side. I'm tired of millionaires (on both sides) talking about not making enough money. I don't think owners should bitch about their franchise not making enough money--they own a MLB team! While it's not a public service company, it does provide entertainment and pride for their respective communities--and a lot of the operations are paid for with public money. Most stadiums in MLB cities (as well as other professional sports) are built with tax money, meaning that the owners are getting a very nice office building to work in relatively cheaply.
Knowing the irony of trying to prize more money out of the natives at the same time baseball players are setting strike dates, I do my machinations behind the scenes for the most part. I don't have to answer to the press about my demands and needs. This makes garnering support a little tough.
The Prez and his cronies (is there any other way to describe them?) are trying to do this with Iraq. Every day, every week, we hear about war plans. We hear that we must crush these people (because it's not just one person, it is an entire country) before it's too late. Apparently they believe that if Saddam is ousted everything will turn out neatly in Iraq and the Middle East in general.
Someone seems to be forgetting that whatever government might take over after Saddam will be far from stable, and may not share our same philosophy about how to run a country. If they weren't already wearing their war blinders they could just look at the last country we turned into a smoldering hole: Afghanistan is one of the most unstable places in the world right now--with the possible exception of the West Bank.
And so my internal fight goes on. Without a coalition, without a clear mandate and without much support by the upper management for what I claim is my worth to the company.
They know I won't quit over this. We are in a recession, and I've been through one of these before. When I graduated from college in the early 90s, I entered a tight job market. It took me four months to find a minimum wage job renting videos. A year after I got that job, I was finishing seasonal work renting skis for just slightly above minimum wage. While I do have more marketable skills now than I did then, it doesn't mean I could get a job that pays me what I make now. And I'm not even looking elsewhere.
Hearing about ex-Enron executives filing for million dollar severances (on top of the millions of dollars they made while they were working) in bankruptcy court just makes it worse. Because they are using the same tactics as the guy who made $30,000 a year and was laid off is using to try and get some of his retirement back. They were employees of a company that went in the shitter, and they feel entitled to a little payback. My only hope is that the judges can separate those in real need from those who are just being greedy.
Which makes me wonder if I'm the greedy one. I was hired into this job with no real experience on the hope that I'd work out. The fact that I did is not completely lost on upper management, but neither is the fact that everything I've done to make myself valuable came from within the company itself. I learned on the job well, but if I tried to come into this company now (with the same experience I had when I was first hired), I'd be holding onto the bottom rung of the ladder with slick fingers.
And so the impasse continues. I keep telling myself it'll be solved one way or another before the baseball players strike. Before we strike Iraq again. Before the bankruptcies of mega-companies slows down to a manageable trickle.
Hopefully in a week or two I won't have to go searching for a small box to put my personal items in as the upper management looks on, making sure I don't take any company secrets with me.