Happy Holidays, You’re Fired

January 9, 2010 at 12:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Now that the winter holidays are over, I want to broach a question that, quite honestly, I didn’t want to face during those hopeful, festive days: Why do our corporate masters so often take peoples’ jobs away at Christmas? No, strike that. I know it has to do with budgetary or tax considerations. I guess the real question I have is: How do they live with themselves?

There is never a good time to lose one’s job. But having one’s livelihood taken-away just when extra money is needed to celebrate Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or whatever holiday is one’s preference seems especially rotten. This subject hits close-to-home for me because 9 years ago I had a great career at a company where I’d been 22 years, and then, in mid-December it ended. I was downsized along with a couple hundred other workers. Just in time to ruin our preferred holiday. (The company moved the jobs to Arkansas, where the workers made about half the wages and, last I heard, those jobs are now down in Mexico. Maybe soon they’ll be in Haiti).

And so, every winter I hear stories, not only in the mainstream media but from friends & relatives, about unfortunates who have been blindsided by job cuts. It all reminds me somewhat of an old silent movie, where the hard-hearted landlord throws a needy family out of their hovel on Christmas Eve. They plead for mercy as he sneers and twirls his black handlebar mustache. The dialogue card comes up on the screen when he tells them, “Out in the Snow You Go!”

This year there were two stories of these unfortunates that are within my sphere of acquaintances:

1) My daughter, Pippilotta, graduated with a very smart young lady who went to work 3 years ago at a company in New Jersey. She was Administrative Assistant to a Vice President who had been there 20 years. The week before Christmas, she, the V.P. and a number of others were shown the door.

2) A family friend who works at our county Public Defender’s office told us the sad tale of 3 mid-level employees who were given the heave-ho, also the week before Christmas. The story contained details about the one employee having severe diabetes and, soon, no health insurance and the remaining employees taking up a collection to make sure the children involved would get Christmas gifts (what a nice thing to do!)

Through the years I’ve witnessed scores of these kind of dismissals. A decade or so ago, when they were less common, the newspaper report would usually contain a quote from whatever bigwheel was responsible wherein he would lament something like, “It was the hardest decision I ever had to make.” I never see that sort of comment anymore. Maybe because they figure we’ve caught on: Said bigwheel likely anticipates a huge bonus for his decisiveness. Hell, he probably brags about it down at the country club. And there I’ve answered my own question and the answer is, “Very well, thank you.”

I don’t like to conclude without saying something more upbeat. So I’ll point-out that perhaps there is hope for our bigwheels. Even Ebenezer Scrooge reformed and learned better treatment of his employee. Oops! I forgot, Scrooge was fictional. Well… his creator, Charles Dickens was a product of cruel poverty, with his father an inmate in debtors’ prison. Childhood gave Dickens the background needed to write realistically about the monstrous living conditions of England’s working-class. Those writings eventually helped bring about social reform.



  1. Happy Holidays, You’re Fired! « COTO Report said,

    […] Happy Holidays, You’re Fired! […]

  2. Hungover Guy said,

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

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