lunedì, dicembre 08, 2008

Merry Christmas (Income is Over)

Hatchet fell at work yesterday in preparation for the next financial year. Nine Americans gone, one girl here, where it's much more expensive to sack people. It was serendipitous it was that girl, who was planning to quit in January anyways, and who now gets a great big payout instead of possibly having to work through her looooong European notice. Nonetheless, it hardly fills me with emotions of security, or affection and attachment to my company. She was a good friend of mine, who's already been locked out of her computer - she just won't be back - and I'm going to miss her being around. Oh well.

This is one of the really fucking charming things about publicly owned companies. Their share price rises and falls in part by function of their quarterly reports, and the financial planning they announce in each quarterly or yearly report. Take the present quarter and year – Q4, 2008. It's a bad quarter, all over the world, and turning out to be a bad year. Companies are losing sales. As companies report losing sales, their share price falls. This is unacceptable, because the company is run by shareholders, or a board of directors representing shareholders, and of course their raison d'être is to maintain a high share price. Not to run a quality company, in terms of ethics or even good production standards, but to maintain or improve the value of the shares.

So, our company, like most, is having a bad quarter. Last quarter was also bad, and there isn't much prospect of next quarter being better in terms of making money come in. That means that to maintain share price, or at least stop it from sliding too much, the only thing to do is announce that in the next financial year, starting January, you're going to stop money going out. And that means firing a bunch of people a couple of weeks before Christmas. That is, right before the most successful consumptive holiday season in the history of capitalism, that whole industries rely on. And then retailers complain because they're not making the Christmas bonanza they usually make, because of course when you're sacked two weeks before Christmas, or see your competent colleagues sacked two weeks before Christmas, like literally millions of people are this dismally unsuccessful year, you don't buy shit. So retailers sack staff and cut their orders in an effort to stop their own cash outflow, and then manufacturers, who were already fucked enough to fire a bunch of people, are more fucked, and then our customers, who tend to be manufacturers, are fucked, and then my company is fucked, and next Christmas a bunch more of us will be fired in an effort to shore up the share price for 2010.

And in the meantime, we who see the hatchet come down swiftly disabuse ourselves of any notion that the company we work for will have any regard or loyalty to us as employees, so we should feel free in every way to jump ship at any attractive opportunity. And this means the company loses assets it's spent time and money training to do very specific work, and must hire more, and waste thousands and thousands of dollars training them, and those thousands must be saved somewhere, so come December, if you've been at the company for a few years, long enough to get a salary management feels might be disproportionate to the amount of money you're bringing in . . . merry fucking Christmas.

You know, capitalism works, but so do guillotines.

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