Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spinning Off

Crawling into the office yesterday just barely in time for the weekly editorial, marketing, and management confab at 10, I check my email for any bombs before heading to the conference room. SOP. I see a note from my boss, saying the meeting is cancelled, but he wants to meet with a group of us underlings at 9:30. WTF??? He, like me, never gets in on a Monday before 9:45. And the email is timed 9:08. Jesus, what am I going to do if he has suddenly become a morning person? I really cannot cope with being articulate before 10am, let alone showing up for work much before then. Dammit. And now, I look like a total slacker because I wasn't there for the 9:30 confab. I hate being a nightowl stuck in a morning person's world.

Waiting for the minute amount of caffeine from my decaf shots over ice to hit, I am clearly missing the point. My best office friend Ethyl stops by, and soon things come into focus. "Oh good, you're here. Now we can have our meeting. Did Absent-Minded Boss tell you?" "Uh, he mentioned something late Friday about new products for 2007." "Oh, no! That's not it. We're selling the printing division." Holy crap, Batman.

Oh yes, it's one of those square between the eye with a two-by-four events. No one seems to have seen this coming. Even AMB seemed out of the loop--he did not have a boatload of answers for some basic questions, like, "are we going to make a profit on this sale?" Dunno, seems like a thing you might want to know if you're the head of content for a company. Though speculation is that he himself didn't know until Monday morning.

I am sad to see some very nice colleagues being shipped off to an uncertain fate. Though not as sad as they are, I'm sure. Supposedly, there won't be job losses of major proportions--a couple of folks here and there, not too bad I guess for a transaction that takes about a third of the company's workforce with it and doubles the size of the acquiring company. But we all know how these things go--the real test is six, eight, twelve months down the line. And those of us that remain aren't feeling real sure this is going to put the company on the right path. It may well. Most publishers these days do not own printing companies, so we were a bit of an anomaly. Maybe our grand and glorious EBITDA will improve after the spinoff, and we can get better financing on the company's debt. I don't know.

What I do know are a few things. One, I'm very happy that rumors did not float around for weeks. I've been through that, and it is just horrible for morale and for just getting my fat ass to work. Not to mention getting anything done besides gossiping and IM'ing all day. Two, I'm pretty damn glad my biggest product is doing well. I would not want to be the guy down the hall who is three months late on his new product for no real reason, and who got majorly called on the carpet for trying to weasel around that fact a few weeks ago by the company's president in the Monday confab. Three, I had better turn a few other products I inherited around quickly! I don't want to be pounding the pavement in a city where I have few work connections yet. Plus, there just are not many b2b publishing jobs here. Freelancing is always an option, but could it please just wait until my husband finds a job?

1 comment:

Angry Gay Mike said...

Well hopefully this is not the tinkling of an even larger death nell. The fact that your company was an anomaly by owning the publishing division was probably a big source of revenue loss. Then again maybe not.

We both know all too well how companies these days operate. It's the mentally impaired leading the blind while the intelligent sighted people get marginalized and shafted. Not that I'm bitter or anything...

I don't have to tell you what signs to look out for, though it might be a good idea to get chummy with the company secretary as he or she is almost ALWAYS the key source of information about how the company is really doing.

Alas, if only we still worked together I could ferret that information out for you. Good luck with everything, I hope this is a positive change and not a harbinger of greater fuckwittage to come.