Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Treacherous Journey From Employment To Unemployment, Volume 2 - Painting Yourself Into A Corner

I've been a fucking ghost.

The people in my office love me (or so it seems, at least), I've been the mediator-who-brings-sunshine in quite a few conflicts of late, and always got the job done on time, oftentimes working overnight, sometimes non-stop for a whole weekend.

I'm respected by my immediate bosses, those who co-sign the work I do on my own and get paid ten times my salary, because they know what they ask of me and they know no one else could do it as well for so cheap. And it suits me, too, because I almost never sleep, so working at night on some absolutely-due report after having had the time to write, play a show, spend time with the Lady Of The House and maybe even see friends and/or watch a hockey game is worth less money.

But that means that I'm rarely there when the Real Bosses from the Toronto Office call in, so after a while, as the job kept getting done on time, they sort of forgot about me.

Some tasks I shared with others, one of which was supervising a complete crew as they collected data, something I've been doing on my own for 6 months now. But for the first seven and a half years, it was teamwork, a stask I shared with at least one other person, many times taking less shifts than the other person because I had the other, usually pressing, things I needed to do - on time, usually for the next morning before my immediate superiors got in.

Every single other supervisor was fired. That's at least five of them, maybe even up to eight. Yet I remain. Because every other supervisor's 'extra' tasks included contact with the Toronto Office - not me. 9AM to 5PM on weekdays is my time off from work, time where I could be sleeping. I may be working during those hours, but never there, always from home or a remote location where I could concentrate, as I wasn't allowed any mistakes; the fruit of my labour went directly to our clients, and bore my bosses' names, but they never even reviewed it - they rarely had enough time to anyway.

Recently, The Boss came to town and called a complete staff meeting. It was serious shit, Monster News. Everyone who was there was given an ultimatum, and most were told they only had two weeks of work left, the others were given a choice of moving to Toronto if they wanted to continue with the company. The Montréal office was closing down.

What news awaited me, personally? I wasn't even invited to the meeting. Eight years working for The Boss, and on the Day Of The Big Overhaul, I was at home, sleeping. My whole division and I only had a shift the next day, anyway.

And when I did get there, I had no idea, so it felt strange that everyone looked like they'd just been told they had terminal cancer. And it took hours before anyone filled me in on the details.

Lucky me, though, I wasn't there. I had been forgotten, so The Boss made it seem like it was on purpose, and that my staff and I were going to remain. The rest of the company, a whole floor above a shopping mall, 16 desks, 4 closed offices, 2 reception counters, 3 meeting rooms, a kitchen, an IT room, a printer room - all rendered useless, still paying rent for, while me and my crew took up a space that was barely bigger than my living room, working for our last remaining client. Makes sense.

Only our last remaining client told me, three days ago, that they were thinking of going in ''another direction''; online. More straightforward, more random, better odds of getting the exact sample they were looking for.

Sure, I became a ghost, and sure I'm probably going to outlast my peers by a month, but I did so by painting myself into a corner.

Then again, I thought ghosts could fly. We'll see what happens next.

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