I worked in sports. Sports broadcasting to be precise. And if history tells us anything, it's that sports and entertainment generally do well during economic downturn. People don't want to think about how lousy their lives are, so they turn to escapism. Working in sports broadcasting, I figured that the economic downturn wouldn't hurt us too much. I mean, I'm not sure how many millions of dollars we made this past year, but it was still more than we made the year before.
I also thought I was safe, because it was me. Because I was good. And I was competent. And I could do everything in my department and better than the majority of the people there. I produced. I edited. I knew where things were and how things worked. I was the person everyone asked. I was the go-to gal.
And now I am unemployed.
In the meeting, when I got the news, I asked a few questions. Why? Because they needed to trim $4 million dollars from the department budget. Okay. Why me? Insert bullshit answer about this being a very difficult decision. Also, despite the three years I had worked for the company, I had been hired full time last February. Who made this decision? This was an interesting answer. The three people who apparently made these decisions are three people who do not work with me at all. And apparently, these three people also declined to talk to my direct supervisor, the executive producer in the department, about my input.
Now here's the most interesting thing about the entire debacle. Let's do some math. I'm not sure what the final tally of people that were let go, but from what I know so far, they were all roughly around my level. I made $35,000 a year (which was too little for the amount of work I was doing).
Hmm.. Well, let's add in benefits, roughly $7,500
Hmm.. Not really making much of a dent here. Maybe if I add in the amount spent on the company subsidized soda and bottled water. Let's see, roughly $0.50 per can or bottle, once per day, five times a week, so $2.50. Then multiply that by 52 weeks a year is $130. So...
Alright, so by getting rid of me, they're down $42,630. $3,958,370 to go. Roughly.
And this is why I'm with Congress on this one. My department has six managers. Six. Six managers of varying degrees of competency. Last year, they had three managers. Things weren't running as smoothly as they could, so they brought in three more. Things have only gotten worse. At this rate, it'll be a department full of managers and no one to manage.
Shaving jobs left and right will definitely cut costs, but it will never be enough. To save money, companies need to cut from the top. Corporate executives make too much money for work that largely is done by people like me. Things are bad now, but when you get rid of the people who actually know what their doing to save money, things only get worse.
The outlying cause of our financial crisis is corporate management. Corporate management made the decision to take on subprime mortgages. Corporate management made the decision to make investments with money they did not have. Corporate management made the decision to delay the development of green technology and fuel efficient cars. If there's someone to point a finger at, it's corporate management.
The auto industry is now asking for a bailout too. The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler have offered, under duress, to cut their salaries to $1. But what about the stock options? What about the benefits? What about the bonuses?
Congress has screwed up on these issues before. They issued a blank check to Henry Paulsen without any oversight whatsoever. Now they're being asked for more. And now, they're asking for some guarantees. No one deserves a bailout without a comprehensive plan in place to cut spending from the top down. To use the money to invest in the future, they need a plan that develops new, greener, more fuel-efficient cars. They need a plan to develop the industry so it can compete globally in the future. They just need a plan. And right now, they're just begging.
I'm a pretty positive, optimistic person. I cried when it happened. I cried when I told my boyfriend it had happened. I almost cried when I told my dad. But as soon as five minutes after I walked out of that meeting, I knew it was a blessing in disguise. I was miserable at my job and I am smart and capable and I will probably find another. But right now, it sucks.