Thursday, September 30, 2010

I do not want the legal pad

No one will believe that my first restructuring was actually worse than the one in Office Space, but it was and I keep thinking about it these days.

I had been on the job only a few months when consultants were brought in to help us reorganize. The scuttlebutt was that the consultants had never worked at a newspaper before and took the job to learn. We copy editors had to fill out forms with every story we read, telling whether it was a shirt, medium or long story, whether the headline was simple, medium or hard, etc. It was kind of a joke.

The day before the cuts were announced, a bunch of us were sent to learn some new task. I was among that bunch. I'll never forget that another guy was not in the group ... until he asked if he should be. The boss said OK and he came running up with his yellow legal pad at the ready.

The next day he was fired, and I have always suspected that the reason he didn't get invited to learn the new task was because someone knew he would be gone the next day.

I have never been a big meeting person. I hear poorly, so I don't go. But now I see a meeting at work and then see me holding the yellow legal pad. Symbolically, of course. I never bring a writing pad or pen to meetings.

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