Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Friday, August 7, 2009

Could be worse. Could be raining.

So today was two meetings with the boss. First thing I noticed as we (my direct supervisor and I) entered his office was his black shirt. It's never good when your boss wears black.

For me the result was a 10% pay cut. This brings me in line with the other office staff who took the paycut back in February. It was only because of me being hired out of the bargaining unit after that point that I slipped under the radar. The good news is that they think they're seeing improved conditions going forward and that having a designer on staff and who is in the union (associate member these days) is a selling point for some new work. Also we're doing quality work for the clients and it's being noticed. The bad news is some more people were laid-off.

Wish I had some anti-acid at work today, I could have used it.

My employment seems to be based around "recessions." I landed my first paycheck and FICA job in 1982, during a major recession (I think this one finally passed the 82 recession's milestones in April). I graduated from college in 1990, another recession. Lost the job I found then because of the first Gulf War (and none to bright management), it was also my first experience with a merger (they always say nobody will lose their jobs, and they always do). Landed working for E&Y in '92 in the middle of a hiring freeze, survived two departmental mergers (one small, one large) and eventual managed the department I helped create. Then there was the recession at the end of the 90s that saw a dream job dry up. Surviving the lay-offs of the 2001 and 2003 downturns where I ended up being "last man standing." And now this one. Just a friggin' good time.

There's been moments of panic. A re-evaluation of going to Viable Paradise (yes, I've prepaid a lot of it, I'm going). Re-prioritizing future expenses, some plans put on hold, others kicked to the curb. If I had known this three weeks ago I may have stayed home from Confluence, which would have been a shame (had a great time, learned a lot of things).

They say there are glimmers of a bottom and then uptick. Some numbers are going in the right direction. If you've been thinking of buying a house in Ohio, now is the time (prices have started to increase again). Employment though may drag down quick recovery. However, inventories are low which means if orders start increasing it'll trickle through the supply chain quickly. Unfortunately the average workweek is now 33 hours, which means there's a lot of play in the installed employment base. Crossed signals all over the place. Having been through these a few times it does feel like the bottom. I expect by Xmas we'll be able to see what the recovery will look like (my guess is a slow start, then back to steam Xmas 2010).

2 comments:

Mer said...

Man, Steve, that sucks. I'm glad you're still going to get to do VP, though.

Steve Buchheit said...

Mer, thanks. If I hadn't already paid for most of it (in July's numbers), my decision may have been different, or at least a lot harder (then it would have been a conversation of how much I really want to be a writer versus how much I think VP can help me and what our cash flow is going to be like this fall). On the plus side, Bette has a full slate of classes this fall (which certainly helped my decision).