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The Emporer's New Clothes - Peter Hentges

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December 6th, 2002


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06:00 am - The Emporer's New Clothes
I may have put my foot in it at a work meeting this evening.

It was a general meeting to announce some minor procedural refinements (tell the expediter that you're calling in sick, not just that you want the manager's voicemail, etc.). It also was the deadline for turning in our voluntary cut-back in hours for the new program in which we will be getting half that time back. (The new program is good because it means a 5% pay cut instead of a 10% pay cut. We're being asked to take up to 20% time off for a 10% cut.)

I noticed when I came in to work this morning, however, that there was a press release on our intranet trumpeting the 3rd quarter results. It seems our earnings have improved 48% over the same period last year.

So, in the meeting, when asked if we had any questions, I asked, "Why are we being asked to take a 10% pay cut when our earnings have increased 48%?"

My manager was unaware of the press release and so had no answer.

My understanding is that our current cut backs are in response to projected business in the 4th quarter (a time which is historically slow for our business). What I want is for some thought to go into the information released internally to soften the morale blow of news like this. Yes, our investors and the media should hear the glowing reports. Internally, however, there should be additional information about what this means to us released at the same time.

My manager just got finished discussing this with me, agreeing that this should happen but saying that expecting it to happen is unrealistic. I don't think it's unrealistic because I've worked with the people who put press releases together when I worked at ADC. Several levels of people have to sign off on them and any one of those can stop the release if something's wrong. One of the people going over the release should be checking to see what the internal reaction will be and if any additional information should go to internal customers. What if, for example, one of our customers asked their customer service rep why we had layoffs not long ago if our earnings are so good? That customer service person should have a canned answer available.

So we'll see what sort of fuss this kicks up, if any. More fodder for the union organization....
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic

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