Reading between the lines: Is the company you are working for going down under?

Being economic recession- despite whatever else you may be reading in the papers or on the net, it’s really bad- you may expect that companies still afloat are going to use this reason to work us even more than before.
Yes indeed, they are in for blood and they suck it out of people scared of losing their jobs. Any decency a ruthless CEO may have had before recession, is now gone.
How to read between the lines what is really going on? Is it the time to start looking for another job?
Following are real life examples, read them and decide for yourself if I am bull-shitting you or not.
As a note: please ignore the fact that I am working for a company owned by a Chinese- notorious for being penny pinchers.

1. Increased frequency of meetings and reporting, where everything you do is scrutinized and your working time closely monitored. OK, if you work like I did, 30 hours overtime in the past week, of course you are NOT going to be paid. So no, monitoring your time refers to how much more you could be given, not to collect kudos for screwing your evenings and weekends. To speak concretely: we now have ‘personal time’ with our CEO every other day, at an allocated time. We get into his office with a full report about what we did since the last meeting (Duh… it happened like… yesterday!!), what we have to do for that day and ask questions or listen to the ‘how bad the recession really is and how many people are out of job’speach. On top of these mandatory meetings, we have a mandatory task list that must be updated as soon as we finish a task. If you think this would increase efficiency I can assure you that it will not; it will drive you bonkers and on the verge of a coronary.
Translation: Shut the fuck up and work till you drop, or else.
2. Abandon ship phenomenon. It happens when suddenly people start leaving. Of course you get the global email with ‘Thank you Company X and Mr. CEO Y for the opportunity to grow with you. Now it’s a sad time for me to say good bye and pursue new venues. For you guys who may want to keep in touch with me, this is my email address’… followed by a gmail or yahoo domain.
Translation: In your face suckers!!! I am so out of here. Yupee!!!!
3. Penny pinching pushed to extreme. I am not sure if it needs any explanation because it is pretty much straightforward. We are monitored how many pages we print out for example. I will not be surprised at all to see that we need permission to print out anything from now on. How much overhead is going to be saved if instead of 200 pages we are going to print 20? A few cents a month I imagine, that considering that only a limited number of people must print documents. Instead of limiting how many pages we print, maybe our CEO may get rid of one of his two imbecile secretaries, paid with lots of money to do nothing. Actually, one is his personal assistant – mistress paid with around $60,000 to keep him happy. Nothing wrong with that, if this person would not be stupid and vengeful.
Translation: When the office supply rules become so stringent, making your life a leaving hell and your work more difficult, you may think ‘constructive discharge’. This is when a company is trying to get rid of you for one reason or another but they can’t or don’t want to pay unemployment so they make you leave.
4. You get the ‘honor’ of getting the work load of a colleague off on maternity leave, without a pay rise. This sucks big time. So, you had your work before, with plenty to do, no moments of boredom. Now you are told that for about a year from now on, you are going to take over your colleague responsibilities- another super full time job.
How are you going to juggle two full time jobs paid as one? No idea and if I find a solution, considering that I am in this situation right now, I shall promptly inform everybody.
If you open your mouth and tell them to fuck off, you may get fired, because you see, people like my CEO are NOT concerned that they are going to lose the smartest and the most resilient workers. They even believe that the good guys are a dime a dozen.
Translation: Don’t think that just because you were given a second job your position is more stable, because it’s not. It’s time to go, baby!!
4. The last sign on my list is when a technical guy is asked to do sales work. You are pulled out of research and given ‘sales accounts’. You have to start navigating uncharted territories, chasing people, bagging them to buy your product. And no, you don’t feel comfortable doing it because that was one reason you finished university with a diploma on science, to do research and product development not to be account manager.
Translation: Time to find greener pastures!

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