MUSICAL CHAIRS AT WIDGET WONDERLAND

How are the eggshells that you’re walking on in YOUR office holding out?  Are they starting to crack? Is the structural integrity of those eggshells becoming more and more compromised with each passing hour?

Let’s take a look at Julie’s situation. She has been a faithful employee of Widget Wonderland for fifteen years. As a matter of fact, she was just honored with cake in the conference room where she was also awarded the highly coveted monogramed Sharpie! Well deserved, Julie. But now she’s seeing things a tad differently as cutbacks continue and the pliable office landscape takes on a different shape almost every day.

Just how are the cutbacks affecting workplace performance and morale? Is leaner and meaner really the better way to go? Does wearing more than one hat make you a more valuable employee or does it make you want to force feed your boss twenty-four Arby’s Sliders and then sedate him and strap him into the Tilt-A-Whirl for the ride of his life? Yes, they’re belt tightening at Widget Wonderland. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? 

So, Julie’s boss on the widget line has been furloughed, decommissioned, fricasseed or fired depending on the phraseology you use. She was two months shy of her twentieth year of service. That anniversary wouldn’t have come cheaply for Widget Wonderland as they would have had to spring for a new bowling bag with classic red and white size appropriate shoes! So, by letting her go now, they not only save the salary but also the cost of the swag. But, as a result of letting her go, an important question needs to be answered. Who is going to make sure the conveyor belt is running at the right speed and keep track of faulty widgets? Will this awesome responsibility now fall on Julie? If it does, will there be a commensurate pay increase? Imagine the pressure! You could go to sleep at night and have nightmares about widgets coming to life and escaping right before your very eyes.

The brain trust at Widget Wonderland decided to promote from within as opposed to going outside. This looks like an admirable move at first glance but who would be able to pick up the ball and run it into the end zone? While Julie remains a valuable employee and one who puts the ‘team’ first, she’s not looked upon as management material just yet. Well then, who in the world could step right in and not miss a beat in the manufacture and distribution of widgets? Hmmm. Enter Ronnie from Human Resources! The memo in the kitchen said it all: “Ronnie brings great passion for his work and will send new life through the entire conveyor belt department. Please join me in wishing Ronnie well on his new and well-deserved position.” As you can completely understand, Julie is beside herself. She knows widgets, damnit, and now her worst fear might become reality: The widgets will end up with a better health care policy than she has. 

So, the wheels continue to turn in the boardroom at a feverish pace. Now that Ronnie is headed to the front of the widget line, somebody will have to slide into his old HR slot. But whom? The honchos gathered once more to make another painstaking decision. After several minutes of discussing the previous night’s football game, they decide Brad from Research and Development is the man for the job. The memo read, “Please congratulate Brad on his new position of Director of Human Resources. Brad is a fireball who is really rising through the ranks. Brad was the logical choice due to his never-ending spirit and quest for knowledge. As many of you know, he also has one of the world’s greatest collections of #2 pencils. If you have any questions of Brad, please give him a few weeks as he will need time to transition.”

So, with the Research and Development guy fitting nicely into the HR role, will R&D come to a screeching halt? Not if Jimbo has anything to say about it, by golly. Jimbo? Do you mean Jimbo, the Restroom Manager? Absolutely, read the memo. “It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of Jimbo. He’s a hard-working fellow who always has a smile on his face and a dirty joke on his lips for everyone. Jimbo has made sure that your trips to the restroom have been as enjoyable and as comfortable as possible. His duties have included paper towel changing, soap container replacement as well as the always tricky urinal unclogging. With his innovative ways of thinking, Jimbo will, no doubt, be a solid asset to the personnel currently remaining in R&D.

How has all of this played put so far? It seems that as a result of all the internal maneuvering, several widget contracts have been lost. When someone has a question for Human Resources, possibly concerning their HSA, they are directed to Candice in shipping, presumably because of her past experience as an insurance telemarketer. As of this writing, Jimbo’s restroom position has not been filled and that would have to classified as a major oversight. Jimbo is now entirely too busy Zoom conferencing with big wigs and providing new definitions daily for the term ‘public intoxication.’

To the untrained eye, it would appear that Widget Wonderland has made some unwise decisions. Will the company manage to right itself? Is the company managing to spend less money? Has their overhead decreased? Has productivity increased? Has the balance sheet been adversely affected by the restructuring?

Has morale improved as a result of the internal promotions? Does Jim have even the foggiest idea what a Health Savings Account is? Has Widget Wonderland managed to cut more innocent people in half than David Copperfield on an off night? These are just  some of the questions that will need to be answered in the next few weeks and months.

In spite of all of this, Widget Wonderland has, in fact, managed to create at least one legitimate job opening. If you have experience in paper products with regard to germ removal and hand drying, can place toilet tissue on a spool without instruction while at the same time understand and fully comprehend the complex schematic of the paper towel holder, contact Widget Wonderland. All calls confidential.

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