Monday, December 14, 2009

What recession? No one has been fired.

BBDO just let go another 20 workers.
See, I said "let go" like those affected aren't people who have families, ambitions, mortgages and more. They're let go, like helium balloons.

Then there's the phrase that the Ad Contrarian so loves: "Synergy-Related Headcount-Adjustment." Yummy, snap me off a bit of that kit-kat bar. The phrase John Osborne, president and CEO of BBDO just used was this beauty:"In large measure, this is directly related to our continuing efforts to reshape our business model in line with our clients' needs, especially in digital." Put that in your mealy-mouth and smoke it.

I've heard tell of this one: "We're going to upgrade you with immediate effect. We are going to allow you to move on in order that you can use your talents and skills more effectively and thus upgrade your career and opportunities."

The lucky few get "packaged" like a genetically-modified tomato.

There are RIFs, and not the jazz kind. That means Reductions in Force. And displacements, like you're a ship in the harbor.

George Orwell would like "right-sized" and "staff-optimization." Those are Scroogean in their attempted deception.

Smart-sized.
Made redundant.

Ken Chenault of American Express fired 7,000 not long ago and called it part of a "reengineering plan." Choo choo! Rodger Lawson of Fidelity shit-canned 1,300 and said it was "a cost improvement plan." And Meg Whitman formerly of ebay and a California aspirant for Governor likes the phrase "employee simplification."

Maybe this is my favorite. Also known as my least favorite: "Rebalancing the level of human capital."

3 comments:

Laura said...

A good friend of mine recently witnessed 4 fellow creatives "let go" and could no;t understand how management could then hire 4 younger, much less experienced (and less expensive) creatives. He asked how that is not age discrimination and was told it was a basic restructuring. And he was only told this in confidence because he is a "friend" and a freelancer.

Ruby Rosamund said...

I can't wait to be one of those younger, less expensive creatives. Perhaps I'll actually get a job in a year or two instead of going on endless placements. I wouldn't say it was age discrimination, but then unlike everyone else, students about to graduate are benefiting from the recession. Unfortunately in 30 years when the economy takes another dip I'll be on your end of the scale and it won't be quite so fun.

Swings and Roundabouts.

Eric said...

One thing I wonder: at what point do clients of these agencies start to wonder about the degredation of quality of work? Or, are we that interchangeable?