Thursday, September 17, 2015

"A man is not a piece of fruit."

A friend of mine who works at a mid-sized agency wrote me a note. There were layoffs yesterday at his agency.

In terms of how these particular firings were carried out, I can think of only one word: Soviet.

The people were summoned by email. Gathered into a conference room. And summarily executed. Stalin would have been proud. Beria would have laughed.

While they were away from their desks, IT reclaimed their computers. They were erased.

I think a lot, I’ll admit, about how things are broken. I’m gloomy that way, lugubrious.

I think how the HR/Holding Company Hegemon, who produce nothing, have turned our offices into sumps of inhumanity. No one has any private space. No one, even after decades of service or regardless of seniority, rates a private conversation.

Our corporate ethos is so mean, so devoid of humanity and simple decent kindness. No, you are a resource. To be disposed of when your shelf-life has passed.

Two quotations I’m thinking of right now.

One from Preston Sturges in “The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.” “A man works all his life in a glass factory; one day he picks up a hammer.”

The second from Willy Loman, by way of Arthur Miller: “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away. A man is not a piece of fruit.”

But it seems Sturges and Miller were wrong.

We can be tossed away. And there’s no one left to pick up a hammer.

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