I Got Laid Off on Monday

Written by Lord Lansdowne

As some of you may have heard me discuss more often than it is humanly required to talk about (special thanks to all the support from my friends that lent me that ear), I was laid off from my last job. I worked as an Assistant Editor for Gamesmania.com, a gaming site where I wrote reviews of games and hardware in laymen terms, permitting even the biggest of retards to understand them. Not bad for someone that can't speak English too well.

I served a wonderful audience of pre-pubescent, under-aged, annoying little brats incapable of writing a small sentence with the proper use of the English language. These same kids go around calling themselves "gamers".

I fucking hated them.

Now, I should clarify. I loved my job, especially because I love writing. I loved the people I worked with. Including my boss. I did not, however, love the company to which Gamesmania belonged, the most incompetently run business I ever worked for. To give you an analogy, if this company was the army, they'd give you a gun with no bullets and send you into battle. When the bullets did arrive, after half of your battalion laid dead, they would be of the wrong calibre. Later you'd get a complaint that you lost the battle.

When on Monday I was told that Friday would be my last day, I didn't feel upset, regret, homicidal urges or the desire to burn down the company (I felt that for the whole time I worked there, mind you). I felt relieved. You know when you're taking a shit, and it's one of those massive ones that you swear, the next piece is going to make you bleed? Once you're done you feel 10 pounds lighter, and twice as happy. That's how relieved I felt.

When you work for a company that to show an improvement on profits for the investors is willing to get rid of 90% of a department and expects the sole surviving member to do it all, you know you're better off unemployed. So my desk, which for more than a year was a torn on management's side due to the large piles of press releases, print outs, computer parts and an insane amounts of stuffed goats, became suddenly empty. For once the company was happy with me, since my desk, apparently, did not give visiting investors a good impression, said management. I thought it looked like the desk of someone that actually did work.

On Tuesday I came to work, all happy with a big smile on my face. For the second time in my life, I was happy to go to work again (the first being, when I was starving and they hired me). The first thing I heard about, is that management noticed my empty desk and made the brilliant logical deduction that someone had told me I was going to be laid off. Considering the kind of management I've had, this is truly an outstanding conclusion for them, and I must give them credit for arriving to it in such a short period of time.

We're talking about people, that during a meeting asked the difference between two Internet protocols, and I described their differences by using the same example for each. And they all nodded in understanding.

My manager, unfortunately, admitted he had told me, and was promptly asked to resign for improper conduct. I didn't understand this need for secrecy, until I went to work and discovered that all my access had been revoked. "In fear of retaliation" I was told. Did it occur to any of these clowns that the site was already destroyed? A year and a half in development and this "dynamic" site relied solely on my skills of hard-coding pages in HTML. Our webmaster had done a better job in that time, than I could've done in a day with the delete key, if I wanted to.

Finally, after some talks from my soon-to-be-former manager, they agreed that I wasn't as dangerous as they thought and I'd be and granted my access again. Ironically, I had more work that week, than I had any other time, especially considering I was trying to prepare everything so that the Editor in Chief, the sole remaining employee of Gamesmania, would not commit ritual Seppuku on his second day alone.

Some people had no clue what was happening, so there would be instances where I'd finish a job for someone else, and they'd be like "Oh, I'm tired today, can we finish it off first thing on Monday?" "Yeah, sure" whatever, like I'm going to care. I could've told them that I and half of my team were getting canned, but management wanted the utmost secrecy, as if it was some sort of shame for them.

Even weirder were the co-workers that feared talking to you after the news of the lay-off spread (nobody was supposed to know, but everyone knew). As if, getting terminated, is some sort of venereal disease you can catch just by talking to someone. And they would be really obvious about it. You'd ask a question, they'd walk away, no matter how loud you'd call their name. It made me that much happier to get laid off.

Some of the people that I occasionally worked with in the IT department, were overwhelmingly nice. They immediately called friends to see if there were any openings, tried their best to be supportive and were overly upset about what was happening. We had a few beers that night, talking as always about the evils of the Exchange server. It may not seem like much, but when you begin to think that your next rent may be the last one you get to pay, stuff like this makes you feel a heck of a lot better.

Friday went by just like any other day in the office. Once finished, I deleted my mail folder (nobody needs to read the e-mails I send to my girlfriend with explicit and colourful descriptions of what I intended to do to her at any given night), turned off the computer, and removed the last bit of remaining stuff that marked my area since 1996. And I left.

So now I'm on my extended vacation, sending stacks of portfolios to other magazines, and talking to head hunters, all giving me the "there is no work for people with your skills". And I've had so much more time, that I've mastered several new Linux skills. Installed security programs. Went to war with some hacker kid that is determined to bring my cheesy website down. Finished about a zillion things I was too tired to finish when I would come back from work.

And I'm thinking, fuck web, maybe working StarBucks won't be as annoying. No more management with no clues on what a website should be like. No young inarticulate arrogant pricks reading your reviews on a product and sending you hate mail to which you still have to reply nicely, because being older than them, means I don't know twice as much as what they know. No more corporate insanity seeking every possible opportunity to crawl up your ass and give you a strong but firm buggering. And at StarBucks, while it's not company policy to do so, you can always spit in the coffee of the customer that annoys you the most.