Monday, April 06, 2009

There's A Time

I met a customer on my way back home last night.

He is a friendly customer who seldom, if not at all to my recollection, uses his position and authority as customer to his advantage. He has always worked with us in a calm and friendly manner towards a win-win situation. He is very nice as a person.

When we met yesterday, he showed interest to talk longer than just a casual "Hi, how are you?" greetings. We stood by the side of the road for a good 15 minutes, just talking. He was pouring out the grievances from the day's ordeal.

The multinational company he is working for has retrenched its employees again today. Talk about Monday blues...

It was not so much of a shocker to them, since "the buzz has been around since Chinese New Year" in February, but what surprised them most was the selection of people that were retrenched.

He was fortunately spared the axe, but not so lucky were the three people in his team we have worked with all along in several projects together. They still have no clue as to the selection criteria... “redundancy, poor performance, or what?” at a time of economic downturn and aggressive restructuring. A more accurate word is downsizing.

All these while, I had the thinking that multinationals treat their employees better off than local businesses when it comes to downsizing. They are still better as compared to local companies.

It is a surprise to me that this multinational acted exactly like a local business would... the cheapest possible way. Nothing prestigious and happy stories of windfall, but just lots of resentments from the affected people.

Capping the retrenchment benefit at 12 months maximum, those that have worked more than 12 years and those that may have reached their retirement age, have lost out on their fullest extent of severance payable from what used to be, the industrial standard of 26 months maximum payout plus 2 months of notice and severance.

Gone are the days when multinationals have "prestigious severance payouts" that are exemplary and envious to others, especially to employees working in local businesses.

While talking and with deep regrets felt, I cannot help but thought that one of the people he mentioned, in my mind... deserved to be retrenched. It was like payback time, but with little pay for him.

He was the unpleasant one, if nasty is too strong a word, of the lot. We had a difficult time working with him, mostly with his tantrums… at times humiliating too, but we endured because he had the upper-hand of being our customer. Not just to us as his supplier, but to his own team too.

It is a nasty thing to think this way, but I cannot help it. It is like karma, finally.

I would elaborate the nasty instances that have stayed in my mind, but it will become too personal and too accurate a description of that person I am talking about.

Suffice to say, no one is indispensable.

I was told that the other people affected took it in their stride, though unfortunate and upset, but this guy was furious. He received a rude shock. It must be devastating to think of oneself so highly capable and thus untouchable but selected nonetheless for this round of retrenchment… with a “clause of not being eligible for a rehire within a 2-year period!”

I am not going to relish on someone else’s misfortune. It is just too cruel and vindictive. Mine is coming anyway.

Like their projects that have become idle and made them redundant, so am I. With my many projects nearly finished being transferred to our other low-cost factory across the causeway, I am preparing to close the chapter of my work and career in this present company and line respectively.

I may have mentioned before in one of my previous posts, I think I am prepared for the retrenchment, but I will only know how it feels when that day comes.

I do not blame the company or anyone, this is a business after all and bottom line is crucial, but I do hope this company compensates properly for the pure dedication I, and I know many others like me, have given to the company all these years… 17 years of my personal attention to my work.

We parted ways, but not before we shook hands and hoped for the best for one another, sincerely.

There is a time and a place for everything.


  1. Yes, there is. Everyone is walking on eggshells where Cliff works, wondering when the other shoe will drop.

    Hard times.

  2. I was the last one hired where I work...first one fired? Hope not. Am sure to work for my money and not lolly-gag as some others do. Who knows. We can survive on husband's pay if anything happens.

    Wishing you peace of mind.

  3. Hi back online at last. It's great to be catching up with all my blogfriends and I hope you and yours are well.

  4. I hope you are left alone, work wise. Yes, it's not the best time.
    Is that your desk in the photo? On the wall in my class I keep a large map of the world, too, and look at it during classes. :)


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