While this is a bit off topic on my usual ruminations about Life After Kids, many of my former colleagues are being affected by a horrible trend in large corporations to make deep and seemingly random cuts and that happened to me too. However, I chose to use my new status to “follow my bliss.” I now had real chunks of time to write, read, heal, travel and, more importantly, renew my faith in myself, which I know will lead to my new career path. For some of my friends and former colleague that may not be so easy and my heart breaks for them as they face unemployment after giving their lives to their jobs.
Here is my response to a letter that a former colleague wrote and which was posted in the LA Observed and on Facebook:
As many of you know, I was “downsized” from my Fox11/My13 almost 7 months ago with 9 other long-time employees who may never work in their chosen career again. I was one of the short-timers – with almost ten years with the company under my belt. One of the other gentlemen who was laid off had worked for the station in all of its iterations for almost 50 years. Unbelieveable!
Not much of a ripple was made out of this news as the “numbers” of laid-off were low and how they handled it was akin to a CIA operation. They sneak you in, you pack up your things and they sneak you out. No farewell parties or goodbyes, just a clean surgical break. As for me, it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me, but for others that is not the case and as it turns out, that just barely the tip of the iceberg. Next week, on September 11th (an apt date if there were any), almost 100 employees will be escorted out the door of Los Angeles’ Fox Television Center, their home away from home for many years and more layoffs have been announced.
What the hell is going on here?
Personally, it is my belief that many corporations are using the “dire” predictions of continued economic downturn to fatten their coffers for their shareholders, break unions and probably some other machivellian agenda at the expense of their worker bees.
Where is the fairness when top executives get platinum parachutes and stock options and huge bonuses when a company is doing well, and also when it is not. Fox and other corporations, are in the business of making money but when is enough enough? If a company is still making money, does a percentage drop mean a company should sacrifice those who consider themselves part of the family? With all these high paid executives, do you think someone could figure out a way to do business better and leaner without taking their pounds of flesh?
How many of the top executives & sales people got laid off in this massacre? Would you be surprised if I said – ZERO? If leading the company were doing their jobs, staying on top of current trends in advertising, marketing, promotion and social media – don’t you think they could find ways to run the company better, sell more advertising, cut corners not people? And why if they weren’t, as evidenced by such deep cuts, weren’t more of the executives being cut, especially since they make a bushel more money?
Gets me wondering how many people in the network programing department are overpaid for churning out the same old drivel that people no longer want to watch? How many of them lost their jobs for spending way too much money on crappy television shows? I could go on and on but I think you got the picture.
And then, how many Senior VP’s and VP’s does it take to run a company? Not the beginning of a joke, but in a way it is. I mean Fox is known to be one of the most top heavy companies around in the number of high-level executives. Something is out of whack here, a company can only be as good as its worker bees – they are the ones who put in the hours to produce the sweetest honey and now, they are being toss aside and replaced with automation, and robots and hubs. “They” may call their product “honey” but it’s going to be one sad imitation of the real thing.
This past week the Los Angeles Times lambasted local TV news coverage of the Station Fire. They (the stations) didn’t cover it soon enough, didn’t take it seriously enough and laid blame at the feet of the news departments where it did not belong. Local news departments are being cut back, consolidated and crimped beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Many of those laid off at KTTV in the news and engineering departments were not in redundant positions.
Why doesn’t the LA Times do a piece on the eviceration and ultimate extinction of local TV stations or why doesn’t the Times’ Editor write a letter to Rupert directly and ask how stations are expected to cover local breaking events with a skeleton or sometimes non-existent crew. And soon, how will someone running master control in Phoenix know that a fire in Glendale is important enough to cut away from “I Love Lucy” re-reruns?
What happened to the American Dream? Why is a large percent of the country’s wealth spread among the very few? What happened to the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation and taking chances in the face of “dire” news predictions. Why can’t we invest in good workers in the good times as well as the bad.
So many questions, but no real answers. That is the sad state of affairs local stations are facing, and the sad state of affairs these local layoffs will have on our local and national economy. This is a very sad time for many of my friends and former colleagues.
I have lived long enough to know that the economy will cycle back but good men and women and their families will be destroyed by companies they gave their lives to. Where are these 100 plus people going get work and be able to support their families? Will they be forced to leave L.A., California for places they can live more economically.
I am blessed that my kids are on their own and I don’t need as much to live on as I used to, I am computer literate and can get a job as a high-level assistant if need be, but that may not be the case for so many others who are the most highly-skilled in their field. I, too, think about leaving for a cheaper place to live with more chance to find work.
So I will take a chance to assume that with many of those same thoughts in mind, Mark Sudock, one of the most recent victims of the KTTV layoffs, and may I add, one of the most decent men I have ever met, wrote an open letter to Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch which was published in the LA OBSERVED.
Please read this articulate & passionate plea and then please pass it on to your friends. Maybe someone’s friend is connected to Rupert and maybe it will get to him, maybe it won’t, maybe he will care, maybe he won’t. Will he do something even if he does care, unfortunately probably not, but we are all made better by knowing that someone like Mark Sudock cared enough to ask on all of our behalf.