Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Big Announcement

Well, my company finally made The Big Announcement – the building closing announcement we were expecting.  You’ve probably read about it in the local papers, though it’s not headline news.  Our building is closing.  They’re going to relocate all the employees who don’t retire (and that’s a fair number) or find other jobs here in New Jersey to our company’s other offices.

Being New Jerseyans, no one can really blame our company, even though they insist it has nothing to do with the state’s politics or economy.  Guess they’re afraid of offending potential customers or bureaucrats.  That’s total nonsense, of course.  They admit that it was a mistake to buy this huge building we’re in.  By the time they realized it, the business real estate market had already tanked.

Our company is generously offering the affected employees jobs in the other locations.  Some are hesitating because they have homes (and mortgages) here.  One can’t help thinking, as unappealing as a job at the North Pole is, at least it’s a job and while they might take a loss on their New Jersey houses, it beats losing their jobs and their houses.

What upsets our employees most is the long-term relationships they’ve established with their co-workers here in New Jersey.  They’re loyal employees and our company has been pretty much a faithful employer.  They will do what they can for us.  You won’t find many companies willing to do that.

The closing wasn’t all that hard to predict.  All one had to do was stroll the increasingly empty floors where employees could once be heard talking to customers, with the occasional joke, and various morale-booster parties and celebrations.  I’ve been privileged to catalog and chronicle this office’s history.  We’re not supposed to say such things, but it was a fun place to work.

No one was ever luckier than I was than to stumble upon such a job where I could meet and photograph so many people for so many years and be a spectator to their ups and downs.  This job has been just so much darned fun, I always knew it couldn’t last.  Sooner or later, the bean-counters and the sour pickles would catch up with us and put an end to all that happiness.

Thanks to J.D. for giving me that opportunity!  Thanks to S.D. for humoring me and for being so kind.  We’re told our department has until the end of March.  I told one of the employees yesterday that they could have an operations center reunion every five years.  I even wrote an alma mater for the occasion:

On the banks of Mazda Pond,
Amongst the garbage strewn,
Stands our operations center
Barren as the distant moon.
Steadfast as our slogan: True crew
Loyal till the building’s sold.
Undaunted we will strive anew
Till our pink slips we behold.

No one has any malice towards the Company.  But I, for one, am going to remember this comes the November 2011 election.  As certainly as I knew our building was going to close, I know exactly why (in spite of what our public relations must say) and who is responsible for this. 

Our state government (excluding Gov. Christie, who did everything he could to make it possible for our company to remain here), deserves to have this disgrace hung around its neck.  Yet another company having to flee the state.  More residents who will more than likely be forced to move.  More business and individual tax dollars out the door, leaving whoever remains to pick up the tab.  Great way to run a state, guys.

I’m not going anywhere though, and although my job would have been history anyway, all the same, I’m going to remember all of you bureaucrats in November.  That’s a promise

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