Thursday, March 5, 2009

We've Synergized your R.I.F.

Ever notice how every couple of years some new buzzword or phrase pops up out of the business schools? We've synergized and thought "outside the box" and of course dealt with those pesky changing paradigms.

They do quite well at distracting us from what they're really doing as we try to figure out what they mean. (Picture a group of lay people standing around a dictionary scratching their heads while the money-grubbing CEOs walk out the door with cartfuls of cash.)

Now those who create these ridiculous things have come up with a new one: R.I.F. As in "reduction in force." As in, we laid his ass off. It's also used as a verb--"they rif'd 10 people today."

Notice how close it is to R.I.P.?

Earlier this decade, a whole bunch of us were laid off. For the most part people who are laid off expect to be called back to work at some point. I knew I wasn't going to get called back because the job I had at the time just flat out left town. But those airline pilots and flight attendants had a good shot at returning to their jobs.

Reduction in force couches the whole bloody mess in comfier terms. In my opinion, it sounds better in the press release--"because of the economy, we had to reduce our force by 10 percent." You're so busy thinking "aww, that poor company--they're struggling so hard to stay in business" that you miss the point--2000 people just got canned.

Tricky bastards.

I hope they at least got copies of Who Moved My Cheese? as they were escorted out the door so they had something to fill their sudden amount of free time. (For those of you who don't know the book, it was pretty popular back in 2001 when I was laid off and was recommended by all those outplacement firms who "helped" us find other jobs. The author must have made a mint giving cheesy advice on how to deal with change, especially since there's now a version for teens.)

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