February 9, 2006

ORACLE CUTBACK PAIN, ROUND TWO

based on the new blogging guidelines outlined by our legal department, i am required to note that... The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. it's common knowledge, and has been reported in the media today, that oracle is laying off some 2000 or so employees. i found that particular link, buried among a list of yahoo! finance notes on the ORCL page. as an aside, i think links that actually affect people's lives beyond "my portfolio lost $150!" should be particularly bold. yahoo!: get on that. of course, regular readers will remember that i seem to have gone through a similar experience last year when the peoplesoft merger occurred. i wrote then that it was my first taste of corporate innocence lost. it was precisely because of that experience that i felt like today would be different. i would be able to emotionally stand the events of the day. not so. i know it's all business and, gosh, for the shareholders this will provide some change in equity value, but it is utterly impossible to reconcile those facts in your head with the emotion of people losing jobs when you experience it firsthand. i challenge anyone to walk into their company on the day of lay-offs and not be emotionally affected by the situation. maybe when i've experienced it ten times, but certainly not two (and i certainly would rather not find out if ten is enough). i write this not to blame anyone, because there is no blame, but just to provide some color to the commentary of the day. 2000 people means 2000 of these snapshots: - walking into the building in the morning, i was struck by the somber mood of the whole company. people walked around, shifting their eyes, trying to determine through your gestures where you stood on the chopping block. some things i noticed: 1) the particularly vigilant pose of the badge security guard, making sure ex-employees did not dodge their way up into the building, 2) the downtrodden look on employee faces when they saw ANY (innocuous, on any other day) cardboard box, 3) the wordless shakings of heads between colleagues, indicating that either they hadn't yet heard or they weren't coming back. - i went to target at lunch to run some quick errands and saw a member of our team aimlessly walking through the aisles. i said a quick hello and knew immediately from the look on her face. ashes. - the insightful note by a manager who no longer is managing anyone: "i'm all out of cigarettes. i've never had to supply so many non-smokers as i did today." i respect him as much as anyone here at oracle and seeing how he felt by the look on his face today, i can understand the loaded nature of his statement. - the announcement of a mentor, as he came by my desk, just saying "i'm going to go home for the day. this is just depressing." - and most heartwrenching of all, walking through the entire process of anxiety, fear, acceptance, humor, sadness, and finality with my cubemate. she had sat next to me for the past 18 months, minus three during her maternity leave. the last week she had gone through the full range of human emotion, knowing that her time here was probably up. this morning, finding out that she had a mysterious meeting on her calendar, the only words that could escape her mouth between sobs were "do you have any tissues?" as i helped her carry boxes down this afternoon, we were met in the lobby by her husband and their baby girl. as tears came down her face, her cute little baby stumbled around happily in her pink sweater and matching pants with the help of dad. it was the oddest dichotomy and, perhaps, the perfect visual of my post yesterday. the constant emotional stream of crises for the adult. the idyllic and ideal innocence of the child. a startlingly emotional moment for the outsider, making even grown men in the lobby teary-eyed. i audibly heard the words in an english accent, "what a *fucking* day..." when i was little, i once read the book ender's game. in it, ender and his friends unknowingly send numerous troops to an epic battle for galactic supremacy. they think that they're playing a game when it is in fact real life controlled from a distance. the powers-that-be justify the pain of some for the salvation of all. in the end, ender is incredibly torn by the emotion of the event. i imagine today that somewhere the powers-that-be at oracle justify the reduction in force through revenues and profits and rising stock prices. i just hope they have a little bit of ender inside of them: a little bit of humanity.

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3 Comments:

At 2/10/2006 12:48:00 AM, Anonymous ives said...

oh larry ellison
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/01/31/MNG62H06991.DTL&feed=rss.business

 
At 2/10/2006 12:48:00 AM, Blogger poisoniivy said...

om/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/01/31/MNG62H06991.DTL&feed=rss.business

 
At 2/10/2006 10:42:00 AM, Anonymous kma said...

thats heavy yo.

 

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