Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Two Peas in a Pod

Despite our lack of business and actual work to do, my place of employment has been a bastion of excitement so far this week.

Our facility is located just down the road from Toledo Express Airport, and the window in my office looks out in that general direction. It so happens that our fearless leader, President Bush, was in town this morning. He flew into Toledo Express around 9:00. Needless to say, my office was a pretty popular place at that time, as my co-workers gathered at the window, hoping for a glimpse of Air Force One as it landed, or of the presidential motorcade if it happened to pass by.

Although I'm not a fan of our current president by any means, I joined my co-workers at the window for a short time. A chance to see this sort of thing doesn't come up very often. Mostly I was just interested to see some of the peripheral events. A co-worker insisted they would close off the road in front of our building, and I wanted to see them accomplish that. Also, there was a helicopter circling above the woods across the street from our facility, which I thought was interesting.

Alas, I missed the landing of Air Force One, and the motorcade didn't pass by here. How sad. The whole thing certainly stirred everyone up around here, though.

On a sidenote: before President Bush landed, we had clear, sunny skies here in Toledo. Around the time he landed, the skies clouded over. Around 10:15, as Mr. Bush was taking off again, the skies cleared up. No political commentary here, just simple fact.

It's interesting that Mr. Bush was in the area today, ostensibly bringing the message that the economy is improving. Let's just say that we here in Toledo have yet to see this improvement. Far from it. On Friday of last week, three individuals were laid off from their jobs here.

Although they were let go on Friday, they came in on Monday to collect their personal items. One of them was caught trying to smuggle company equipment out in his toolbox. That's always fun.

Of course, all three guys let go were shop workers. The office staff seems strangely immune to being laid off. Being one of them, I'm selfishly grateful for this, but at the same time I have to wonder about it. We now have seven guys working in our shop, seven people in the office, and our production manager doing a bit of both. I have a hard time understanding how seven workers can require eight administrators.

Then again, maybe I should deduct two from my count of office personnel, since our company president and marketing director (the president's fiancee) are here only sporadically. Strangely enough, they seem to come in late, take long lunches, and leave early. Sometimes they don't show up at all. That doesn't seem like a good business practice, especially considering the fact that they're also our main sales staff. Some customers have been getting irate lately after calling several times and being unable to reach anyone in our sales department. I think it's logical to assume that we're losing potential orders, and it's not too difficult to see why we don't have any business right now and why people are being laid off.

To that end, our head engineer has also started taking sales calls, against our president's wishes. Someone has to sell stuff if this company is going to survive. Interestingly, our head engineer is also our entire IT department. That seems to be the underlying theory behind this company's hiring practices: overspread and underpay. I say that as someone who is also currently filling two positions.

In short, I'd say this company's leadership is none too capable. Much like the U.S. in general, come to think of it. Yes indeed, it was fitting that President Bush was around today. It's too bad he couldn't have met up with our company's president. Maybe they could have played the fiddle together. I don't know if they've noticed or not, but Rome is burning.

Also, gas prices around the area went up another twenty cents today in honor of Mr. Bush's visit. Thank you, sir; please come again. Come to think of it, I should practice saying that last sentence. If Bush is placed in charge of the economy for another four years, it may become part of my career. Don't laugh: it could happen to you, too.

Would you like fries with that?

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