Sunday, September 4, 2011

#SampleSunday Jobless Recovery

Jobless Recovery is a term we've all come to know. We've read about it in the news, heard about it on TV, and a lot of us are experiencing the jobless recovery. Now here's Jobless Recovery, the novel. Here's a short scene where main character, Dave Griffin, a computer programmer, has just lost his job to cheaper imported labor. Ken is his supervisor, who doesn't know quite how to smooth things over.

From Chapter Three

Ken stopped at Dave’s cubicle shortly before lunch and dropped the envelope on his desk as if it were a bomb. Dave shot a rubber band across the cubicle and watched it bounce off a spare monitor he’d scavenged from the supply room and left in a corner in case he needed it one day.
“Come to give me the tragic news? Don’t like being the bad guy, huh? Guess it hurts your image of yourself as the ever-popular leader of Team B. Hey, don’t worry, you’ll still be my favorite bald-headed boss in plaid.” He lounged in his seat, pretending he wasn’t suffering internal panic.
Ken’s face went blotchy, spots of red fighting for space with pale beige. “They told me yesterday afternoon in the supervisor’s meeting. Who was riding the rocket and who wasn’t, I mean. I get to stay on and supervise.”
Ken lifted a Dollywood pencil sharpener off of Dave’s desk and turned it over and over in his hands until it popped open and shavings fell out all over the front of his shirt.
“You don’t have to feel guilty because you didn’t get fired, Ken.”
Ken’s expression remained glum, so Dave added, “I’m glad you still have a job.” Ken might be a pain to work for, but Dave didn’t wish bad luck on him and his family.
“Thanks. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that I’m not losing...look, don’t worry, Dave. You’re a great programmer and I’ll be glad to give you a recommendation. You’ll find something else.”
“In this economy, I’ll be lucky to get a ticket to ride a match, let alone a rocket.”
“Don’t take it like that. You do see, don’t you, that the company couldn’t afford to pass up this golden opportunity? These new people are sharp.” Ken snapped his fingers.
Dave jerked upright in his seat and banged his fist on his desk. “Shut up, Ken. I mean it, man, don’t insult me. It’s lies and you know it. They’re going to save a bundle of money on labor costs by shipping part of the work overseas and by bringing people here on work visas to undercut our wages. Ability has nothing to do with this whole rotten deal. It’s all about cheaper labor.”
“Try to see things from Markham-Hook’s point of view.” Ken couldn’t meet his eyes.
“Yeah, right. Markham-Hook just announced record profits and a pay raise for Harris that makes God look poor. Naturally they don’t have any spare change to spread among the workers who built this company to begin with. What about the eighty-hour weeks we put in to make deadlines and what about the error free conversions?”
“Dave, keep your voice down.”
“Keep my voice down? I just lost my job because some greedy CEO dumped me on the street like trash, so he can make a few million dollars more than the rest of the CEO’s in corporate America. I’m supposed to give him a high five?”
“Bitter, bitter.” Michael pressed into the cubicle. 
 Ken took the opportunity to slink past him into the hallway and scurry toward his office. Dave shot him a one-finger salute.

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