Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A - Always, B - Be, C - Closing

The title is obscure but relevant...

Being unemployed at this particular point in history has some strange advantages that I otherwise would not have predicted when I first found myself unemployed back in November. The primary advantage is the fact that since I don't have a job I no longer have to worry about losing it.

Strange outlook you say? On the double-entry contrary...The general mood with my friends who remain in the trenches is that they feel like they are auditing for their professional lives. My former firm (i.e. the one that sounds like a radio station) and in all likelihood, the remaining three of the Final Big Four, in their infinite wisdom have put the figurative (and sometimes literal) gun to the heads of the remaining professionals that are in their employ.

This has several indirect consequences, most significantly that any remnants of the minuscule work/life balance that existed prior to the unprecedented layoffs that have occurred have evaporated in to thin flipping air.

The irony is that this was the biggest selling point of the team (and many others I imagine) that I worked on last year. Hours were limited so that you can have a life. My colleagues that remained on that team have basically said, “Yeah, well, that's basically over”.

The worst part about that is after everything slows down (March/Aprilish) it's likely that one in five will get the axe. “Thanks for all your hard work the past six months, here's your 30 days of severance.”

Of course, this will all be done in classic accountant passive-aggressive fashion:

Partner/Manager in January/February: You're a crucial part of this team. We're really depending on you this busy season. You need to step it up for us.

Partner/Manager in March/April: We don't think your future is with this firm.

This conversation will likely take place after the recipient of 30 days severance and a future of paying COBRA premiums worked between 60-70 hours (and often more than that) a week arguing over whether a memorandum has too many bullet points, if lies conversations about the ubiquitous fraud at the client being audited has actually been discussed, and if the daily two hour meeting discussing the lack of progress should be at 10 am (too early) or 3pm (still suffering from lunch coma).

Hey! But they're still great places to work! Just ask Fortune magazine....

Who's filling out these questionnaires anyway? Sphere: Related Content

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