Workforce Management

Workforce Management is corporate-speak for saying you’re being laid off. Thrown out, caught the axe in the neck, you’re toast. In meetings and general communications with employees our managers never ever utter words like layoffs or job cuts. They only mention Workforce Management and leave it at that. Most of us refer to it simply as being WFM’d these days. With more job cuts looming our division managers frequently spam us with useless memos and announcements concerning their plans. I think they are trying to ease employees’ apprehension and fears about being kicked out of here. The memos are real dumb. So, a few of our guys have been making spoof memos to poke fun and cynicism at the company’s leadership. Whoever is behind these bogus announcements is very good at making them look real. When I get my hands on them I usually make hundreds of photocopies to leave around the factory. I’m a shit-disturber.

Here is an example of a recent fake management memo:


What Are YOU Doing to be Bill And Dave’s Company Today!

VOLUNTEERISM: Thanks to Bill and Dave’s Company volunteers, good things happen. From April 19th through the 23rd, 2004, employees worldwide will celebrate the revitalization of Bill And Dave’s Action Week- the social responsibility event first held in June 2000 to mark the company’s launch and signal it’s commitment to be a leading corporate citizen. In hiatus from 2001 to 2003 due to the business downturn and other factors, the week showcases “Bill And Dave’s Action” the umbrella term for ongoing, year-round volunteerism, grants and sponsorship activities in communities where Bill And Dave’s operates around the globe. This year’s environmental theme- Tent and Cardboard Cities for Those We WFM’d- links the week’s activities to the worldwide observance of “We Don’t Care Day” on April 22, and to the social solutions provided by the “We Love Super Geek and Chemical-Better-Life-Through-Chemistry” support group.

Employees will learn more about 2004 activities through local communications channels at their respective sites. In this county the focus will be on rebuilding and expanding the tent and cardboard homeless encampments along the creek and rural road areas to accommodate the influx of homeless due to our ongoing WFM program. To help ensure success, Bill And Dave’s Company will implement a rigorous recycle program to collect cardboard to help in the building of shelters for the new arrivals and paper products to supply bedding and possible reading material. Aluminum cans will also be added to the program so as to keep the poor wretched souls from rummaging through neighboring communities. The long term goal is to relocate all newly homeless (nationwide) due to WFM at the soon to be vacant R.P. Site. Here we plan to provide retraining to provide cheap labor for the soon to be completed Indian Casino. Please help us get our arms around this huge task by helping support the stakeholders tasked with making this a win-win proposition for all. We will keep you posted on further developments on this exciting new project to help invigorate the communities we live in.


There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots!


~ by factorypeasant on February 9, 2007.

3 Responses to “Workforce Management”

  1. A rough sketch of a fictional play from the high mount of Corporate Omnipitus. All circumstances and characters are entirely works of fiction set in a time and a land far, far away. (How could any of this be remotely possible?)

    Opening scene of the play: Tiny Bubbles for a Switch

    Our cast of main characters:

    Nedsta: Leader after many years in the wings. Has waited patiently for the old kings and their quaint ways to pass on. Has a lustful urge for leased Ferrari’s but is comfortable with his 1987 Volvo station wagon.

    Alaime Cooter: Very well traveled exec always willing to try and learn something new on the job at the expense of others, nice guy actually with a sexy accent. (Alas, Alaime is a short time character, as it seems he has once again left our play for other “opportunities” fare well dark prince)

    Atom Russ: Wizard extraordinaire. First job out of high school was selling used Volvo’s to aspiring execs, didn’t make any money, could not control costs. Switched to electronics and bought an HP12c. Spent several months alone with that calculator and emerged with a far away gleam in his eye.

    And a cast of many a smiling face of vice presidents! Vice presidents everywhere and growing. Oh happy day to be a manager!! (Vice: a : moral depravity or corruption b : a moral fault or failing c : a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming)

    Mandate of our short play: To create a high growth Tech Company rather than a consistent 7% plus turtle. Fearless Leader: Nedsta (“Let’s see how fast this baby can go!”)

    Cut theater lights, open curtains, stage center: our heroes.

    1. Gee guys?!? Do you think we should have been trying to take advantage of this huge demand in orders that has been going on for several months? I mean, gee wiz, who is in charge of forecasting? Who is in charge of procuring materials at a reasonable cost? (A whispering into Nedsta ‘s ear, a contemplative pause) Really, hmmm…wonder how we missed that? I thought we were set with speed, focus and accountability? Golly, we paid a lot of money for those words and our wonderful symbol, A! I am thinking the Emperor’s new Clothes, but that’s another play for another day) Weren’t we assured these wonderful words were to manifest power and effect with striking results? Heck, we got a great name for a cool few million and look at all the VP’s I created. Um, who is in charge of forecasting? (Nedsta suddenly is aware of a side table of donuts) Are these donuts fresh? (At least he is focused, eh?)

    2. Next roundtable of the wonder boys. (Enter Chico Marx)”Boss, we gotta good news. Asa you know, we missed forecasting the parts scarcity, BUT! Were buying parts at top dollar like mad with all da money we got. Also, we gotta the doors wide open everywhere anda putting thousands of warm bodies in our plants. We gotta 1000’s of temp people flying into da plants. You watcha now boss, we gonna make a pile slamming dose boxes outta door. We also doing the “Cisco wannabe” boss. We’re buying a whole bunch of companies just like Cisco does boss. You wassa a right, flash the money at market high/top dollar and they droppa those pants no problem. Heh, maybe we hire ourselves an Iron Maiden from Cisco justa like HP boss? Oh, not to replace you, you da best Neddy, she coulda assist you. We all love you long time.

    a little time passes…

    3. Boss, we gotta good news and a bad news. We beena shipping boxes justa like you want, but, seemsa like sumpin’ isa wrong. Nedsta mutters, “Wrong? who is in charge of forecasts?” Boss, here taka this donut anda listen. Seems likea we maka too much boxes too late boss. Thata new Power Point/Excel forecast donta seema too good. We gotta customers returning nearly as many boxes asa we make some days. Seemsa like we offa just a smidge onna those updated projections. Boss, you gotta sugar onna you mouth.

    4. The Nedsta rises and utters, ” Who was to know? We need a smokescreen due to our slight hiccup in forecasting and execution and especially leading execution of new and innovative product from our lab. Perhaps we can blame this on quality? Yes, that’s it I am sure, we are losing sales because of paint chips and scratches, someone look into this. We must focus attention on quality. I am still proud of all of you” You are not to blame, in all of my time serving you I have never experienced anything as devastating as this downturn, what do our latest projections say? Who is in charge of forecasting?” Boss! We gotta plan! Dissa is Alaime; he gotta great insight anda bidness savvy after running PackrdBell into bankruptcy in Sacramento.

    5. Nedsta casts an eye at the exec and utters “Alaime? Ah yes, you used to work for HP before we sent you to Europe? I thought you would never be back in the US? What say you? Alaime speaks, Here is a killer plan boss, I been chattin up Larry “the squid” Ellison at Oracle and he says for a small fee he can save our enterprise AND make us a leading example of fully integrated, worldwide efficiency the likes of which has never before seen on this planet! (Boy isn’t that the truth?) He is accountable and VERY experienced in this type of enterprise, having made this offer to other business’s, and I, just happen to have the contracts with me. Sign here puleeze. Nedsta nods and says, “Sounds good to me, who is in charge of forecasts?” There is a stir in the room and the wizard, Atom Russ speaks up: “Boss, I have a supplemental plan working in conjunction with Alaime!” (Atom appears to have a small woodie but it’s hard to say for sure)

    6. “Ah young master Atom!” Nedsta’s eyes grow warm. What news of the expendables wizard Atom? How goes the transition?

    7. Well sir, you are doing your bit very well moving from site to site globally and telling each site that they are the best. As we surmised, they do not seem to want to question anything beyond “when do we get profit sharing again?” (There is an outbreak of giddiness and laughter and Nedsta gestures with a donut as if he is going to hit someone with a sugar glaze and presses a finger to his lip for silence). As you know we have been quietly and with little press closing down small areas and groups as we transition overseas. But, it seems that some in the empire are starting to put it together. Amazingly some of our employees have intelligence and testosterone, go figure? To demonstrate our command and vision, I propose that we just accelerate this thing and get on with it. I have targeted the North Country of our Empire. I believe we can use the economy as the culprit and mask our plans behind a lack of sales. They are much as a simple flock of sheep and will work well until the end, always have, always will, poor bastards were given to that mindset when the old guys were running the business with their dated notions of management is my guess.

    8. Needster nods his approval at wizard Russ, “It’s good to be king”, he looks around at his minions, “ I could not ask for a better lot to serve me, if only I could do something about our poor options that would not inspire the wrath of the Securities and Exchange Commission” “To fill our coffers I am placing various properties on market as we will not be needing a lot of future growth in the US.” Perhaps he should have left this unsaid, as there appears to be a great sadness after this casual utterance regarding options under water. It seems many of the gathered had been issued a princely number of these option trinkets.

    9. (Atom) If I may continue. We appear to have time and the situation in control overall. As our profiling suggested 98% of our employees still believe that the “other” guy is the one to go. Even I am amazed at this! Our higher education folks still believe that the Malay Miracle could never happen to them, after all, they went to the finest schools! Atom smiles and Alaime laughs causing himself to choke on his donut.

    10. (Nedsta interrupts Atoms presentation). I have a few questions. Has anyone completely figured out how this front/back thingee is supposed to work and, when are we going to make money again and who is in charge of forecasting? Actually, who IS in charge?

    Check out my latest press release: “At this point we’re not going to say that this is the end of it,” said Atom Russ, vice president of operations for Agileeze in the North Country. “I think people understand what needs to happen — stabilization in this industry and moderate growth. I can’t say things are completely done.” I would estimate there is enough ambiguity in that statement to cover ongoing terminations for the next year or so as we ramp up China. Jeeze, who could have foreseen this going so well? Indentured workers at 20% of US extortion rates for 6 days a week. Sully the Shrew looses containment and does cartwheels of joy across the table. Nedster laughs so hard he nearly chokes on his sugar donut. Sit down you middle aged old fart and let Atom continue; the gathered at the round table laugh (Nedster is sooo funny). As I was saying, Santa is here to save all our management jobs as we are already in China and established and growing. (Atom looks smashing in his Red Mao cap by the way.) Even cheaper then the Malays!! At this point emotion takes over and several of the gathered start bleating like sheep, I suppose imitating passive, obedient employees?

    Possible new slogan: We put the A in Asia!

    To be continued…just some morning muse….

  2. here is a memo from way back addressing the fear and uncertainty:

    Agilent provides solutions and technologies that revolutionize the way people live and work…a proud partner with your local Employment Development Department !

    Dear fellow employees, we are meeting here to give you more timely and detailed information. You can be assured that your management team is working on your behalf to ease and relieve the workforce anxieties, which we all are experiencing. Unfortunately, we do not have any updated information at this time, so we will repeat pretty much what we told you last week, which was, pretty much, not much. Eventually, we hope and are working towards having updated information and will be making several announcements (preceded by a ”heads up” announcement) announcing the updated information, which we hope to have accessible and widely distributed at some point before the close of our fiscal year. Your local management will be having direct Power Point presentation meetings with you as soon they have prepared their comments and the slides are ready. Feel free to consult your local management team for updates on release of any breaking updated informational decisions or if you need personal support and comfort during this most trying period in our company’s history. We would like to thank you for your continuing support for your company and the wonderful work you do for your company. For those of you who are about to leave us, thank you and may success follow you as you walk out the door and start your new work life. This is a difficult time for your management team, as we have to make painful yet carefully measured decisions as we let the little folks go free and balance your companies cost structure.

    Your management team, see you again next quarter

    PS Ned has traded the Ferrari for a really swell 1997 Volvo station wagon with auto transmission. You may have noticed he was unable to fully realize the Ferraris standard shift and it’s critical shift points. Truth be told, he seems much more relaxed belted into the Volvo, and naturally, all his subordinates seem a little more at ease also.

    PPS I believe his insurance rates will also be coming down, good judgment Ned! Way to go! Be Agilent!!

  3. Just like a coffee talk…

    JP= Are more jobs going overseas?
    Super Geek= We will do the right thing to meet the business conditions.

    Shoelaces= What are we doing about the poor pc board quality?
    Super Geek= We need to communicate better with our contract manufacturers.

    Factory Peasant= How many customers have complained about the poor Signal Generator quality (example the output board)
    Super Geek= We know we have quality issues with the ESG products, and engineering is addressing the issues. We make products that nobody else can.

    This is just like the question about the armor on the vehicles.
    They all have level 3 armor. So what does that mean. We found metal in the land fills to cover the side of the hummers because the army would not get it to use.
    Another example of supply chain management.

    Life is grand!

    SEB aka Knuckels

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