It seems that the economy is going down and down and down. The bigwigs in our company decided that they need to show swift action, and for the last two week we keep on hearing about cutting the costs, tightening budgets and other pleasant things of that sort. I would not be surprised if our bonuses this year were canceled and raises were significantly cut (from the standard whopping 3%). I know, I know, in this economy one should be happy to even have a job, but with the cost of living going up significantly, even a 3% raise seems like a joke, so if it gets cut... To add to it the consulting firm that is currently looking into every aspect of our org. to see were costs could be cut and "efficiency" added, and it's no wonder that many people feel on edge. (The consultants are getting paid several hundred thousand dollars in the meantime - maybe we could start by cutting THAT expense?)
Then this week there was a rumor that our fancy Holiday Party was canceled, and the memo went out to the heads of the departments that 1) budget for Holiday party was to be cut by more than half, 2) no inter-departmental invites to avoid people attending more than one party, 3) when offenring alternatives to fancy restaurants, words like "bowling" and "pizza" were mentioned. Ok, so that is hardly a surprise, but going from Tavern on the Green with free drinks to a pizzeria is a bit too much, so some people felt the party should be canceled altogether. But I think it's being saved by tireless efforts of one or two people in the department, and thankfully it will not have pizza on the menu.
Then came another blow today. We have a long standing tradition in our department to make a multi cultural lunch before Thanksgiving, where everyone brings their own national dish and the company provides the turkey. For many people this lunch means a lot more than any Holiday Party because it is actually a lot of fun and completely unofficial. Guess where another cut is made? In buying a turkey. That makes absolutely no sense to me and to many people. The benefit is tiny, but the blow to people's morale is going to be huge because if the company is cutting a $100 turkey from the budget, imagine what will be cut next...
As my son would have put it, "Bye bye birdie!"