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Obsolete Man

28 pages26 minutes


I’m Jake. I work as a computer programmer. I work for a large company, which is really not a good situation for a specialist like me.
I’m an average sized guy, with hair colored hair and eye colored eyes. I’m also the best computer programmer that I have ever met.
I work for a Department Manager, Gerry. Gerry is what we call, in the technical language of computer programming, an ass hole. Gerry is a politician and he’s good at that. He can get the programmers, who work for him, including me, steady work, Unfortunately, Gerry hires Project Managers, who are also politicians. His Project Managers have no real idea what it is that the people who work for them really do. However, Gerry’s Project Managers will do whatever it is that Gerry tells them to do, even if what they’re told to do makes no sense at all, to a sane person.
I have just rescued a task, that another programmer couldn’t finish. The rescue was hard work, but I learned some valuable things, during the rescue process. I’m back at the main office and I’m writing up what I have just done. I get my write up done and turn it into the Department Secretary, as ordered, which is a bit unusual, since I would normally turn my write up into the Project Manager.
The Department Secretary then tells me that I need to report to Personnel.
I have a sense of a really big problem, but I have to do what I’m told to do. I report and the head of Personnel tells me, “Jake, you have been fired.”
I’m shocked. I ask the lady, “Fired for what?”
The Personnel lady smugly tells me, “No reason given.”
I lecture the Personnel lady, “Today is the last day of my first year, with this company. If I get terminated today, I get no severance pay and no two weeks of vacation pay. A couple of months back, I was Employee of The Month. I have received no warning of failure or of misconduct, signed off by me. If the company wants to fire me, we wind up in court. I think that you realize that I have a very strong legal case. I do realize that I have to leave the company. If you will back date a layoff notice, by two weeks, so that I’m laid off today, lack of contract work, I’ll sign it and there will be no trouble.”
The Personnel lady tells me, “I’ll have to check.” She goes back into her office and apparently makes a phone call.
A Vice President then comes into Personnel. The VP and I then adjourn into the Personnel lady’s office. The VP asks me, “Jake, exactly what is your concern here?”
I lecture the VP, “I have done a good job for the company. I have to leave the company and I’ll leave quietly, but I don’t need a firing in my resume. A firing will make it difficult for me to get another programming job. I have done nothing to warrant my firing.”
The VP thinks for a few moments. He then tells me, “Gerry needed to cut salary. You were the obvious candidate, it was nothing personal.”
I lecture the VP, “By cutting my salary today, Gerry saved his department two weeks of severance pay and two weeks of vacation pay. However, I produce work, work that the company sells to customers. Some of the other programmers, who are assigned to Gerry, don’t really produce work, that can be sold to customers, Gerry might have been cost wise and total return foolish, by cutting me.”
The VP thinks for a few moments. He then asks me, “Would you be willing to come back to work here?”
I reply, “As soon as I finish signing out, I’ll be looking for a job and a paycheck. The first job that I find that meets my long term objectives, chances are that I’ll take that job.”
The VP thinks for a few more moments. “Could you have actually taken the company to court, over a firing?”
I look the VP in the eyes, “Yes, I have the necessary financial resources.”
The VP thinks for a few more moments and then he asks me. “Jake, what do you think that legal costs would have been?”

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