Tales from the Unemployment LineIf there's anything more random and inane than work, it's the very randomness and inanity in which we are laid off and/or fired from our jobs. Today is the third installment of Layoff Horror Stories (send yours, or your tales of unemployment-related ennui and depression, to tips@gawker.com—have you put on pants today?) We're about to hear from someone who was informed of their downsizing by the office building's doorman, a layoff that ended up in "one giant ass-fuck, basically," and listen to a rumor that some Conde Nasties have recently resigned themselves to freelancing... web freelancing."no one probably reads either Women's Day Special or Boating"
these both happened 2 weeks and 1 week ago, respectively. first, half of the team that does the Women's Day Special Publications was let go, leaving four sad women behind to do it all. then a few days later, 4 members of the Boating magazine staff were kicked to the curb. rumor has it that both titles are going to be scaled back as far as how often they are published. (this would be a great place to make some "Hachette Filipacchi is a sinking ship" pun, but that might be way too easy for you guys). No one probably mentioned this to Gawker because no one probably reads either Women's Day Special Pub or Boating mag. i work here, and i still don't.
Conde Nasties Resign Themselves to Freelancing
Keith Blanchard, former EIC of Maxim, recently started a site called TheDailyLowdown.com. He's had trouble finding freelancers to work for the slave wages he's paying but said so far this week he's been inundated with requests for work, with many of the people having Conde Nast email addresses.
Fill Out Your Self-Evaluation; Then You're Fired
Last June my boss' boss sent me an email one afternoon asking to meet the following morning for my annual review. I thought it odd that the request came from him rather than from my boss, no one else in the organization was doing reviews, and he hadn't asked me to fill out the typical self-evaluation form. I asked if I should fill out a form and he was dismissive, said I could do it or not.

Red flags were flying, but I got my hands on a copy of the blank form and spent the rest of the afternoon, and the evening at home, completing a thoughtful, thorough self-evaluation, with goals and objectives for the next year. The next morning he came into my boss' office for the meeting, waved his copy of my evaluation form, and said, "We don't really need this. I'm not happy with the way things are going. I think you should look for a new job."
You're Just a Visitor Now
I walked into the employee's entrance of my building and the security guard said: "Visitors must use the main entrance." So I had to walk around to the front, trade my (deactivated) employee badge for a visitor's badge, and then walk up to my office to clear out my personal effects - for which the cleaning guy had thoughtfully left a couple black plastic trash bags.
Work Nights & Weekends (Until You're Fired)
I moved to Portland, Maine to take a job as the content producer for MaineBusiness.com, which is owned by the Portland Press Herald, which is swiftly going under. I asked the guy who was hiring me, the head of the web products, if I there was going to be any chance that I would get laid off because I didn't want the job if there was. I was assured there was no way — because we were web people! Six weeks later I was canned. Because they felt so bad for me they told me there was a night position at the paper. I would be cutting and pasting stories that other reporters wrote onto the website from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, Tuesday through Saturday. Oh and if I didn't take it the company would change my status from "laid off" to "quit" — so there would go my unemployment benefits. I begrudgingly took the job. After a panic attack that I was losing not only my nights but my weekends as well I started my new job. Six weeks later I was laid off. Again
"One big giant ass fuck, basically"
So, I worked for a company that was contracted by corporations to run their temp worker sourcing, I guess as a way to keep costs lower or something. Anyway, our company and the software we used was bought out by another company in the spring of 2007. The 'new' conglomerate company celebrated by flying everyone to Vegas to stay at the Bellagio for a weekend, including meals, and included a ticket to see Cirque d'Soleil or whatever for good measure. Oh, we also got $50 in chips for the Bellagio to use, which I promptly cashed in to use for food cause fuck that shit is expensive. Six months later, the rumblings begin. Some people were laid off in another division a few weeks prior, one of my co-workers was forced to work for an Asian branch of a company, making her schedule change from 8am - 6pm EST to 6pm - 4am EST MAGICALLY overnight! Also, our boss stopped showing up to work for the two weeks prior, blaming stuff on her daughter but her daughter accidentally called the office at least twice in this period looking for her. Anyway, we get an email from corporate instructing everyone not to return to work until further notice. I guess they ran out of money and filed for Chapter 11. Hundreds of temps at the companies we contracted for were never paid, and they weren't even WORKING for my company, just had the misfortune of being paid through them. Oh, I didn't get my final pay until five months later. Apparently, they hadn't been paying insurance premiums either and people who went to the doctor in November or December were being denied their claims because they had no idea they weren't insured any longer. One big giant ass fuck, basically.
[Photo: cover of the awesome Temp Slave! anthology]