By DAVID MANTEY, Editor, Product Design & Development (PD&D)
The fireplace is burning, heated blanket warming, frosting mixed, cookies cut, ornaments hanging, everything is perfect. You sit on the plaid and slightly tattered couch under the glow of the Christmas tree, and you smile when you hear a frigid hand scraping the key against the lock.
The deadbolt loosens, the door slowly opens, and after a hard day’s work, she stands before you in the red and green speckled glow. She steps out of the hallway and into the living room; her nose tips up. You know she caught a hint of the frosting, certainly the gingerbread men and stockings rising in the next room.
Hard to read her expression, you pat the couch and tell her, “I have it all warmed up for you.”
She feigns a smile and you grow slightly irritated. She drops her scarf and coat over the rocking chair, dropping flecks of snow onto the floor. She kicks her slush-covered shoes into the corner of the hall, 30 seconds turns to hours. You stand up, “How was yo-”
“They fired me,” she says.
“What?” you reply, befuddled.
“They fired me.”
She walks past you and sits in front of the couch, staring at the wall. It is 10 days before Christmas, but business knows no holidays.
You sit beside her, console her, and wonder what the future holds. Hoping for anything other than another 18 months of unemployment, you hug her.
“It’ll be OK. Care to bite the heads off a few quadriplegic gingerbread men?” She smirks and nods, but the worry sinks beneath her eyes.
You pull her up off of the ground and head into the kitchen. The fluorescent light flickers on, and an army of dilapidated ginger soldiers have taken command of the counters.
Again she smiles, only to see the worry sink into your eyes.
I understand layoffs. I understand Yahoo’s shortcomings. I will still be the lone Yahoo! Mail subscriber as the service fades into AOL infamy — I don’t care to change services and I find great pleasure in the amount of discomfort my high school handle, email@example.com, brings people. It has slowly become a refuge for the skilled spammers’ craft, but I maintain it for the few rewards accounts I care not to have clutter my other inboxes.
But mass firings to “boost earnings” 10 days before the holiday? My company gave a fleece zip-up; Yahoo gave the gift of severance.
I take issue with the timing. I take issue with Yahoo’s seeming inability to get anything right — other than Yahoo Sports — since the company fought off Microsoft as if it were a town throwing stones at a plague-riddled ogre.
Instead of Christmas cards for the media, Yahoo provided a statement:
"Today's personnel changes are part of our ongoing strategy to best position Yahoo for revenue growth and margin expansion and to support our strategy to deliver differentiated products to the marketplace." – Sincerely, Soulless Monsters
P.S. Yahoo was going to retain the employees through the New Year; however, the company has determined that this move will provide the employees with the greatest opportunity to enter 2011 with a more appropriate resolution. You’re welcome.
According to PR specialists, the timing of the layoffs could not have come at a worse time for Yahoo. When questioned, several of the specialists commented, “We like to take the painfully obvious part of any scenario, fill it full of professional diction, and fire out releases offering our expert analysis of the situation.”
A recent statement from everyone in the world added, “Yeah, it looks bad, really bad.”
Seven months ago, Yahoo brought in former Microsoft executive Blake Irving to run the U.S. consumer products group. At the time, Irving promised to bring the “cool back to Yahoo.”
This may be a shot at the adage, "There is no such thing as bad press." The 600 pink slips may get you in the news, Yahoo, but losing 4 percent of the company’s workforce most certainly isn’t cool.
To those entering unemployment, you have my sympathies. Now, I’m off to bake less difficult cookie shapes. How any gingerbread man/woman comes out with all four limbs is beyond me.
E-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org — let’s send Yahoo’s staff some traffic, a bit more of the workload for the remaining 96 percent.