Tuesday, July 05, 2005

How My Job Disappeared

Ann got me thinking that I might do a better job of explaining how I came to be the Involuntary Slacker (without using any names so as not to be sued for libel).

Media Company A owns 33.2% of Media Company B. They have something called a Joint Sales Agreement (JSA), which basically means that they pooled (mainly sales) resources, as Company A is a media giant and Company B is a much newer network (about 7 years old). They had a fairly contentious relationship due to many things (I consider the behavior of the founder of Company B be a big one). In an effort to get Network B to become more profitable Company A was to help them get some new programming up and running in hopes that the fledgling TV network would get better Nielsen ratings and thus be able to charge more for commercial time .
This did not turn out to be very successful.

Low Nielsen ratings = Lower Priced Commerical Spot Times = Less Revenue

I worked for Company A and was assigned to work for their local TV station of Network B*. (See JSA form above). We shared a building and office space with the local Owned and Operated station of Network A. This worked out well, people (generally) got along and the JSA made good money, at least at our local level.

One day, actually on Good Friday**, those of us who were employees of Company A assigned to work for Company B were told that corporate from Company B had decided to do away with JSAs in all local markets. No real explanation was given. But it's not like it was a huge shock. {In January Company B fired a large portion of the corporate-level staff at its HQ. That night I went home and updated my resume}.

I am the child of divorced parents. They were pretty good about not putting me into the middle of their petty arguments, not perfect, but good. Working for these two companies I felt more tug of war over me personally, as well as contention about 'intra-company cooperation' in general than I ever felt having divorced parents. As sad and frightening as unemployment seems, there is a measure of relief now that I won't have to deal with that anymore.

* There were three of us who worked for A and were assigned to work at B. There were also three (direct) employees of Company B.
** Good thing I'm Jewish or that would've been a crappy Easter for my family and me.

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