Nostradamus? No - I'm Just An Observer...

I try to keep an eye on things happening around me, which is advice I'd give to anyone. Open your eyes - shut your mouth - and you may be surprised.

2007 was the year I decided to act on my observations. Oh I tried telling people it was their time to do the same thing, but no one believed me and they all called me paranoid... sluffed it off as they were just blowing off steam and that the sick feeling in the pit of their stomach was simply stress.

I had been observing the company dynamic of the Advertising agency I was working for since 2004. Instead of looking to diversify their portfolio (since they were strictly automotive since 1980), the company pressed on. The screaming / yelling advertisements with obnoxious poo-bahs who were so full of their own horse shit they believed they could sell themselves as roses in a Hilton... muscling their way into new markets with old ideas. The company was admittedly running on the money from their heyday in the early 90s. Behind closed doors and in hushed conversations - managers were confiding in each other and a few employees - talking about their concerns over clients looking for fresh ideas and better value. Employees weren't concerned because they were given votes of confidence by each other and believed their value outweighed their salary. Everyone kept saying, "This time will pass, and everything will be fine." It was fine for a couple of years...

The agency had to re-compete to keep several automotive advertisers - clients looking for their money to work better as profits were declining. A few clients were lost, a few were gained, and a few just quit spending money with anyone. Most clients were being very vocal about the cost of having an agency, and instead of standing by the buying power and protection of an agency's representation - our company buckled and began cutting agency commission (and quickly lessening the faith of clients). Meanwhile, managers continued to get huge bonuses as though there were still 15% coming in on every buy - and over $100,000 was blown on redesigning the lobby with a giant water feature for clients that came to the building once in a blue moon.

I was out. I couldn't stand watching the frivolous spending habits and poor work ethic of management knowing that it was my hard work - and the hard work of my co-workers keeping their outrageous incomes flowing. Oh the carrot of retirement was there for some - that when managers retired from golfing, drinking, lunching, shopping, and general laziness that someone within the company would have to move into their place - I could see the money wouldn't hold out for anyone to actually see that pipe-dream come to fruition.

So here we are in 2009. I just received word that The Agency has had their first round of lay-offs... and they even did that wrong. Instead of cutting over-paid upper management and putting a few key managers in charge of different departments, they cut their top paid regular employees who do the actual work. Yep! Keep that useless dead weight on the top-end and drop your labor force. Brilliant. Oh - and deflate the energy level of the rest of the employees by cutting their incomes by 5%.

I hate to say I told you so.