Upon returning from New York City yesterday, a place I do love to visit, I couldn’t help but feel a bit depressed. I had a meeting at, of all places, the hotel lounge in the New York Hilton on 53rd Street and I overheard a conversation there that, while probably common, really put a lot of things into perspective for me.
There’s two guys in the lounge, sitting about eight feet from me and they’re going back and forth on how many people they need to lay off from their company while they eat food and drink beer. Right there in front of me. I was looking straight at them and they knew it, yet they continued to talk within easy earshot, no apparant concern whatsoever as to who heard them.
Now, from a business perspective, this seems incredibly unprofessional and dumb – they have no idea who I am – I could very well be their number one competitor, now privy to some pretty valuable info. Or I could very well be one of the people they’re laying off. Why wouldn’t they be doing this in a hotel room, a conference room or somewhere private where people don’t have to hear this? Who knows? All I know is that they’re laughing, writing, drinking, with little outward concern about what they’re doing. I was upset. Not upset because they were doing it in front of me, really. I was more upset because the fate of so many people rested in the hands of two half-joking guys who didn’t even care if other people heard them. I know too many good people and close friends who’ve lost thier jobs in the last two weeks alone, so to see this really just makes me feel so down on Corporate America (TM). As if I needed more to be down on Corporate America about.
The topper, though, occured when a call came in to one of them and he just starts talking about how he’s “not the sure the numbers are going to work out right,” that he may have to consider more layoffs, etc etc. People’s fates are determined by a bunch of ones and zeroes – of course we know that. We realize it. I can almost agree with it. To witness it, though, in it’s festering and rotten process, was a lot to have to bear at that time. For me, it made New York crappy. For a city with so many people, so much life, so much to offer, I don’t think I’d ever felt so alone riding in the cab on the way back to the airport.
Song now playing: American Music Club – “Fearless” (what a beautiful song)