A major Israeli high tech corporation switched to a 4-day work week in the wake of the global economic crisis. How are its employees feeling now?

Kid head in the sand

This article was translated from a Hebrew comedy sketch written by comedian Barak Kesar about working at the above major high tech company.

Corporate hijinx

Look at what we’ve come to…

Look at the cleaning lady, hanging around with an “I will always have a job because there will always be dust” face. Just wait until the soap bubble you’ve been living in bursts; let’s see how you deal when the prices of bleach go up.

Now we’re down to 4 work days…

On Sunday morning my little boy picked up the phone and called the kindergarten teacher to tell her he’s not coming.

Teacher: “Why?”

Son: “Couldn’t find an arrangement for Dad. At least I managed to send Mom off to the mall.”

At first it’s confusing, you don’t know if it’s Saturday or Sunday. The only way of checking is the oven. If there’s a pot of jachnun in there, it’s Saturday.

And if we’re canceling days, why Sunday? Why not Thursday, save us the expenses of the Shabbat dinner while we’re at it.

Things are rough everywhere, not just in high tech.

The beggar at the intersection told me that due to the crisis he’s been forced to increase his work week to 8 work days.

If we were factory workers, we’d at least see some action, lock the gates, burn some tires. In high tech, what’s there to do? Burn the DiskOnKey? Block the entrance? Most of us work from home anyway.

Ever since the “It’ll be OK” commercial for Bank Leumi has been on the air, I’ve been panicking, hysterically! There's nothing more terrifying than an Israeli telling you “don’t worry, it’ll be ok”.

There are lots of people out there looking for jobs with Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, 10 years of experience, but between us, there’s only one thing anyone needs to work for my company: an Indian citizenship.

Heartbreaking to see everything going over to India. I hope the financial tsunami doesn’t get there. Personally I prefer to hope that a real tsunami gets them, the one with the waves, the jellyfish, the Thai people.

It’s like in Thailand you see all the good farmers run away to Israel, or the Chinese who don’t have any more construction workers left because they’re all here.

And not only do they take our jobs, they also make sure to mess with our future generation’s brains as they go to Goa after the army, only to come back in a dolphin-like state.

Sometimes I feel like going there and opening an El Gaucho restaurant, on purpose, with a picture of a cow spinning on a shawarma skewer.

My company has creative methods to increase efficiency.

In order to get you to arrive earlier to work, they lower the number of yogurt cups in the kitchenettes. If only they knew how much valuable time I waste by chasing the last yogurt cup instead of working…

If you get to work at 9:00, you’re done for. There’s no chance you’ll find yogurt. At 8:30 you stand a shot, but that includes frantically running through all the kitchenettes on all floors.

And it’s not just the yogurt, it's the bread rolls too. A few years ago they’d give us sandwich rolls, then they cut down on roll size, then they just brought in empty rolls. Tomorrow they’ll give us flour, water and a recipe.

And at lunch? There’s a million conditions: if you took a cold meal ticket, you’re entitled to a salad but not to dessert or a hot side dish, and God forbid you should also take a soup.

In general, cold meal eaters have an identification mark – the special tray. You have a special tray – then… No Soup For YOU! Wait – what if it’s a cold soup? Does that count as a cold meal?!

Since the food reforms I’ve been continuously paranoid. I keep imagining the caterer yelling at me through a microphone: “Company inhabitants, you are in the dining room, please act accordingly.”

Yesterday I was caught red-handed… with a cold tray… and a lukewarm chicken. Fortunately, I had stuffed the rice in my pocket.

Is it me, or do they have to put in less effort for food in Survivor?

Now they’ve put a limit on mileage too. They’ve installed a green box in the car, sort of like a black box on a plane. (By the way, if the black box is made of material that is crash-proof, why not make the entire plane out of the same material?)

There are new stickers on the back windshield. Instead of “How’s my driving? Dial…”, it's now “Am I driving? Dial…”

Today my company's name is synonymous with “feel sorry for me”.

Every time an article comes out about another round of dismissals at the company, there’s an obligatory scene with the neighbors.

The neighbor comes over, feeling out the vibe: “Hey man, is everything ok? I’m not used to seeing you at 8 o’clock in the morning. What happened? Didn’t feel like going to work today, or they didn't feel like having you come in?” Or- “I’m sending you something to your work email account, are you still checking it?”

A second neighbor: “Oh man, I saw the company sticker on your car, I didn’t know you worked there… If you need anything, I know someone at JobMaster, I can get you a good price for the subscription fee and you'll pay the first installment only after getting fired.”

I’m waiting at a red light, in the car next to me is some guy from a competitor – now there is some sort of covert discussion with those standing next to you at the traffic light – he gives me the look of an Indonesian watching the tsunami hit Thailand, a look of “I survived, good luck to you.” The guys from that company have already taken over all the staircases in all the buildings, without leaving us any places to clean.

I come in to work, the hallways are empty, no one dares to walk around. If someone says Shalom to me, I start to think: “Wait a minute- was that his final farewell? What can I take from his office?”

Or maybe it will be he who’ll say sometime later: “I can’t believe it, I only said Shalom to him this morning.”

And in general, whenever more than two people are looking at you as you’re walking through the corridor, they probably know something. And every conversation starts with “Have you heard who”?

“Have you heard who got fired? Shimshon, the guy walking around here earlier with the yogurt.”

“You don’t say, wait… he had yogurt?! Which room is he in?”

The ways of notifying people have grown sophisticated too.

One guy was asked whether he’d opened the “Mamon” (business) paper on Saturday. He answered: “No. Why”? They told him: “You should, they've got some good classifieds in there…”

There was one VP who was really nervous before “the talk”.

“We’ve called you in to let you know that we’ve arranged an office for you.”

“An office in the corner building?”

“Close, the unemployment office.”

I heard one guy who was told: “Listen, if they call you from “Big Brother” or “Survivor” and ask you to participate in their next season, tell them you’re available.”

Women, however- are covered.

Once, when there were wars, you’d know that after 9 months there’d be an increase in the number of births. Now, it’s the same thing. Every round of dismissals triggers a baby boom.

There’ll be a song about it in a few years: “We are the children of the high tech crisis 2009”.

Pregnancy. Your anti-dismissal pill. 100% proven success rate.

In a few years the kid will ask you:

“Mommy, did I come into the world by mistake?”

And you’ll answer, “No honey, Mommy was on the chopping block at work”

“And my seven brothers and sisters?”

“What can I say honey, they had my number, I had to dodge the boot quite a bit.”

Today, getting pregnant is like getting immunity.

Even a single woman I know pulled out a positive pregnancy test stick and shoved it in my face. I told her: “Saral'e? You’re religious!”

She told me: “I did a Shabbat at the kolel, everything included, the Rabbi said that all means are kosher.”

There are also the fakers. One woman comes in for the talk with a huge belly.

“What’s that”? They asked her.

“Pregnancy!” she answered.

“From whom? (bedding maker) The “Fried Brothers”?

“No, why?” she asked.

“Because the corridor is covered in goose feathers, you have a hole in your pillow.”

A friend of mine told me that his wife won’t let him sleep! “I have to get pregnant, I have to get pregnant”. Eventually, he ended up getting fired for coming to work exhausted.

I said to him: “you should have told me, we could have done shifts. What does it matter, pregnancy is pregnancy.”

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Sue


    Working Less? Earning Less? Five Ways Not To Go “Postal” in a LOL-joking way

    On the day that the pilot Sully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, our boss gathered all of us declared that management (people above our boss) ordered cuts in our hours. When they cut your full time hours to 4 days a week at 32 hours, you have to look at the positive side of things in order not to feel sorry for yourself. This is a typical advice which anybody would get from their mother (i.e., if she cares about you) or your girlfriend (only true if her high heels addiction doesn’t depend on your pocketbook).

    Take the sucker punch. Smile. Tell yourself it’s OK, and then walk away. Besides if you’re Dilbert the cloud in your head would say, “YOU STILL HAVE A JOB. OTHERS DON’T.” This is easier said than done unless you’re a per hour employee like myself and do not depend on a sugar mommy to pay your credit card bills and the bad habits which you can’t live without.

    After I took that sucker punch from management, I wanted to organize a strike and rent one of those twenty-foot-tall blow-up rats. Park this monster rat standing up by the main entrance of our Madison Avenue office, with its claws in Freddy-Krueger pose and Bugs Bunny tooth exposed and ready to bite the heads off management the second they come out for their cigarette break. I would even film this event myself and sell it to the makers of those “Truth” no smoking ads. Besides this is the same management who, a few days before the announcement, relayed to thousands of company employees in an e-mail that not to worry because “our operations are unaffected by the financial markets downturn and our economic fundamentals remain strong.” They deserve this unholy end to their lives.

    But that’s not going to happen because you are a good person and have values that my late grandmother would be proud of. So if you have the confidence, I suggest five ways to calm down:

    1) Convince your office’s IT personnel to give you access to NSFW (Not Safe For Work) sites. Tell them that worse comes to worse they would get fired first anyway and that they should be the first ones to break the rules.

    2) Gather the e-mail addresses of management. As soon as you get home go to the adultery Web site called Ashley Madison and create a profile. Put pictures of cartoon characters for their profiles.

    3) Access the folders in the shared drives of your computer’s network. Rename the folders used by other departments. Use names of losers, namely New York Knicks players or the middle relievers for the New York Yankees.

    4) Look at yourself in the mirror. Pick your nose. Thank Jesus (or any “God” you worship, be it your beer, yourself, Buddha, or your girlfriend’s hourglass body) that you don’t look like Dilbert. (Hopefully you don’t.)

    5) If you don’t look like Dilbert, dream of that making-out rolling around the beach scene in the movie “From Here to Eternity” with that sugar mommy you wish you have right now. I remember the 40-year-old Chinese-American woman who wanted me when I was 24. If that never happened to you dream of Bo Derek from the way she looks like no more than 10 years ago. Yes that would work. Nicole Sheridan? Terri Hatcher? Demi Moore? Yes. Yes. Yes. Why not? Just don’t dream of Joan Rivers.

    No matter how you feel please don’t turn into Michael Douglas’ character in “Falling Down”. Don’t shoot people.

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