Thursday, July 10, 2008

For the Cause

If you follow the news you might know that the company that I work for is experiencing a little cash crunch these days. So a memo came around asking everyone to identify any under-used IT equipment that could be eliminated, such as printers, walk-up computers, or pagers. For a moment I thought about my pager. I've had it for many years. When I was on leave of absence, my boss at the time hadn't bothered to turn it in, along with my laptop, so I got it back when returned. But I haven't had to use it since at this new job I rarely ever get calls, and certainly no need to be paged. It has been stashed in my desk drawer and with the battery run out. Until just a week ago, when my department finally agreed to my request to work from home one day a week. I wanted to demonstrate my excellent ability to communicate from a remote location, so I popped a fresh battery into the pager, and sent my boss an email with all my contact numbers, including that last.

The pager is kind of a relic of times long ago. It is big and heavy with a belt clip, and you have to dial a 1-800 number, listen to a message, put in a PIN, and then enter a call-back number. It's not convenient at all and compared to today's technology options, somewhat ridiculous.

Well I was on a conference call with my boss and after the meeting part he asked me about that pager. He wanted to turn it in, as a response to that memo that went around. I said I guess I could do that, although in my mind I knew that that would open a very slight possibility of someone out there trying to contact me on my telecommute day, and having to call him instead. I just don't want to do a single thing to jeopardize this new work agreement, it is vital to me that I continue to do it this way.

I replied, "Sure, I guess I could get by without it." The very next day he asked about it, and I casually reached into my computer case, and then handed it over. To my amazement, he proceeded directly to pager services to have the thing disabled, the deed was done.

Personally, I would have played it differently. This went off way too quietly. In these days of cost-cutting, it must be better to make our sacrifices in a grand way, before an audience. Like that scene at the dance in Gone With the Wind where Melanie Wilkes tosses her wedding ring into the donation basket, "for the cause" and then Scarlett puts hers in too. Rhett Butler is so moved my Melanie's sacrifice that he uses his blockade runner money to buy it back, and sends it to her. And he puts in the end of his letter: "I have also returned Mrs. Hamilton's ring" with no mention of Scarlett sacrificing anything.

And I've been regretting something else: I didn't have time to take that fresh battery out.


Anonymous said...

Save a battery?? You were raised right. Did you check if the electronic items collected were being recycled at all? Probably not. Aunt Chris

Heather Leigh said...

Hadn't heard about the new work arrangement! Good for you. Now if you could just make it 4 days at home, 1 day in the office! :) Good luck with that!

Mindy said...

In case anyone is looking here to find out whether I still have a job, since yesterday GM announced that it will be taking Additional Cost Savings Measures (my pager donation apparently wasn't enough)

They announced that there "will be" job cuts but they weren't actually made yesterday. Now we just wait and see what happens next.