...over the past six months, the company I work for and vehemently despise, has finally realized that morale is at an all-time low. A year ago this time they couldn't have cared less, their concerns based solely on the survival of their own necks as business fluttered. Now that all arrows are pointing upward once again, they've decided to try and turn our frowns up-side-down.
...a few weeks ago they held a company picnic behind the plant on a Saturday afternoon, advertising roasted hotdogs and games for the little ones. What they'd forgotten however, was that many departments had already been mandatoried, thus preventing several hundred hotdog enthusiasts from showing up. Or the fact that nobody thought to spare a moment and check the weekend weather report, which cautioned high winds and thunderstorms.
...one week later they announced that everyone who showed up for the quarterly meeting in our lunch room could help themselves to a "doughnut fest," complimentary of the management staff. From what I heard, around fifty people showed, which sounds okay, except that our overall headcount currently sits at seven hundred happy campers.
...what I saw upon my arrival today caused me to stop, mouth agape, and shutter. Posted next to the entryway leading to the locker rooms and concession stands was a sign announcing of their plans for the next uplifting company event. A hoola-hoop contest.
...tomorrow, for no apparent reason that I can come up with, and during the two-hour staggered lunch time, depending on whichever department you were associated with, a hoola-hoop contest would be going on in the parking lot between the assembly and engineering departments, for any and all who wish to participate.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not perfect. I may be the last writer in the Western Hemisphere without a laptop. (there's a story to that...but for another day:) I have a thirteen year old who can sing "What do Tiger's Dream of " from The Hangover, while shoving a six inch blade through the throat of an evil terrorist on XBox Live. I've caught myself humming along to something from Michael Buble while driving. We're all human...
But a hoola-hoop contest? At a steel-mill specializing in anything automotive? Fifty-something, pot-bellied, press operators in grease-stained Wranglers and steel-toe boots, attempting to propell a plastic ring around their gut, trying in vain to keep both it, and their pants, from sagging to the ground.
I sent my wife a text, informing her of the company's newest attempt at creating employment bliss. Her response was..."What? Everything they've done to us over the last two years, and they want to make it all better with a hoola-hoop?"
Trying to lighten the mood, I responded with, "Hoola-hooping works like potato salad...they cure all woes known to man."
Okay...so they're trying. We get it. But if they really want to cheer up the workforce, how about returning some of the earned vacation time wrongfully taken from us over the past two years. Or how about giving a couple departments a weekend off once in a while so they can see how tall their kids have grown since the last time they were allowed to leave the plant. You know...it's the little things that would make a difference.
Hoola-hoops and roasted weiners...I really need a new gig.