Thursday, October 22, 2009

Schadenfreude

Not.

Today I walked into one of our fine, major animation studios. On the way out I found myself in the midst of a farewell party for an upper bracket manager who happens to be departing ...

I went up to a Wise Old Animation Artist who's been around as long as I have, and asked what was up with Mr. Whoosis (not his real name).

"He's leaving," came the reply.

"To where?"

"He's leaving."

"Ah. Pushed overboard?"

Silence.

Now, Mr. Whoosis is somebody I know only a little. A while back, I had a semi-uncomfortable meeting with him where he was being testy with an employee who was leaving for another job. (I was there to observe ... and support the employee. I mostly kept my mouth shut.)

So now the exec is leaving, handed his pink slip by a management team that has decided to downsize him out of a job. As I digested this information, my reaction surprised me:

"Somebody else losing their job? Bum. I only wish the guy could keep his gig. This is a terrible time to be unemployed ..."

When I was young, I was delighted when someone about whom I wasn't crazy got it in the shorts. But not today. I am older now, and the idea of having somebody eat it for the sheer joy of seeing a person suffer just doesn't jazz me the way it used to back when I was thirty. I've been laid off, and I remember how painful it was. And I'm not keen to see pain visited on others, no matter who that other is.

Schadenfreude is sometimes sweet, but usually for about thirty seconds. After that, the bitter aftertaste sets in.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd guess the first name was Frank, only he's never been upper bracket. Only lower. Much.

Anonymous said...

I must be younger than I think. I still enjoy the shadenfreude.

Anonymous said...

Blaming middle management for studio working conditions is a little like blaming the executioner for the death penalty. Their marching orders, and therefor the company's working culture, come from higher up the food chain.

I save my feelings of schadenfreude for shows that fail and get canceled after passing on me, especially if I had to test for them.

Anonymous said...

No, her name is not Frank.

Anonymous said...

Blaming middle management for studio working conditions is a little like blaming the executioner for the death penalty. Their marching orders, and therefor the company's working culture, come from higher up the food chain.

I don't think I agree. I've worked at the same studio for years, and it's middle management that sets the tone for each production. It's always the same people at the top, but very different production experiences from picture to picture, based on the individual production managers and coordinators.

corona said...

this is a testimony of sorts to the character of people in difficult times.... in this case you found a little compassion in yourself that maybe you had not realized until now. Maybe if more people had this we could pull ourselves out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

Corona,

Compassion is a good thing and it can be contagious. I have enormous compassion for anyone who is out of work wondering if or when they are ever going to see another paycheck, or someone working under unbearable stress doing unpaid overtime for a reduced salary in fear of the axe falling.

I will never have compassion for the financial officers and decision makers of huge wealthy international corporations throwing people out of work, destroying lives and families, and wrecking the economy just to tweak their stock options up a few points.

Anonymous said...

Who said "Frank" wasn't a "woman?"

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