17 February 2012

Missed bike-commute day 2012.02 and maybe the last for a while

Friday, 17 February 2012

Today is the second day this year that has good weather to commute by bike. It might be the last opportunity I have to commute to work at Kodak/Dayton.

Near the beginning of February, Kodak announced a 16% reduction in its Dayton division. This followed the long-expected filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that occurred in January. Within a week of the layoff announcement, eight colleagues in the technical writing area were released from their contracts. The billings for their contracted services had not been paid for at least 60 days, and our department manager had continued to bill their services to a purchase order that he had written and his management chain had approved sometime before the filing for bankruptcy. Though another purchase order was opened after the filing date, its approval was in question, and the contracted workers had to leave...

precipitously... When management became aware of the issues with the purchase orders, the decision came down to end the contracted work that same day.
...and with a built-in cliff-hanger. Because a new purchase order awaited approval, the contracted workers were told that they could be called back at any time, but they should feel free to take another job, if one comes available.

Now comes the turn for direct employees to ease pressures on the bottom line. Each employee will be told on Monday, 20 February if the layoff includes her or him.

As a matter of pragmatism, I've been preparing myself for no longer working at Kodak. The layoff affects one employee in every six, and at least the first-line managers are also subject to the cut. My boss joked about the possibility of finding out first-thing Monday morning that he is being laid off and then in turn needing to tell 3 to 6 of his reports that they are laid off too. So I plan to drive to work Monday, expecting to carry home the personal articles in my cube and in my locker in the company gym.

That left today as perhaps my last day to commute to work at Kodak.

At home I was suiting up at 7:20 as the fingers of rosy dawn spread across the sky. Then the zipper to my skinsuit stuck. I pulled it down, then up: still stuck. With a couple repeats, the zipper pulled through the hitch. But as the zipper reached the neck, the whole thing split open, with the zipper housing stuck at my adam's apple. I don't know why I didn't just decide to cover the gaping front with another layer, with duct tape even. But instead I fixated on replacing the skinsuit with another and spent several minutes trying to squeeze my head through the neck opening, then slip the top off my shoulders, and then pull the skinsuit down to my hips and off my legs.

Too much time. I realized that leaving even by 7:40 would leave too little time for working through the day. (Why would I care about this, if I really am to be laid off on Monday? Either a sign of optimism or of duty. So what are they gonna do? Fire me?) So I finished getting down to skin, took a long shower that included a leg shave, and headed out the door to perhaps my last full day of work at Kodak.

The mood of ennui, of pointlessness, of fatality pervades the Dayton offices. The ship runs rudderless, the General Manager has stated that all products are under scrutiny, and that some will continue. We work without motive, though the need for continuing work is clear, if the company is to succeed. Until the workforce is culled, product lines cut, and management reorganized, no work seems to have real meaning. But decision has been lacking for a month, and no one looks forward to whatever the result may be. Resignation rules in the wheelhouse, where the Captain and his First Mate should be. Instead, they are holding yet another press conference to utter platitudes: "Business as usual!" and "It is what it is!"

But I do look forward, in a few weeks, to a different destination for my commute. In the meantime, I'll update here for my progress in finding a refreshed bike-commute to a new workplace.

See my resumé.

News Flash! Loop Detectors Sense Your Bike

Ride conditions-for planning
Temperature: 27 to 33°F at 06:45
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 mph from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, quilted tights, light jacket, quilted full-finger gloves
Bike: Trek 850 27x30-48x12 hybrid 
Time: no time for 11.95 miles
Heart rate: no data HR
Bikeway users: no data

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