The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Your Job Has Been Eliminated, What was your name?

January 15th, 2004 . by Alexander Fisher

Looking back on the last six and a half years, I cannot come to any quick conclusions. I am sure that it was not a waste of time working for Sprint, because I never dreamed that I would end up there. I had wanted to work for a phone company growing up. I had tried Ohio Bell (SBC) and wanted to work for United Telephone (Sprint), but couldn’t get an interview. I began in cable television in 1978 instead and worked as a hardline cable tech most of the time.

I was working for a company terminating fiber optics and ethernet networking cables for a few months in 1997. The man I worked with every day did not like the people who we worked for. I am sure that feeling was mutual. To get back at them, he saw an ad in the paper one Sunday advertising a job in Toledo at a cable company that was looking for a technical manager. He gave it to me saying that losing me would pay them back for the way they treated him. I was a pawn in his evil plan, but it looked like it was right up my alley. It turned out to be a wireless cable company. I had six years experience in wireless cable and I got the job.

The company that I began working for was never up to the challenge. They never invested in upgrading or maintaining their equipment. They just maintained the status quo, which really meant everything just got older and worse. Most of our customers hated us.

In 1999 Sprint bought about half of the national wireless cable companies and MCI/WorldCom bought most of the rest to turn it into a two-way wireless internet network. Plans to merge Sprint and MCI/WorldCom were turned down by the government that would’ve, on the surface, made it seem like my division at Sprint would’ve been moving rapidly towards success.The MCI/WorldCom financial meltdown caused their interest in wireless cable to disappear.

Coming as a nail in the wireless cable coffin was some questionable deals regarding deferred stock compensation that the two top guys at Sprint had gotten for almost pulling off the MCI/WorldCom merger. By all reports the Sprint CEO, Bill Esrey, was a big supporter of our division. When he was forced to resign, I could see the writing on the wall.

The next CEO Gary Foresee, came from Bell South. Bell South also had wireless cable interests, but had already failed in offering multi-channel one-way video service. That was something that I am sure made Gary Foresee apprehensive about getting mixed up with wireless services like ours. More writing on the wall.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I have seen many managers come and go. Each dropping whatever was left of the ball that the manager before them had already dropped. I recently had a conversation with a person who had owned some of the licenses before Sprint acquired them. I proclaimed that I could have helped Sprint save this business if they had given me any chance other than none. He told me I was wrong, that it was the big picture that failed us. I can’t deny the big picture, but I know that I could’ve made a pretty good little snap shot for a template others could’ve followed, and that could have changed the big picture. We’ll never know.

So after six and a half years, I got laid off today. The man who called me to lay me off said “So who have you been reporting to?” I said,

You, you are my supervisor”.

Oh, Oh yeah, that’s right.”

Posted by alexfish at January 15, 2004 10:09 PM

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