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The Illusions of 2008

For me, 2008 had a great deal of promise. My first novel came out in March, and I had already signed a contract for a second novel. I handed in the first draft (98k) by June, and it was slated for publication one year later. Then in July, I was informed the book would not be published after all, nor the rest of the series it was to be part of—a corporate decision followed by a scripted, copy-and-pasted rejection for any future work with that publisher. One thing I learned from this experience: publishers, editors, and sometimes even authors...they aren't required to be fans of the material they're producing. They might even dislike it; if they do like it, then great, but that's just incidental. Even outside the publishing industry, I have observed that the people who produce something aren't required to care about it themselves—quality, consistancy, these are for suckers who actually believe in what they're doing. But if you're just doing it because it's your job, then why go the extra mile? And if you're someone who does care about quality, and you're vocal about it....watch out. I've felt the sting of such audacity.

Now, in December, after surviving a few rounds of lay-offs—a direct consequence of our lowsy economy and a string of poor decisions—the company I worked for finally added me to the list. Which wasn't unexpected, really. Myself, and a whole number of really good people—the dedicated, the ones who ensured true quality, the ones who cared more than anyone else—are gone. I was around long enough to see the CEO's copy-and-paste "encouragement" email to those who made the cut. Laughable drivel. And so the pattern I observed above is thus repeated. Out of the need to eliminate X number of dollars from the company's payroll, many good people have been displaced just in time for Christmas. I've never seen such an example of a company truly shooting itself in the foot. But there you are.

Of course, this is happening all around. We hear it on the news every day. The unemployment numbers are tremendous. I'm not very nervous just now. My wife and I will be all right. But what may take a hit are the savings we've have been trying to grow for buying a house—and just general future planning. But we'll weather it. And while I'm eager to see 2008 expire, December is still one of my favorite months, so I'm in no hurry.

I hope everyone who reads this is doing okay, or better. I still hold to what I said at Thanksgiving: there's a lot to be thankful for and I haven't forgotten it.

posted on 12.12.2008
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