rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Comcast, NBC and the damage done
Some things that Conan O'Brien and I have in common:
1. We're both geeky.
2. We're both incredibly pale.
3. We were both paid by Comcast-NBC to go away.
Our exit interviews were even remarkably similar, although I'll admit that the human resources manager that conducted mine looks nothing like Steve Carell. Another key difference? A Will Ferrel/Beck/ZZ Top "Free Bird" send-off. I didn't get one of those. Oh, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $44,994,000.
After several years of working at Comcast, a dozen of my coworkers and I were given the boot last November. Upper management in Philadelphia made the decision earlier in the fall, out of the clear blue, to wipe our department and similar departments in all of their nationwide markets. It hit us like a ton of bricks but, at the very least, the company was somewhat classy about the whole thing. We were all provided with a severance package. Some of us opted to apply for other jobs at the company, others of us have moved on.
I made the decision to flee back into the comfortable bosom of academia for a second degree and, with any luck, hopefully sit out the rest of this miserable recession since the job market here in Portland is so woeful. Although, I would consider taking a job as a late night talk show host on Fox if the network isn't able to hash things out with Mr. O'Brien.
I caught the last episode of Coco's run on The Tonight Show last night. It was fantastic, especially the bit where he rolled out a pre-historic Smithsonian skeleton to "destroy" an original Picasso with motor oil ("cost of this skit? $65 million dollars!"). Nonetheless, I would like to take issue with the host's teary-eyed speech towards the end though. Here it is:
I appreciate the sentiment but I've always bristled whenever incredibly successful people like Conan break out the "if you work hard, great things will happen to you" speech. On behalf of millions of Americans that have spent their entire lives working hard only to land on unemployment in the middle of the worst economic landscape in over 70 years, I'd like to note that this isn't always the case. Not all of us are floating off into a temporary sunset strapped to a $45 million dollar golden parachute.
While I'm smashing all of these sour grapes I may as well also point out that Conan's career was built on the cynicism he lambasted in his speech last night. He cut his teeth in the writers room of The Simpsons, after all, and he's the guy who brought us "Marge Vs. the Monorail."
A bit of a hypocrite? Eh, I'll let you decide.