We are approaching the infamous tenth anniversary of a hateful attack on America. I am certain there will be a million Blogs, columns, TV Specials and other media reports commemorating that dire event. This is not one of them.
9/11 marks a tenth-year anniversary for me as well, one of lessor importance overall, but one of some trauma in my own life. On the morning of 9/11 I was scheduled for my first meeting with an Outsourcing Firm on the top floor of the tallest building in Wilmington. For some reason the meeting was cancelled and that building was evacuated.
I had just been jettisoned by the company where I had worked for 21 years. It was not for cause, in fact, along with another, I shared in rescuing from the ash heap a five million dollar blunder made by management. But I was 60 and a long-timer with a very good record, which meant I had a decent salary from a number of merit increases over the years and more troubling, expensive benefits. Therefore my unrequested departure was simply a case of economics. A number of us fellows and gals whose hair had turned gray and teeth had grown long, if indeed we all still had our hair and teeth, were set adrift to lighten the load on the bottom line. If at fifty-five many places offered us a senior's discount, to this company at fifty-five we had become discounted seniors.
Officially the department of my employ had been reorganized and my position eliminated.
I was to find myself on the law of diminishing jobs several times over the last ten years. I worked at a place for a year and a third and then was handed a letter stating I was being let go "due to cost reductions". I worked another place for four and a third years and found my hours greatly reduced and my days numbered do to faltering business. I left there for a promising situation, which did not blossom and after a year and a third (you gotta watch those fractions, especially one-third) I again became familiar with the phrase, my position eliminated. All these were economic considerations not in my favor and reminders of the old saying, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." I fall on the second side of that, I have definitely grown poorer.
Now I don't 100% subscribe to that bromine. But I got to tell ya, I don't completely discount it either.
There is another old saying, "It takes money to make money." If this is true, friends, then I am plum out of luck.
So let's review a bit about my last bounce into the ranks of the unemployed. But do not worry, I will not push up that 9.1 unemployed stat. I don't get counted. Anyway, I played my part in the grand plan to save the ship, which had barely floated the last five years and had a whopping loss in their last quarter pushing them ever deeper into the water of red ink. They got rid of the lowest level of employees, who really contributed little to the company failures, but are easy to make walk the plank. They plan to close 10 to 12% of their stores. Or as some one said on a financial message board, and I quote, "
Perhaps all this has bailed the ship out, especially that last, for yesterday when the stock market fell over a hundred points, this company bucked the trend and jumped a whopping 27% in their price. I mean, this was a stock with a steady decline, a penny stock that had fallen below a dollar making it a risk of being dropped off the NASDAQ board. Even though we are talking in cents, this sudden jump upward caused a bit of chatter and speculation.
What happened was the CEO snapped up 342,000 shares of his companies stock at $.92 a share. I guess dropping his $1.00 a year salary didn't dent his wallet too much. This is an expenditure of $314,640.
Perhaps this shows great faith in the company's future, putting your money where your mouth is, to use one more old cliche in this little broadside of mine. Perhaps this will infuse confidence in investors. At the very least, perhaps this will push the stock price above the one dollar sticking point and keep it listed on the NASDAQ.
Indeed it did accompanist the latter. The stock, in a down market, finished yesterday at $1.15. Yahoo, way to go and all that to the credit of the CEO for saving the ship from being striped of recognition in the world of Wall Street.
But there is a darker possibility and it is why the rich can get richer and you can't. This CEO bought this stock at 92 cents and by days end it closed at $1.15. On paper, in a few hours, this man made $78,660. That is not a bad days work, despite the fact no real work was involved. If he sells this morning he will grow richer over a cup of coffee.
Now I can't imagine he would do that. If he did it would go very badly for this company. But you know this type of quick profit taking goes on.
If he holds the stock, maybe the company will rebound with their fall collection, with their new TV marketing campaign, with their adding numbers of clerks and salespeople to the lines at the unemployment bureau. If so, well, then the rich man grows richer and I'm sure we will all be glad for that.
After all, none of us want to see our good old sayings prove false.
Photo is of the Breakers, the Vanderbilt Mansion in Rhode Island, taken by the author, 2009.