February 6th, 2004


Morale Skirmishes

So, there were these MIT layoffs on January 20. A lot of us in I/S (er, "IS&T" now) were hanging about on an AIM chat channel (yes, I know, it's non-athena tech, but it lets you see who else is subscribed in a way that zephyr doesn't), commisserating and fussing. Then someone with the uid of "jerrygrochow" entered the chat room, said "Get back to work!" and left again.

Now, Jerry Grochow is the new head of I/S IS&T, who got to preside over the layoffs and the reorg. His pep talks have focused heavily on how many people he's laid off before. He's the guy who was surprised when people got nervous when he asked everyone to send him resumes. He's... well, if he is attempting to convey an image of warmth and supportiveness, he has perhaps not been quite as successful as he wanted to be. So the idea of him coming in on this sort of chat and telling people to get back to work - it certainly seemed to me like fair satire.

Now, some people at the time didn't think it was funny, and some did. And someone pointed out that Jerry Grochow does have an AIM identity, and was even logged into it at the time, and that was sort of funny too.

But now, there's email from Very Concerned People, who felt compelled to "check with Jerry directly to see whether or not it was actually his message." And he's upset about having his personage "hijacked." Well, of course, nobody likes hearing that they were being mocked by their underlings. But for crying out loud, it's no more "identity hijacking" than Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live saying "Wouldn't be prudent..." is.

Sarcasm, apparently, is not on the management-sanctioned list of Appropriate Reactions to layoff day. It is not Supportive or Generous or Kind. Sigh.
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