Paranoia (087 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Macmillan: Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.

Part Four: 44 (Cont'd)

"The 'fat' is dedicated Trion employees," Goddard shot back. "To whom we issue those little culture badges that talk about loyalty and dedication. Well, it's a two-way street, isn't it? We expect loyalty from them, but they don't get it back from us? Far as I'm concerned, you go down this road, you lose more than head count. You lose a fundamental sense of trust. If our employees have upheld their half of the contract, how come we don't have to? It's a damned breach of trust."

"Jock," Colvin said, "the fact is, you've made a lot of Trion employees very rich in the last ten years."

Meanwhile I was racing through the charts of projected earnings, trying to compare them to the numbers I'd seen over the last couple of weeks.

"This is no time to be high-minded, Jock," Camilletti said. "We don't have that luxury."

"Oh, I'm not being high-minded," Goddard said, drumming his fingers some more on the tabletop. "I'm being brutally practical. I don't have a problem with getting rid of the slackers, the coasters, the rest-'n-vesters. Screw 'em. But layoffs on this scale just lead to increased absenteeism, sick leaves, people standing around the water cooler asking each other about the latest rumor. Paralysis. Put it in a way you can understand, Paul, that's called a decrease in productivity."

"Jock—" Colvin began.

"I'll give you an eighty-twenty rule," Goddard said. "If we do this, eighty percent of my remaining employees are going to be able to focus no more than about twenty percent of their mental abilities on their work. Adam, how do the forecasts look to you?"

"Mr. Goddard—"

"I fired the last guy who called me that."

I smiled. "Jock. Look, I'm not going to dance around here. I don't know most of the numbers, and I'm not going to shoot from the hip. Not on something this important. But I do know the Maestro numbers, and I can tell you these look overly optimistic, frankly. Until we start shipping to the Pentagon—assuming we land that deal—these numbers are way high."

"Meaning the situation could be even worse than our hundred-thousand-dollar consultants tell us."

"Yes, sir. At least, if the Maestro numbers are any indication."

He nodded.

Camilletti said, "Jock, let me put it to you in human terms. My father was a goddamned schoolteacher, okay? Sent six kids through college on a schoolteacher's salary, don't ask me how, but he did. Now he and my mom are living off his measly life's savings, most of which is tied up in Trion stock, because I told him this was a great company. This is not a lot of money, by our standards, but he's already lost twenty-six percent of his nest egg, and he's about to lose a whole hell of a lot more. Forget about Fidelity and TIAA-CREF. The vast majority of our shareholders are Tony Camillettis, and what are we supposed to tell them?"

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