Friday, December 22, 2006

Hard Times At Maytag: Deja Vu All Over Again?

Today's the last day on the job for 200 soon-to-be-former Maytag workers in Newton. It is reported that the plant will be completely closed by the end of 2007. The story's eerily similar to my own.

In my case, I knew for better than two years my time was coming. I stopped spending money, paid off my bills, worked all the overtime I could get, and banked close to $20,000.

The outcome in Newton has been written large on the wall for all the worker bees to see for several years now, as one disastrous 'management' team after another contrived to make it ever less likely that Maytag could recover its fortunes. Ralph Hake, it seems, was brought in only to preside at the funeral.

Maytag was acquired by rival Whirlpool in a deal that smells as bad as the acquisition of Douglas by Boeing....the deal served two purposes. First of all, there was the satisfaction of eliminating a hated competitor, and second, the capacity was taken out of production, so that anyone with the idea of building appliances in the heartland doesn't get a shot at a turnkey operation.

Any way you slice it, however, Maytag was not going to survive in its present form, and that's been there for all to see for at least five or six years.

Folks, it's over.

It didn't kill me and it won't kill you. In fact, it brought me to a more satisfying place in life, even if the debt load for the education I got is taking most of my spare change and I'll never be able to retire.

Sell the Harley and the bass boat because you didn't need them to survive and you don't need them now. Make and mend or do without. Start using the brains that G-d gave you-you know, that three pounds of grey tissue that you checked at the door when you signed on at Maytag, because you didn't need it to work there.

Don't bother envying your neighbors who were lucky enough to retire a few years ago on juicy pensions. Unless I'm very wrong, their time is coming too. G-d didn't promise you an easy life, just the ability to survive nearly anything.


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