Cory Farley, voted "Best of Reno" 26 times in 27 years by readers of his column in the Reno Gazette-Journal, takes an unconventional look at topics from presidential elections to the best way to cook Brussels sprouts.

Location: Verdi, Nev, United States

Saturday, December 01, 2007

How deep is that Slough of Despond, anyway?.

Leaving a semi-public job after nearly 30 years turns out to be a very public process.
My Former Employer was scooped on my departure by other local media (which is not to say I regard the event as newsworthy except in a personal way). If the Reno News & Review and Channel 8 hadn't noted an exodus of experience from the F.E., I think it would have brushed it off with a brief on Page 9 and hoped it would pass unnoticed.
But that's not the story. The story is that as soon as word got out, people began talking to me about it. Nearly every one of them, once they got past the pro forma "Lucky bastard" or "I'm so sorry," wanted to speculate on how the trend of hacking back the workforce was affecting them. Based on what I've heard over the last couple of weeks, hardly anybody feels secure in his or her job anymore, and almost no one assumes impregnability from "market forces" or whatever euphemism is in fashion these days for laying off workers until the job can't quite be done the way it should.
I'm not generally a big Office Morale guy. You get paid for work because it's something you wouldn't do voluntarily. It's nice if you don't hate going in every day, but if there weren't somewhere you'd rather be, they'd call it "play" and charge you for it.
No good can come, though, of keeping your employees on the edge of either collapse or rebellion all the time.
In the last three weeks, I've seen that everywhere: supermarkets, television stations, a hospital and notably in state offices, where initial skepticism over Gov. Jim Gibbons has turned to outright loathing.
If I'd thought about it, I would have expected it among people 50 and older. I can't even criticize it much, from a business standpoint. My F.E. can hire two young reporters for what it was paying me, and they'll do three times the work with half the detectable bitching.
The work may not be of exactly the same quality. Increasingly, though, across society, that doesn't matter. A generation of Americans has become inured to crappy service and declining standards; most people won't even notice. And most of those who do won't bother to complain, because who wants 15 minutes of a recorded voice saying, "Your call is very important to us "?
Baby Boomers all over town, and presumably all over society, are becoming aware of that. Many of those lucky enough to be able to get out are doing it. Many of the rest are hunkering down and trying to ride it out, counting the days until the kids get out of college.
What surprised me was the number of younger people caught in the same noose. Up there a few lines I mentioned "detectable" bitching. You don't hear much of that from young workers because they know they're a supervisor's whim away from unemployment.
Many of their smiles are forced, though. They've seen how big-B Business works these days--they've never known anything else--and they've lost faith in the American Dream. They're hired cheaply, put on part-time so they don't qualify for benefits, get plugged into undersized staffs where they're expected to do too much work with minimal training.
It's all fun and games when they're fresh out of school, with a little apartment and a halfway cool car. As they pass through their 20s and begin to realize they aren't immortal, though, they look to the future, and what they see is bleak. There's little indication they'll have even the basics their parents take for granted: a home, security, affordable care when they're sick. Hard work no longer guarantees success, because the minute the shareholders start to whine, you'll be on the street anyway. Might as well do just enough to get by, spend three hours a day on YouTube and keep an eye out for the next crappy job. We're going to regret this someday.


Blogger Ann Onn said...

Don't worry--people are reading! Of course I'm adding your blog to my regular list. I wish you a long and successful blogging career.

Oh, and I totally agree with your first entry. Did you know all the RGJ freelance budgets are being slashed? No, I am not an RGJ freelancer, but I know one who is being hurt quite badly by the cuts.


1:44 PM  
Blogger M&D said...

What is the future of local papers like the RGJ? What does the RGJ do well? Why subscribe?

Want in-depth coverage of important news? The RGJ often doesn't print all the text of the wire stories it copies. Local stories? Most people watch the local news. Wednesday's grocery ads? Well, yes, they're good.

Cory's column was the best thing in the paper. I'll miss it. And I'll start looking for another source for the grocery ads.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Duckingham said... will become a new addiction. Thanks for blogging....or is that bloging?

5:36 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:51 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

Core wrote: "We're going to regret this someday."

Someday? That someday for me began about 30 years ago. The term "loyalty" in the corporate world means next to nothing these days.

I don't know if Cory has touched on the harsh economic reality of globalization or if the traditional newspaper business finds itself at the mercy of Joseph Schumpeter's economic theory known as "creative destruction."

The news and entertainment business today is so fragmented that successful business models of the past - like McNews - for example, may go the way of the buggy whip.

The only paper or website worth reading or viewing is the New York Times or They offer unique stories and give their writers wide latitude on style and content.

My message to Cory in a simple one: You had a good ride at your F.E. and we are the better for it. Technological change can be brutal but it waits for no one.

On balance, I think you did the smart thing and accepted their buy-out offer. Our society - whether public or private - offers us no guarantees of any kind.

The only guarantee that can be offered is that things change and how we adapt to such change is paramount in setting public policy.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Blinger said...

I was shocked, nay shocked and dismayed, to read of your departure in todays RGJ.

I am pleased that you are going to continue commenting on the vagaries of life in this blog.

Carry on Mr. Farley, carry on.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Michael Lee said...

Right as rain again, Cory! I have worked for the same company for 40 years, and I am praying that I will be able to stay there for my last 8 years. When I started, the company mantra was that it's most valuable assets were it's employees, now, it's mantra is that it's highest expense is it's employees.
If I remember my history correctly, a little under 100 years ago, the workers and the unions managed to get laws passed establishing a standard work week as 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That has gone by the wayside. My employer is now using the term "mandatory overtime" to force the employees to work beyond the 8/5. They can and will discipline you if you don’t work the overtime. They pour more and more work on us until we can’t help but fail, then they hammer us at pay raise time.
What a crock! I absolutely love my job, but I detest my work environment.

9:37 PM  
Blogger dwoods48 said...

Congrats Cory, We did'nt renew Our paper the last time anyway ... This is much more fun , Keep Your HELMET ON , and Your tires aired Up at our age We don't need any more Head Trauma...

7:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have a feeling this blog site will keep you busier than RGJ ever did.

7:44 AM  
Blogger fatshot said...

When I first came to Reno in in 1970, I was young, as you were, and a self-employed conservative Republican. In the '70s, I found your column to be somewhat more liberal and too "holier than thou" for my taste. I still did read the column, however, as challenges to one's own beliefs either change them or make them stronger. As the years went by, I became more experienced and better informed, and mellowed, as did you. Now, with both of us in our 60s, we are on the same page. I wish you all the best in the future, and hope you post on this site regularly, so I may have something interesting to read besides the pap your F.E. is running now.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Pellora said...

This is going to be FUN!!! You get to be your own editor and boss, you can say anything your heart desires as it were. And it will be easier to find you here than on the F.E.'s website. I stopped taking the paper years ago since I was recycling it anyway most of the time. Have a blast! Not too much into the past, though. Too much fun and games coming up to dwell in the past. And your ability to see and willingness to point out the stupid stuff going on is still much needed.

12:59 PM  
Blogger RiccardoB. said...

Hi Cory, and all you other CF fans.

If you would like to have this new Cory Farley blog show up on your home page automatically, here's what to do:

Somewhere on your "homepage" (whatever you first see when you fire up your computer and get on the "Internets") will be something-or-other about "adding content" or "RSS feeds" or the like and it will ask for the "URL" or "Address".
>>disclaimer, I am a luddite myself, and there are so many different approaches to getting this done, so I am only trying help out others like myself...<<<

Copy & paste the following:
(all in one chunk now, as sometimes these things display funny so do what you have to do to get it all in there...)

And with a little Algore magic pixie dust, whenever Cory posts to the blog, you will get it sent right to you.
Then again, maybe not...

Ciao 4 now.

2:52 PM  
Blogger sailor said...

I've been reading you for more years than I care to count - in the RJG and more recently on line as the RJG is difficult to get where I now live.

Sorry to see you've left RGJ but happy as can be that you've set up this blog. I look forward to many more years of Cory and Coffee to start my day!

Good luck and great fortune in your retirement. Been doing the retirement thing for some years now, and hope yours is as good as mine!

3:01 PM  
Blogger RiccardoB. said...

"adding this to your homepage"

No good deed goes unpunished, so if what I just posted a few minutes ago doesn't work, try again with this: (again, make sure to get it all in one chunk with no additional spaces or characters)

Now, If'n'ever CF gets to including pictures (or really goes wild with video posts and slideshows of his numerous vacations) you won't be able to see that stuff (unless you come directly to the blog). You will be able to read all new posts from one convenient location, tho.
On my Yahoo homepage, I have my stuff all laid out for me, you know, weather report, email summary, and now... Cory's new blog!
Best o' luck.

3:22 PM  
Blogger KathyScienceNerd said...

The RGJ is clueless. Ive been in Reno since 1987 and I am in complete agreement with m&d, Cory's column was the best thing in the paper. At a time when the fate of newspapers is in jeopardy you don't substitute your first string players with extra cheap labor. Thanks for all of your entertaining insight into today's world. Keep on blogging Cory, and I'll keep reading.

4:06 PM  
Blogger ............. said...


Read this and and your RBR post.

None of it makes any sense, and I say this a guy that was VP Finance in a public company once upon a time. It's voodoo math not reality.

Enjoy the change and ride your bike, a lot.


4:32 PM  
Blogger DCinNV said...

Oh why did you leave? We love to ready your stories, talk about them around dinner, our son has done school reports on some of your stuff.
Please keep writing.
Could not agree with you more. I worked in small business for 15 years, after the 3rd lay off due to not being able to afford me I went to a Fortune 500 company.
WHAT A NIGHTMARE, I got in trouble for buying a new coffee pot out of petty cash.
Lay offs already have happened 3 times this year.
Give me the next crappy job cause this one sucks.

7:07 PM  
Blogger jerhig said...

"Life's a bitch and then you die."

8:12 PM  
Blogger renoactor said...

It is sad to watch the decay of truth, intelligence and impartiality in American journalism. I have been an avid reader of daily newspapers for lo, these over 50 years my life, and like a life-long crackhead, I'm unlikely to stop. However, thanks to Cory for providing this blog for more of the Smartness and Sensibility I've depended on for so long. Maybe I'll wean myself of newsprint.

7:58 PM  
Blogger angelosdaughter said...

Good you took the buyout, Cory, at least you got something.
I worked for Renown (jumped- up Washoe Medical Center) for four months shy of 33 years. In the interests of "responsible stewardship" the powers-that-be don't offer a buyout; they just eliminate your position. All I got was 3 months of severance with health insurance after almost 33 years, and they act like they're really giving you something. St. Mary's did better by their senior employees, offering buyouts when they had to reduce staff.
Company loyalty is a wasted emotion these days. Watch out for yourself, because no one else will be.

9:59 PM  
Blogger said...

The following is a letter I sent to your erstwhile employer, which they chose not to publish.

"I was saddened to have read that Cory Farley had opted for a buyout package, which had been offered to a number to RGJ long-term employees. I disagree with almost all the viewpoints expressed by Farley, but will miss his sometimes amusing ultra liberal looney-left rants. At least, Farley never claimed to be objective and, when not bashing the present administration, his prose, although somewhat stilted, is mostly readable and entertaining.

But I digress. Your newspaper's buyout package offer to veteran employees is a standard approach for reducing payroll, used by companies who do not know how to increase revenues in a declining market, as is the case with the newspaper market segment. In my experience, buyout offers are usually taken by experienced and superior employees, who then move on to higher-paying career opportunities. It has been proven to be akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water."

8:10 PM  
Blogger eldee said...

Cory, now that you don't have to come up with nasty things to print in the paper about the opposing party.
How about useing your talents to get on the Reno and Sparks councils' case about better bike lanes and also
a safe shoulder on Mt rose hwy. I Double Dare You! :-}

5:51 PM  

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