Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs are commonplace in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.
Excerpt from Silver Icon
The walk back up is horrific. So many people with boxes piled in their arms are being led out the door. I recognize most of the faces. In fact, it’s easier to count the one or two I don’t recognize or haven’t worked with in the past fifteen years. The place looks like the Day of the Dead. The shock and awe on their faces will be burned in my memory forever. And not just the ones leaving—it’s also on the ones who are staying. It’s how I’m sure I look right now.
We press on and when we get to the security door to our department, Sally lifts her badge. I shove mine forward. She understands and lowers her arm. Click. The door unlocks. Good, I’m still employed.
We walk through the door and hurry back to our seats without saying a word to each other. Just as I’m about to sit down, Sudhir, our department’s VP, walks over to George’s office. Maybe it’s the “all clear.” A few seconds later, they are both walking down the hall toward the elevators. Sudhir has a white eight-and-a-half-by-eleven envelope in his hands. Holy fucking shit! George is about to get his walking papers.
I sit down and unlock my virtual terminal and log back in. I call up the instant messenger app and see a silver icon by George’s name. Dave’s on-line presence is unknown and has the same silver icon. This is fucked up! There’s a loud buzzing in my brain. So far that’s three names on Henry’s list, and three silver icons. This is really bad. My stomach churns and I can’t decide if it’s hunger or if I’m gonna hurl my breakfast across the desk. My chest feels heavy. Breathe, breathe…