Today, my company have a massive layoff, 15% of the employee is gone. I have been stressed out for the whole week. Since the beginning of the month, there were rumors about the company is having a layoff plan. The rumour is leaking more and more information out, and we even know the numbers of people to cut last week. It is 180 out of 1200 employees, probably the biggest cut since 2001. My project team has been idling since we finished our project in january. Some of us are working in feasibility work, and myself was on loan to help out another project. Seems like the whole team is the redundant overhead that can be chopped away. I would expect my team have lots of causality, but it term out only the director and one guy is laid off. I guess closing down the remote sites helps save our job. The company still need someone to take over whatever tasks in the remote site. It is cheaper to keep workers in the headquarter than in the remote sites. The productivity of the company drop to the lowest level due to the layoff rumour. I havn’t been doing any real work last week, just waiting for the day to come. Some people can work as usual like nothing is going to happen, probably their brain is built differently, they just couldn’t feel there is something wrong in the atmosphere.
How much is one billion? I am surprise to find out no many people know this word represents two numbers difference by a factor of 1000 depends on who you talk to. In US, 1 billion is 1000000000, 9 zeros, but in UK, 1 billion is 100000000000, 12 zeros. Today at lunch, we talked about the dream for all guys, marry to a rich woman and settle for life. One friend declare he will sell his body (probably his soul) to any woman, even an ugly, old and stingy woman, for 2 billion dollars. Then we joked about what currency this 2 billion dollar is, some insist it has to be in US, but some one say 2 billion HK dollars is enough. Then I bring up the question which definition of billion he is refering to, since it makes a big difference. Actually, I am the only one in my lunch group knows there is a difference, and no one believes me at first. To be honest, I couldn’t remember the exact difference either. It is hard to convince others when everyone think you are wrong and you have no external authoritative reference. Fortunately, I have Oxford dictionary installed in my Treo, so I simply look up the word and prove I am right. It is so convenient that technology brings all information to your finger tip. Just imagine if there is unlimited broadband internet connection to my Treo to bring together the power of Google and Wikipedia as well. Many unnecessary arguments are often caused by inaccurate information, if everyone can access reliable source of information at anytime, the world would have less argument and be more quiet.
Now, here is the billion dollars question, how much is 1 billion worth in HK? I assume it would follow the UK definition since it was an English colony, but somehow I sort of remember HK follow the US monetary system. Anyways, next time when you have a deal worth a billion, make sure both side agree on the same definition of a billion.
Today I had beer and wings with some colleagues after work to celebrate success of our previous the project. Between beers, we chatted about environment issues. The boss talked about a documentary he saw on global warming. It is the controversal one that calls the environmentalist crying wolfs. The theory is not new, I have read it somewhere else a few years ago. The environmentalists think global warming is caused by green house gases, but the theory said the climate change is caused by solar cycle, which is a natural phenomena spanning cycles of a few several hundred years. Then the documentary accuse the whole environmental industry are created out of thin air to profit from people’s fear of global warming. Well, the topic could have been a heated debate, but since the boss is in charge of the conversation, I just play safe by repeat what we usualy hear form the mass media to join the converation. You don’t have to truely agree with the view point you say, it can’t go wrong if the points are on the newspaper and everyone knows those points as facts. People will preceived you have said something intelligent but in fact you are just being a recorder without giving too much thoughts. When in doubt or want to hide your ture self, side with the majority, so that you don’t have to think about how to defense your points. The burden of proof is always in the side of the minority.