God Bless Us Every One

Last Christmas we were all dreaming of dot-com riches. Stock options were giving us all “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”

This year is different. Instead of expecting Ferraris in our driveways, we’re just hoping Santa doesn’t drop coal in our stockings in the form of pink slips.

This Christmas we’re just happy to be working. Those of us who were always thankful (like myself) are now warm and toasty. Unlike the rest of you, I saved all those tchotchkes we got during the good times. (I went through the Internet Bubble and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.)

I’ve still got the shirts, socks, and free underwear and lots of bags to put them in. If worse comes to worst, I’ll be big news at the swap meets and garage sales, selling my funny pens and bouncy balls that light up when you bounce them. (“Get your red-hot yuppie souvenirs! Precrash collectibles! Hurry, hurry, hurry!”)

All this stuff about an Internet recession (or a little Internet depression) was funny for me until this week. You see, now journalists are losing their jobs. (Developers and bizdev managers are one thing, but unemployed journalists are competition for freelance gigs.)

Red Herring has cut 32 positions, including 7 writers and editors. The Industry Standard and Business 2.0 have halted publication of monthly supplements. Upside Media has gone through a total reorg, having found the downside.

Now I would like to think that the reason these magazines are troubled is because smart, frugal advertising executives are all lining up to buy sponsorships on ClickZ. But I haven’t been that high for decades.

I guess I’m just going to have to take up auto mechanics. It seems a garage mechanic in Michigan has been moonlighting as the Cyber Paperboy, pointing out great news stories and drawing a million visitors a month.

See why I have to hustle? Competition can come from anywhere. Maybe grease makes great businesspeople. Think of all the funding you can squeeze out of a few hundred oil changes. Do you think he could use a columnist?

Actually, the reason for the frenetic nature of today’s column can be explained. I just heard from one of my editors that ClickZ is going to be publishing as normal on both Christmas and New Year’s Day. This means that, like Bob Cratchit, I’m expected to leave my little Tiny Tims at home, bundle up in my cloth coat and scarf, and book on over to my computer to give you some Christmas cheer. Scrooge says work, so we work.

Fortunately, thanks to all this news about layoffs, I’ve got the right attitude now. Nice folks, the Scrooges, they keep me working regularly. Even on Christmas they find something for me to do. I know some think they deserve a good haunting, but not me. I wouldn’t hear a word against them.

God bless us every one.

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