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Chris Allen On My Making A Crack About Marvel’s Layoffs Meaning They’re Hurting For Cash
posted February 15, 2012

Losing one’s job sucks, and I sympathize. I’m just commenting on your own characterization here, and believe me, I am not in any way defending Marvel. However, I don’t think I’d call those layoffs Marvel hurting for cash. From what you’ve linked to, it sounds more like penny-pinching, which isn’t really the same thing as not having the money. I’m guessing they do what companies I’ve worked for and a lot of companies do, which is to continue to grow without adding people and often laying off, encouraging to leave, or otherwise pressuring people until they go and then not replacing them, or replacing them from another department and not filling that other position. I have worked in a place where we continued to grow while losing several employees (most by their own choice, moving or taking other jobs), with their assignments parceled out to the remaining staff.

And while I know Marvel made clear publicly that the layoffs weren’t performance-based, experience tells me at least a few of those just didn’t fit the culture. I don’t mean personal experience with any of them but just my own corporate experience. Somebody might get his/her work done but have too much annoying crap in their cubicle, offensive t-shirts, too religious, won’t go to happy hour with the gang, whatever. You can say that that Arbona guy seemed like he should stay since he edited an acclaimed book like Casanova, but maybe in Marvel’s mind, Fraction’s a writer who doesn’t require much editing and a more valuable editor is someone who can keep the Fear Itself spinoffs coming out on-time rather than a creator-owned book where the creator is calling the shots. Sometimes, meeting budgetary goals involves making fewer people do more. It can be a short-term solution leading to burnout, though generally once you’ve shown you can do it, you won’t find the workload easing up anytime soon. Again, my sympathies to those let go, and hopefully they land on their feet, and Marvel can find ways to meet their goals without cutting staff or working the remaining staff too hard.