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Unregistered User
(1/23/02 8:18 pm)
I have recently heard some very credible information about pending layoffs at the publications center. Is this is general knowledge? What has anyone else heard? What can we all do to help those SRF devotees who may soon be out of work?

Registered User
(1/25/02 7:40 am)
The three top managers running the place left and were not replaced. What does that say about what SRF management thinks of the place? They have announced no new raises and they have even come up with a rule that they don't want "new" monks down there because the place is a bad influence on them!

How could SRF cut the staff at a place like that? The rumors can't be true! ;)

Seriously, what can people do to help.

Unregistered User
(1/25/02 5:39 pm)
Wake Up!
The regions of SRF Hell are not limited to "Mother Center".

The SRF Publications Center has been extremely mismanaged for many, many years, with incredible politics and backstabbing as everyday affairs. As one long-time SRF member and PC employee once said, "Every person here has tire tracks embedded in his back." Not to mention the knives. I speak from personal experience.

Few people are aware that SRF almost closed the Publications Center in 1996. It was saved, temporarily at least, by a conjunction of circumstances. Two long-time SRF members with experience in printing and publishing were brought in in a final, if ineptly belated (to be expected from the bad ladies) attempt to salvage what they could. After speaking to all the workers at the PC, monks and employees, these consultants determined that the PC management team was the problem. They were right. In response to this assessment, DM reassigned all four of the PC management team monks. (Do you think she even bothered to talk to them first? Come on! She isn't that kind.) But before this could be put into effect, one of these four monks left the ashram. DM put the other three back in power and added the two consultants to the management team. It turns out she was just jerking everyone's chain with the reassignment -- it was all just for show.

The new management team, including employees now, was able to make some progress in the first six months or so, but then they fell victim to the classic SRF syndrome: before, on the outside, these former consultants were respected and listened to; now, on the inside, they were just more dirt to be spit on. Especially once they started to tangle with Queen Jackie I, hidden ruler of SRF from her throne in Accounting Dept. To make a long, long story short, the same old, killing power structures remain firmly in place to this day: DM, MM, Sharana, Jackie, Priya, Chidananda, Paramananda. The employee managers eventually all quit once they realized that they were simply being ignored and were basically worthless in that environment.

Meanwhile, one of the things that had happened was an insane, misguided, massive build up of personnel at the PC. The rationalization was that SRF would begin producing 4-5 new items per year. This is absurd. There isn't that much unpublished material. And while they were on this wild goose chase, where are the Lessons in Portuguese and Italian? WHERE IN GOD'S NAME IS THE NEW EDITION OF THE LESSONS?! IN ENGLISH?! Where are the publications that are really going to help people? The Lessons in their current form are OK, and in the beginning, when we don’t know anything, they seem fantastic, but they do not present Master's teachings effectively. This was Master's opinion, and even the bad ladies admit this. In any case, now, after hiring many, many more people than they need to at the PC, they will cause many of them financial hardship in a 30% RIF! And, to understand what makes this so diabolical, their standard operating procedure does not involve talking to anyone down there! The ax will fall based on the opinions of outside consultants. This is how the bad ladies do things. I have been there and experienced it myself. They have not changed.

An aside on the techniques: the techniques especially are extremely poorly presented in the Lessons, as those monks and nuns answering letters and taking counseling calls can attest to. The same questions and issues come up over, and over, and over again, ad infinitum. But what are the bad ladies doing about it? Pretending to look for more efficient ways to answer the same questions again and again, instead of addressing the real issue and teaching the techniques more effectively in the first place.

So, what does all of this mean? Try to realize who and what you are dealing with in the SRF organization, and if you are currently working at the Publications Center, get your resume together and start looking for a better, happier job. Life does not have to be lived their way to be spiritual. In fact, it can’t be.

Unregistered User
(1/25/02 11:36 pm)
I believe there were rumors for more than a year about layoffs. No one takes them seriously. For SRF to terminate employees when they are telling their memberhip they are growing so fast (with the "millions are coming" chant) would be embarassing.

As far as I know, no one down at the print facility ever took any of the rumors seriously. There are also many without much real work to do, but few even recognize the danger signs.

Unregistered User
(1/26/02 9:49 am)
@#%$ build up
I know that many have been hired over the last 5 years, but what is the change in the workload? They moved into a new larger building, even put trailers up outside for more office space. Is SRF now mailing out more Lessons, producing more books, or printing more things? What are the facts?

Unregistered User
(1/26/02 4:57 pm)
Some thoughts and numbers
Survivor, you’ve given us a post that should end up in the “Stories” section. What a tale! Just out of curiosity, would those managers (or at least one of them) who were hired and later quit in apparent frustration happen to have been involved in Convo organization in previous years? Those of you who know may not wish to say, but my husband and I got to know one fellow who was involved in Convo organization and who had, shall we say, some previous experience in printing/publishing. He is a fabulous person and I would feel terrible knowing that he had to go through all this.

The question of growth comes up in this thread. It’s an interesting point. In what ways is SRF “growing?” Are the numbers of members, books being shipped, etc. increasing as we would like to believe? All I know for sure is that the magazine subscriptions are definitely decreasing.

When I was new on the path, I noticed the info at the back of the Winter edition of each magazine showing how many were printed and sent out to subscribers (the U.S. Postal service requires periodicals to publish this data annually). I thought it would be fun to keep track of this data as a way of watching the “millions” who would come. I post the numbers below. As you can see, for the first few years my expectations were
fulfilled--the numbers of subscriptions kept rising. But you can see what has happened.

Year Dealer Sales Mail Subscriptions Total

1969 1359 9897 11256
1970 no data (I don't have the 1970 mags)
1971 1261 12221 13482
1972 1283 12643 13926
1973 1300 14743 16043
1974 1143 13958 15101
1975 2648 15024 17672
1976 3833 13910 17780
1977 2179 15064 17243
1978 2731 17227 20008
1979 1027 18108 19045
1980 1027 19257 20284
1981 1025 20509 21534
1982 1025 20968 21993
1983 1025 20877 21902
1984 1325 20632 21957
1985 1321 23004 24325
1986 1321 23597 24918
1987 1271 25111 26382
1988 1371 26876 28247
1989 1321 27857 29178
1990 1321 26216 27537
1991 1421 25500 26921
1992 1426 24970 26396
1993 1426 23109 24535
1994 1316 19190 20506
1995 1331 19048 20375
1996 1346 19171 20517
1997 1375 19924 21299
1998 1375 19341 20716
1999 1269 18995 20264
2000 1110 20604 21714
2001 1310 18199 19509

(I don’t know what “dealer sales” refers to. Perhaps sales at the Temples?)

Since 1990, the numbers have been in an overall decline; by 2001, the number of subscriptions has plunged to the same level as 1979! You can also see that the World Convocations held in 1970 and 1975 had significant influences (I am presuming; this is just a correlation and not necessarily an indication of a cause-effect relationship, but it seems like a reasonable supposition.) in the increase in subscriptions. Constrast that to what’s happening during and after 1993, following a massive advertising and public relations campaign for the Centennial: 1993, 1994, and 1995 all see declines in subscriptions, with a massive drop off in 1994. Again in 2001, we see another significant drop in subscriptions. In twelve years, there are nine years of declines. One has to ask, “what is going on?”

I think it is presumptuous to feel that these numbers give an indication of whether SRF is growing in membership, per se. However, I do think the SRM subscription numbers have some validity in indicating what’s going on: most keen members would want to subscribe to the magazine to find new inspirational material, and to sort of keep “in the know.” Perhaps you guys who worked at the PC have some idea whether the number of books and Lessons being shipped out was on the increase. My own notion lately has been that the number of books being sold has been increasing as people are interested in Master’s writings and ideas, but that not many are coming to join SRF as members, or are joining but quitting shortly thereafter.

I should add that there could also be a number of other reasons for the variations in the numbers. Perhaps, for example, the 1990s has seen a large increase in the number of SRF members marrying one another; thus, subscriptions to these particular members would presumably be cut in half. I give this example only partly in jest; my point is that there could be a number of reasons for the decline.

Like Crog, I think it would be valuable if you guys can supply any more facts.

Surely, if the numbers I’ve posted about the magazine subscriptions are any reliable indication of what’s going on, you’d think SRF managers--whether they be in
publications, accounting, management committee, or the BOD--would be waving red flags, saying, “Hey, let’s look at these numbers; the data are telling us something we
can’t afford to ignore!” This is basic business management.

Clearly the pending layoffs are an indication that things aren’t going well. Seems to me red flags should be waving all over the place. Isn’t it sad that when “outsiders,” be they psychologists brought in to help the SLCs, or SRF members with professional experience in printing and publishing, or SRF members trained and experienced in IT management, start raising red flags they are shot down. The only outsiders who seem to be recognized as having any value are the ones who tell SRF leaders what they want to hear. This is
“groupthink” at its worst (those who are interested might want to pick up a social psych text and study the groupthink phenomena. It is fascinating, and it seems to be prevalent among SRF leaders).

It seems that some SRF managers just want to “sit back and watch Master make it unfold so beautifully” (I confess that I worry about the one monastic who uses this phrase repeatedly. It seems he is in denial and at some point all the bad stuff he is repressing so determinedly is going to come to the surface (his heart won’t let him keep repressing) and explode. I wouldn’t want to be there when it happens. I worried about the way he looked (a trickle of fear emerging?) at the 2001 Convo).

As Survivor says, where are the revised Lessons? Goodness, I shudder to think of a twentysomething receiving the Lessons in their unchanged 1950’s style layout and language, to say nothing of all the questions people ask about the techniques that could be addressed in a new revision. This is simply inefficiency at its worst, and it is harming any good that SRF might be trying to do.

Meanwhile, we have Bro. Vishwananada telling us that SRF isn’t going to change and that the BOD knows what it’s doing.

I honestly hope he’s right, but my numbers are telling me otherwise. In the end, the entire debacle is looking more and more like a complete failure to acknowledge and apply the wisdom gained in the fields of psychology, sociology, business management, personnel management, public relations, and other fields over the last fifty years. This is truly sad.

Registered User
(1/27/02 8:21 pm)
Re: Some thoughts and numbers
You used the term “basic business management”! SRF prides itself on NOT being a business and always uses the excuse that they are different. Of course by different they mean “better”. At Convocation this year Bro Vish even showed pride that SRF was based on what he called old ways and would never change.

The numbers for the magazine are very interesting. Since the magine is so inexpensive, only $3/year I believe, they might be considered reasonable for any English speaking devotee wanting to stay connected to SRF. Therefore the 18,000 number might be considered a good measure of how many really connected and active members of SRF there really are.

If we consider that most of these are households with more than one person and allow that the single people might cancel out the people with a grown child, then we would arrive at a number approaching 40,000 for the number of involved devotees. From other things I have seen I believe this is a valid number. The SRF mailing list is much larger of course.

The SRF Management Committee, and therefore the next generation, also started to take more of an active role in the 1990’s. By these general statistics membership might be down 30% during their period of increased influence!

What else do we hear over the grapevine? Donations are down (so we can’t give out raises), and expansion at temples and centers is still held up.

Let’s imagine we are stock holders. What would we do to this board of directors? :) If they never change, and continue on like they have been, in 10 years we can hold the convocation back at the Biltmore (2000 people would attend). In 40 years back at Mother Center. That will be great!

Unregistered User
(1/28/02 5:17 pm)
Advertising campaign for the magazine
Well, KS, if we do end up holding Convos back at MC, then at least we can say, as did Master, "We're going back to where it all started." ;-)

Isn't this interesting--just yesterday at our meditation group a new display was set up showing 4-color, glossy-paper brochures advertising the SR magazine! Apparently these just arrived recently. I guess they've noticed subscriptions are down and are trying to bring them back up. It's a nice leaflet (and I think the magazine is pretty good, too), but I hope this isn't a downstream solution, dealing with symptoms and not causes. Perhaps they would be better off mailing out a questionnaire asking both current and former members what they like/liked and don't/didn't like about SRF, the teachings, etc. Perhaps they might find whether they are really meeting people's needs; perhaps they might find that the members really do know something they don't; perhaps they might find that a number of members would really like to help...but are going to give up trying if they're not respected and listened to.

For a second, I find myself thinking how fascinating this whole lila is.

Then I remember that people are suffering.

Registered User
(1/28/02 5:43 pm)
Re: Advertising campaign for the magazine
Perhaps they would be better off mailing out a questionnaire asking both current and former members what they like/liked and don't/didn't like about SRF, the teachings, etc. Perhaps they might find whether they are really meeting people's needs; perhaps they might find that the members really do know something they don't; perhaps they might find that a number of members would really like to help...but are going to give up trying if they're not respected and listened to.

My guess is that if they did this, the person or persons tabulating the results would be asked to leave because of the negative things seen in the surveys. Why? Because of course the negativity is in the "tabulater" not in the organization or the surveys. Also if SRF should happen to undertake this they need to look at a statistical sample because the surverys of those who worked close to the organization may seem opposite of those with no direct experience of the inner workings of SRF.

Edited by: AumBoy at: 1/28/02 5:49:49 pm
Unregistered User
(1/28/02 5:43 pm)
PC Consultants/Managers
Chuckle, to answer your question, the consultants/managers brought into the PC in late 1996 were the same people involved in running Convocation for many years. It is sad what we all have been through in order to "get it." Given the SRF dogma we all internalize so readily when we first come on the path it seems this is what it takes to shake us out of it.

Registered User
(1/28/02 5:59 pm)
Re: Advertising campaign for the magazine
Isn't this interesting--just yesterday at our meditation group a new display was set up showing 4-color, glossy-paper brochures advertising the SR magazine!

Hey maybe we can get some "dealer" copies, too. We could put a little "Walrus" insert in it. Or maybe we should have a little "Walrus" brochure to send to all the meditations groups.

Registered User
(1/28/02 9:53 pm)
A friend of mine at the publications center is going to sneak the walrus URL into the next magazine. This is really really true!

(Actually it is not but the SRF monitor won't read this far as they have already had a stroke just reading the above. The bad ladies will probably proof read the whole magazine themselves this time!)

Regarding the questionaire, Mother Center has tried various forms of it. One year at Convocation they handed out a questionaire. Did you see the results? I know there have been several internal efforts but believe me the bad ladies don't want input they just want to identify enemies. They already know all they need to know and are guided by God, so they don't need your opinion.

Unregistered User
(2/6/02 3:57 pm)
Eyes opened
This finally has gotten me to post. I can't tell you how angry I am that even though I've given years of my life to SRF,the first place Ihear about the possibilit that I'll be fired is here on this place!! No one here is denying it just saying there going to help. right. Like theyhelped all the other people they've fired. This is the opposite of what I hear about Master. People complained because he wouldn't get rid of people, even the nasty ones. now they get rid of everyone, even the good ones.

Unregistered User
(2/6/02 8:27 pm)
Are you saying the rumors are true?

Registered User
(2/7/02 7:05 am)
Re: Rumors
If you really think they are going to fire you all, start organizing a union. Then when they fire you, the AFL-CIO and labor attorneys will argue that you were fired BECAUSE you were organizing a union. And that is illegal. and they would be forced to give you your job back.

I want to let you know that THERE ARE NO JOBS OUT THERE. Even the temporary agencies don't have any work. Call them up and ask if you don't believe me. Do whatever you have to do to hold on to your jobs. With no unemployment insurance, any proposed extension of unemployment insurance would do you no good.

Unregistered User
(2/7/02 8:13 am)
Employees will never form a union. They feel that would be disloyal to SRF. In reality it should not be necessary, but these are not normal times.

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