In Japan there’s a corporate subculture called mado-giwa-zoku employees or window-tribe. They are middle managers stripped of all subordinates and responsibilities – a kind of “in-house retirement.” Instead of laying off managers, large Japanese companies shame them into retirement. This is a way for Japan’s corporations to gracefully eliminate well-paid managers through generous payouts, generally two years salary and accrued pension if they refuse to accept the retirement package. Those who remain essentially look out a window all day collecting their paycheck.
We have something similar in the US when a manager is suddenly and unceremoniously assigned to “Special Projects”, a euphemism for inevitable elimination and a period for him to “get his affairs in order” to look for another job. This is corporate purgatory, shipping you off and dropping you on an island – hopefully tropical – with provisions (buyout) for a month or two.
Like Japan, America’s window-tribe consist of middle-age workers who are deemed “too old” to even be considered for jobs elsewhere. They’re at the dead end in their careers, well-paid, but with no hope of advancement, no raises and fewer benefits. They’re not looking out the window, rather they’re hanging on the outside window ledge by their fingertips. Or sometimes, like those gangster movies, the corporate goons are holding the manager upside down from the top floor threatening to drop him unless he accepts a measly buyout.