A Day of Goodbyes.


Yesterday a lot of long-time employees left our company. It was the first major round of layoffs in a long time, and it hit us hard. Their work is being outsourced to India (about 5 years after some companies figured out how well that didn’t work) and so they stayed long enough to train our offshore staff, diligently working evenings and weekends to create a smooth transition and to be able to collect their severance pay.

It was a hard day. It was hard for the people leaving, and it’s hard for the people staying.

“They” are now out there training for new jobs, or seeking employment, or trying out their hand in self-employment or early retirement.

“We” are left with a lot of extra work, a ton of empty spaces, and the memories of our friends and coworkers whose jobs were outsourced.

It stinks.

I’ve been with this company for a long, long time. I started working there during their heyday, when we were golden, when we could do no wrong. A lot of people have been there as long as I have, or longer, and we talk about the old days when coming to work was a lot more fun. A lot of us survived layoffs, bad management, arrogant and self-absorbed company “officials,” dopey business decisions and cost-cutting steps. But nothing quite as drastic as what’s happened this week.

“Buck up, Little Beaver,” a guy said as he was passing my desk yesterday. It made me laugh, and it made me realize how much I’m going to miss these talented, creative, funny and sometimes irritating people. When you spend 8 or 9 hours a day with the same people day after day, they start to feel like family: You love them, you want to wring their necks, and you love them.

So it’s hard to buck up when you come to work the next day and see so many abandoned work stations, and you don’t laugh with the coffee group in the morning or hear the chatter around you. You’re glad to still have a job, but part of you has lost a lot of enthusiasm for it, and you wonder if it’s going to come back.

I know thousands of other companies have gone through this same thing, and I feel for them. Particularly this week. It’s not something you’d wish on anyone else, and it’s not something I ever want to go through again.

But we will. Our next group will be leaving the end of November.

It’s a lot to contemplate.

I’m awfully glad it’s Friday.

5 Responses to “A Day of Goodbyes.”

  1. Rosy Bradley says:

    Well said, Patt, well said . . .

  2. Cathy says:

    As Rosy said, very well said.

    We lost a total of TWO employees last November when there were layoffs. It totally ruined morale in the office for the rest of the year (and I’m sure the two folks weren’t happy either).

  3. Marilyn says:

    As I was driving home from work yesterday I suddenly thought of you. I was thinking that the lay-offs were close to beginning and I made a mental note to send you an email. Then I got busy, forgot to send a note, and here it is Sunday night and I’m reading your entry from Friday.

    I’ve been on both sides: the one who stayed and the one who was forced to leave. You’re right, both are difficult. Everytime someone said to me “It will be okay, things work out” I wanted to punch the person. I didn’t, and eventually everything did work out.

    I’ll be thinking of you and keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out for everyone.

  4. Kathy T says:

    I’ve been home almost a week. It still seems odd. Stood on first street last Friday and realized I had no office anymore. Life is full of changes.

  5. Patt says:

    Kathy, the place seems so strange with so many of you gone. I think about you when I pass your cubicle every morning. I saw Cyndee this morning, too, and realized she will also be gone soon. It’s hard to get used to, whether you’re staying or leaving. The world is topsy turvy.

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