LOST: My job.

2012
12.11

For reasons I do not fully comprehend, our already downsized company decided to downsize once again, and about half of our overworked 28 person staff was let go. This time, I was one of the “let go.”

Once the shock of the news wore off, the 12 of us continued on for two more weeks, knowing that the end was near. It is hard to be a productive employee when you know your days are severely numbered, but we soldiered on and did what we had to do.

Our last day of work was a disappointing end to our careers, which is my one regret about being pushed out of the company where I’d worked for more than 30 years. Without notice, we were all locked out of our computer systems, including Email and server access. Nobody “in charge” showed up to say goodbye and good luck. I guess when you’re in management, you can come in when you damn well feel like it, and saying goodbye to your employees didn’t seem like a good enough reason to make an appearance.

So we milled around for a while, said our goodbyes, and walked out.

Not quite the way I envisioned the end of my copywriting career, but there you have it. No gold watch, no going away celebration, no “thanks for everything” speech, no cake, no nothing. Just a bunch of people who had put in many years of service, and while the expression “shown the door” is generally used in these situations, we were not even shown the door. We were summarily ignored. We turned in our ID badges and we went home.

For most of this group, there is the agony of finding new work in a town that does not have a lot of employment opportunities to offer. Fortunately we are able to collect unemployment, but that may only last 6 months, and after that… I don’t know what happens after that.

For one of us (me, the old copywriter) life is a little better. I can collect unemployment. I will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare in a few months. I have some retirement savings. I also have a home mortgage to pay, but I do not have a lot of debt.

One of the first things I did upon hearing the news was to create a budget. I have created budgets all through my working life, but rarely paid much attention to them. The bills got paid, some money was put into savings, and the rest went wherever it went. Not a great way to live, but hey: It was fun.

These days, a budget matters. I am now living on approximately half of what I was earning, so it is critical to pay the bills, keep something for savings, and hope that there are no emergencies or disasters that befall me any time soon. I do not have health insurance as of this writing. Fortunately I only use one prescription each month, and I’ve discovered that Wal Mart is the cheapest carrier of this drug, so I’ve said goodbye to Walgreen’s for now.

Life marches on.

I have written about corporate greed before; about executive decision makers who care about nothing but getting more and more and more, no matter what the cost, and how greed propels them to things that may have been unthinkable when they started out. Most would not recognize “enough” if it bit them in the ass, which it already has but nobody jumped. Outsourcing (or as I like to call it, The Devil in America) seems to be the altar at which they worship, and as long as their pockets are deeply lined, everything seems peachy.

You only have to lose your job once to figure out how un-peachy it all is.

So if you are working for a large corporation and begin to hear the word “outsourcing,” which is business-speak for “f**k you,” update your resume immediately. Keep your eyes peeled for a new career path. You’re gonna need it.

Next I will write about the joys of retirement, but for now, I’m gonna burn some sage and cleanse my senses.

Hang in.

6 Responses to “LOST: My job.”

  1. Sister Krista says:

    I’m so sorry! I have something that might cheer you up — a brand new baby boy! He’ll warm your heart for sure. He’s a cute little cuddlebug and he’d love to meet you. I’ll be in Duluth over Christmas and I’d love to get together. Love you. xoxo

  2. Cathy says:

    Well, of course I’ve known your story for a long while, since it first began happening to you. And I understand your reasons for not talking about it yet. It is still difficult to read about a dear friend losing her income. I’m seeing that now with a lady about your age in our building. The “building” (in its infinite non-wisdom) has decided to close the reception area and is booting the four women who work the front desk. Cheryl is only an acquaintence, but she’s a sweet lady whose back is against the wall now, and I feel for her.

    And PS — yes, you COULD write for food. Love you! xoxoxox

  3. Denise Johnson says:

    Very descriptive recapturing of what I am sure was a horrid day that was made even more horrid by the lack of respect from management. Shame on them. Very sad. I think you should send this in to AARP or some magazine somewhere to get it published!!! (Does anyone still print magazines?) It’s really powerful.

  4. Kathy T says:

    A friend just wrote a paper for college on outsourcing and the domino effect it has on our economy. You are right everyone should think about their next career.
    It takes a few months to get over the shock and rejection. but you will survive. I did.

  5. Rob Gaida says:

    Ahh, I think back fondly to my time there. I learned so much! Among the things I learned:

    –Snap judgments are the way to go
    –Doing the right thing is not
    –Losers attract
    –Opposites can pretend otherwise
    –Having a job is more important than having character
    –Having a life is not recommended
    –Having fun should be done under the radar
    –The enemy of your enemy is your enemy

    While I feel very sorry for your having lost your job, I also couldn’t be happier for you, having lost a job at Advanstar. I believe congratudolences are in order.

    Miss you, Patt!

    Rob

  6. Patt says:

    Rob,
    How great to hear from you! I loved your list. I could add so much more to it.
    Wonder what you’re reading these days? I’ll send you an Email soon.
    Patt
    PS: What. You don’t want to win auction items?

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