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A Day of Goodbyes.


2010
10.01


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.