Friday, January 29, 2010

The One Year Anniversary

Today was the one year mark. Not a happy anniversary, but one that made me sad because a year ago today many of my friends and co-workers lost their jobs. One year ago today 1/3 of the staff in our department was shown the door,
eliminated,
laid-off
cut,
severed,
sent packing,
given the heave-ho,
"right-sized",
globalized,
displaced.

It was terrible -- and that's from my perspective -- and I wasn't even there since I had already left the office before it started to happen. In fact, I was leaving for my 1/2 day off when Pam and I passed each other in the lobby and wished each other a "good weekend". Then I went home and she went in to her "meeting" only to find out that she was getting the axe. Followed by so many others.

So sad. It makes me tear up every time I think about that day, and I wasn't even there to experience what happened first-hand:
- the anxiety,
- the knowledge that you might be next,
- the hours of waiting and uncertainty,
- the knowledge that if the department secretary came to your cube it was bad,
- the security guys escorting people out.

They joined the ranks of the unemployed a year ago today during the worst economic time that I remember. The worst that many of us remember. Perhaps the worst ever (although that remains to be seen -- history will tell).

I cried daily for months after it happened -- and I was one of the ones who was still employed. I dreaded going to work because I could hardly bear to be there, so I cried. I dreaded the drive home because by that time I'd had all I could take, and I cried some more. I felt survivor's guilt, so I cried. I got some "help" and still I cried. I did what I could to support them through this tough, tough time, and I cried -- we all cried. Buckets, waterfalls of tears.

We began "lunching" on Thursdays -- a group of us that included our "liberated" employees and some of us still in the trenches. It was our version of therapy. Oh, the conversations we had: some sad, some bitter, some raunchy, some bitchy, some slap-happy, some oh-so-serious, some where we laughed so hard that the whole restaurant was looking our way, some where we just told each other to hang in there, many where we just reinforced that we would all be OK. What a lifeline these lunches have been. Continue to be.

What a long, strange trip it's been, right? But you're makin' it. New experiences. New challenges. New "opportunities" (as Sturgeon would say). New roads for you all to travel: new jobs, going "freelance", spending quality time with your kids, travelling. Searching for blue skies.

To all of you -- I thought of you today. As I do nearly every day. Know that you're in my heart. Much love, and blue skies in our future.

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