Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scorched Earth 2

So last week Wednesday, 18 people at my job were given "The Talk" and an innocuous envelope that held their severance package. As it turns out, I am not among them. But I am devastated by some of the people who were, including the woman I work most closely with, my "work spouse" of sorts. I don't really understand them letting her go. She brings talents to the table that no one else has, a head for coverlines, a way of packaging stories, and an editing style that often irritates writers for its pickiness, but that inevitably makes you think of dimensions you'd overlooked, questions you'd neglected to nail down, and always makes the piece stronger.

I counted on her as a human being, too, her calm equanimity, her quick but never cruel wit, her refusal to give in to the free-floating fear and paranoia that is a constant in my workplace. I am still in shock and denial that she's leaving. We shared the same job title and backed each other up seamlessly. Which makes me also ponder the fact that they must have put us side by side and said, Okay, which one? I wonder if they chose her because I waived my medical insurance coverage with the company, going with my husband's instead. I wonder if it came down to the fact that I cost the company less.

I feel like we're all on a conveyor belt, except none of us knows how close we are at any given point to toppling off the end of it. We can't see what's ahead, we only know that conveyor belt just keeps on rolling, and we could get to the end at any time. There are so few of us left now, and so much work to get done. I'm not afraid of working hard and I love the nature of the work I do. But the losses we've sustained could break your heart.


  1. What an unbearable situation, especially not knowing whether your job may have been saved at the expense of hers. My heart goes out to you and your co-worker.

  2. I'm so happy to hear you weren't among those that were let go...but of course saddened to hear of so many others that were let go and particularly the woman you work so closely with. this morning I learned of a friend I met through the bloggyhood, was laid off yesterday...tough times.

    last year on christmas week my daughter was laid off at the museum where she was working (in her dream job) we were so shocked. she had a rough year with respect to her health and had to have some expensive surgery and a hospitalization that spanned a few days, I wonder how much that was a factor - although she was among 20 folks that were laid off - and some had been with the museum for years and years (one guy 15 another 20). but still one does think along those lines.... hc is outrageously and unnecessarily expensive the way it is (dis)organized in this country.

    fortunately she had a guardian angel somewhere and found another job within a couple weeks - a modern day miracle! unfortunately, this job although fulltime, doesn't come with health insurance, so she's been playing roulette .... a national universal h.c program can't come soon enough for our family! fortunately em's well now and the problem she had was resolved with the surgery....I only pray there isn't another shoe to drop sometime.

  3. Deborah, thanks for the good thought. A day at a time, right?

    mouse, I'm so glad your daughter found another job quickly, but I can understand that feeling of holding your breath. I'm praying that healthcare reform comes to pass, and soon. I think it will...


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