July 17th, 2008, a man came to my desk (at my day job) and took away my desk phone. I asked him if this was management trying to tell me something, and he looked sheepish. He said that he had been given a list of phones to pick up, and didn’t know why. Having been through corporate downsizings a number of times in my multiple careers, I started packing. I was fortunate to be able to make a professional exit, transitioning my work to my supervisor and even saying goodbye to a few colleagues and constituents before the end of the day, when one of my coworkers informed me that he had spoken with my contract employer’s headquarters staff, and they had informally confirmed that I was “on the list”.
I feel lucky that I was able to make such a professional exit, as this was denied to most of my colleagues, at least in the corporate division where I had spent the past ten years. Most of them were called at home on a Thursday evening and told not to come in the next morning. Then they had to find and contact someone who was still at their ex-place of business to pack up their personal effects and bring them to the door for pickup. Almost none of them in my division were allowed to transition their work to their supervisors, leading to much crying and gnashing of teeth by the supervisors, managers, and coworkers who remained during the past couple of months of weekly layoffs. Interestingly, in another division of the same corporation my colleagues were all given a week’s notice – a much more professional approach to staff reduction, in my opinion.
In any case, as I begin the search for my sixth career I am busier than I ever was when I was working a full-time day job, so the pace of writing has been reduced and these entries will probably be a bit less frequent for a while. Please bear with me, and thanks for reading my blog on the possible and positive futures of the human species, as seen from an early-21st century perspective.
As always, I welcome your comments (and any job leads). — Tim