12 November 2009

The Layoff Chronicles: The Circle of Life

Background info: Every December at work we do an all-hands-on-deck project that has traditionally taken five of us on our team about six weeks to accomplish. Meanwhile, dozens of other people across the company are also frantically working to accomplish their pieces of the project, and a wonderful woman named Debbie stitches them all together at the end to make one magnificent finished piece.

The problem is that this year, only two out of five of us will be around to do the project.

Because it is so complex, we begin planning in November. Thus, the emails begin.


From: Person, Patty
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 1:28 PM
To:[Lots of people]

As work for the *Massive Gigantor Project (name redacted)* gets underway, we would like to have a kick-off meeting with the sponsors. More materials will be provided prior to the meeting.

Please let us know if you are unable to attend our kick-off meeting. Debbie and I will determine the best approach to follow up with you to review information.

Thank you.

Patty Person


From: Person, Patty
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:10 PM
To:[Lots of people]

The attached PowerPoint presentation is for our Kick Off meeting on Monday.
[Massive Gigantor Project Kick-off - 11-16-2009 v4.ppt]

Patty Person


From: *My Director*
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:13 PM
To: Person, Patty
Cc: Suebob; New V.P., Debbie
Subject: RE: Kick off 2010 Massive Gigantor Project


My position and Suebob’s have been eliminated. The remaining team is moving under *New VP Name*. You have appropriate representatives from the remaining team for your meeting, but we will not be participating.

New V.P. and Debbie will have to let you know how XXX team will participate with Massive Gigantor Project moving forward.

My Director, who rocks


From: Person, Patty
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:16 PM
To: My Director; Suebob; Debbie

I am sorry to hear about you and Suebob. I wish you the best.

My position was also eliminated. I am including Debbie on this email, as she will be overseeing this work going forward and will need this information. Thanks again!

Patty Person
Strategy Leader


And with that, I started howling with bitter laughter. What else can you do? Cry? I'll bet that is what poor Debbie is doing.

11 November 2009

In honor of Veteran's Day

And in honor of safe returns, and of love between people and their animal friends:

10 November 2009

The Layoff Chronicles

Conference call self portrait

Yesterday we got to the stage of mourning called "Anger." I knew it would happen, I just wasn't sure when.

I awoke with a snap at 3 a.m., mad.

Mad that we had been laid off without Some People having a shred of understanding of what we do and why we are needed to keep doing it.

Mad that some people I thought were less capable had been spared when good people had been lost. Mad that we got let go at the worst time of the year to find a job.

Then when I went into the office, I found that it wasn't just me. Everyone had been hit by the Big Angry Bus at the same time.

There were a lot of IMs and "WTF?" and arm-waving. There were "I just don't understand why...." conversations. Fortunately none of it was directed at each other. We have Higher Forces to blame, generally.

Finally about 10 a.m., I realized what was going on and said "Oh, I see we are in the anger phase!" That somehow made me feel better. This, too, would pass.

The day ended with my church board buying me butternut squash ravioli and a big glass of syrah for dinner, and sitting around a big table talking and laughing, and if that won't take the edge off your anger, I don't know what will.

And now for your Moment of Inspiration. Even without the song, watching Astaire "fall" so beautifully would cheer me up.

08 November 2009


I was having so much fun on Friday, my first day of being laid off, that I forgot to post.

It wasn't a real day of being laid off, since we got a 30-day notice. They just gave me the day off to mourn and regroup.

I slept in til 8, had waffles for breakfast, goofed around on the internet, talked to friends, walked the dog on the beach and, oh? Forgot to mourn and/or regroup.

But I got my laundry done.

Felt better than I have in months. And got an offer to do writing work for a friend's company as a consultant.

Then on Saturday I made money interviewing the brilliant and fascinating Daniel Ellsberg, who was at the center of one of the most important news stories of the 20th century. I could have talked to him all day and all night and would have paid for the privilege. But no. I got paid to do it.

Poor, poor pitiful me.
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