Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to Suddenly Stay @ Home!

Hello and Welcome!

On March 2nd, my life changed drastically and overnight. I suffered a loss. Not a deep, tragic loss. No human death, but overnight my life changed.

I woke up on the morning of March 2nd, got ready for work, and was feeding my then 6 month old baby. My in-laws were visiting from New York. I came to the breakfast table when my husband told me to sit down. I knew something was amiss. He proceeded to show me a Wall Street Journal article. It told me that the corporation I worked for was shutting my division of the company down. It told me that I was out of a job. Not quite believing what I was seeing, right there in black and white, in a quite respectable financial publication, I headed to the corporate website, clicked on press releases, and read this one. It was official- they were shutting down the part of the corporation where I worked. I was done. And not just me, but the others in my office too- the woman who had been with the company for 32 years and had been working at that same physical location for 20 of those years. The woman with two young daughters, whose husband has been unemployed for about a year now. My manager, who was the sole provider for a wife and two boys- one of them just a month younger than my son.

I got a call from my manager a few minutes later, as I was headed into the office. "Have you been on the internet?" he asked me. "Yep, sure have... what's going on?" He didn't have any answers for me- told me to come in as usual and see what happened. When I got to the office, I could not log into the computer system. Our access had already been cut off. We had two conference calls later that day, and with nothing else to do, we started cleaning out our desks. I was full of optimism at that point... we would make the best of this bad situation and move on to bigger and better things. I hadn't felt the loss yet.

On the first conference call, I listened to a man who devoted more than 30 years of his life to this company, to seeing it succeed, cry as he announced the corporate decision to shut us down. At that time, he had five months to go until retirement. Right now, I am not sure if he has another position with the company in order to work until his retirement date and receive the full pension he needs. He was not aware of the corporate decision until the night before.

On the second conference call, I listed to a British corporate officer tell me that although this decision was a difficult one from the human standpoint, it was essentially a no-brainer from the business stand point. We were not profitable and getting rid of us meant improving the bottom line, so that's what they did. And they could not tell us before announcing it to the media because of the impact of the news on the stock price. This call gave me no new information and really just made me mad. It drove home the fact that I was insignificant in the greater corporate plan. Not a nice feeling.

And then, we left- went home. Half of the office stayed behind to shut things down and the other half, me included, were just done. Less than 8 hours after finding out that they were going to shut my division of the corporation down, I was just done- Suddenly Stay at Home!

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