Thursday, October 11, 2007

Survived the layoff

I work for a very large biotech company and have been there for 20 years. After almost 2 months from the original announcement, the company's very first RIF (Reduction in Force) finally occurred yesterday. All North American sites RIF'd yesterday. It was leaked to us the day before, so many of us came to work in black, myself included, for Black Wednesday. I stopped at the local donut shop to buy a couple dozen because nothing is as comforting during high stress like sugar and saturated fats.

The day had a weird quality with everyone coming in and out of my office for a donut, but also not wanting to be too far away from their phone or email, because that was how the one-on-one meetings were arranged. Only one person from my group was laid off, and she was a volunteer (moving out of state and going to nursing school). We'd lost two members of our group last month who quit for personal or family reasons. So I think the fact that we'd already lost those two helped us out. Still, the numbers in my department were 20%. The estimated number for my location is 700.

Time seemed to stretch on forever as I began to get 'goodbye' emails from people who had been cut. People were mostly pretty happy with the severance, and the company left their badges active for 2 days so they could come back and clear out their offices. No security guards. No drama. Just some career counsellors in the large conference room in my building for post-meeting informational help.

I found out later last night that a good friend, someone who I had hired right out of college, 18 years ago, had lost her job. We had worked together for 10 years and then our paths diverged, though it wasn't planned, and we ended up working in different parts of the company. She was pretty upbeat about it and said that it was sort of a relief, she hadn't liked her job in a while and the stress from worrying about the layoffs had been really getting to her. She went out and bought herself a laptop and emailed me with it this morning to set up a lunch date next week. Another friend, who did not lose her job, just couldn't get out of bed today, and she emailed me from her laptop, still in bed, to ask about people in my department.

One of the things I noticed today in the cafeteria nearest my building, was that at lunchtime, people were hugging. "You're still here!" was the most common greeting I heard all day, but in the cafeteria, this was accompanied by lots of hugs.

So while I wasn't able to get any work done yesterday, today I went in and restarted where I'd left off. But, WOW, do I need a vacation.

1 comment:

Allison said...

So glad to hear you're safe. :)