Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Time to Count Our Blessings

I tend not to write much about work in my blog...partly because some of my readers are coworkers, and partly because I don't feel comfortable freely waxing about work on the web. But this week I write with a heavy heart, because the firm has done its first-ever massive, all-in-one-day layoffs.

When I say "massive," I have to put it into perspective. It doesn't compare with the scale of what financial, manufacturing, or high-tech firms experience. But massive for our employee-owned, founded-in-Oregon, people-oriented company. Yesterday around 1% of our workforce was laid off. The marketing group in our corporate headquarters was decimated. Two accounting managers who had been with the firm for more than 20 years were told that their positions were being eliminated because of firmwide restructuring.

I have faith in the leaders of our company; I know that they had to take drastic action to protect the firm during this difficult economy. Just 6 months ago we were in a period of massive growth, and now our outlook is flat. As our incoming CEO said recently, "flat is the new good."

I can't imagine how these employees must be reeling from the sudden changes in their lives and livelihoods. I've had to do layoffs and firings for cause many times over the course of my career, and the layoffs are the hardest, without question.

Now that the dust is settling and we who are left have learned who is now gone (there have been no names announced...it has just traveled through the grapevine), we have learned that we are all at risk. All we can do is work as hard as we can, play well with others, and do our best to be valuable employees. And deal with the survivor guilt.

The economic crisis--which seems to get worse every day--and the state of my 401K are stressing me out. But this next week, I will be extra grateful for my blessings...to have a job, a wonderful family, and my health. I don't have a lot of patience right now for petty little complaints. And I will also say a prayer for all those former colleagues of mine who are not feeling very grateful right now.

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