November 6, 2008
One year ago today…Life took a turn. A new beginning. Like the photo above, a new day dawned, different from all of the days before it.
On this day last year I went to work like any other day. My thoughts were on the weekend though. My wife and I were taking a four day trip to the Fredricksburg to celebrate our 30th anniversary as a married couple. So I anticipated nothing unusual as I was called in to the conference room.
There I was met by the new GM whom I had met only twice, my immediate supervisor and our Office Manager. It was at that time I was informed that my job was being cut and I was being let go. I would be given a severance package in excess of what was laid out in the employees handbook. Thank you for your years of service…Your supervisor will stand over you as you pack your things…Goodbye.
That Thursday and Friday were dark days at Freeman as the layoffs rippled through the company. Strategic layoffs…Mostly older, long time employees let go to cut costs…Costs that needed to be cut because of strategic blunders in IT investment over the preceding five years…Millions spent on programs that just the month before, as I was given my 25 Year pin, we were informed, “Would not be going forward as originally planned.”
Management walked us to the brink, the economy blinked, and I became one of the first of the massive layoffs that followed the 2008 election. The company I spent more than 35 years of my life at would go through another massive brain drain in the spring of 2009. This time they offered voluntary buyouts before they forced out another round of workers.
After the shock of being treated as a criminal wore off in the parking lot, I headed home…Before lunch…Shaking with…Anger? Sadness? Mostly just mad.
The anniversary trip was already paid for…So were the gifts to each other…So off to the Hill Country we went. Celebrating our life together…Contemplating a new future. What to do? What plans to make?
Going on the trip was probably the best thing that could of happened at that time. Spending a few mornings and evenings sitting in rocking chairs on the porch of a Hill Country Guest House with time to think and talk, time to cuss and plan, time to just stare into the distance. A meditation retreat that wasn’t planned as a meditation retreat.
Coming home from that weekend, the anger was already beginning to fade. There are some people who were involved with making the decision to cut my career short whom I will never forgive…But to be honest I’m glad I’m gone…It isn’t the same company it was for all of those years. The company quit believing it’s own myth…I quit believing the myth even earlier…
It’s been a year. I am not sure yet where I am headed. But, I am glad to be headed in a different direction…Walking a different path…A little late. But, finally, on the path less traveled that I should have walked back when the hills were not so tall and the pebbles were smaller.
Now, to begin year two…And three.
Life goes on…