I've entered into the world of the surreal, more or less. A few weeks ago it was announced at my place of work that jobs were going to be outsourced. They actually didn't use that particular word - they used something a tad more doublespeakish - but it was the same meaning. Some of us would no longer have our jobs, not because of lay offs - but because the job would be now done by someone half a world away.
There was outrage, there was bitterness, a sense of betrayal, and for some there was the understanding that this is a global economy and times have changed. I have to admit I was in nearly all those camps. I understood the business reasons behind it, but I still felt hurt that our company would do something like this.
To put things into perspective - I am into my 17th year with my company - and in company terms I'm a youngster. There are people I work with who have been with this company for 20 - 30 years or more. There's a loyalty that is rare in this profession.
Years ago the company would give all the employees a gift certificate for a free turkey. After a while as we grew a tad larger the free turkey became a gift card to a department store, then a day off, then a half day off. Then, well...
But people stayed. in fact some people would leave only to return. Again how often does that happen?
And so the years went by and there were good times and bad. We had layoffs, and we had hirings. We had holiday parties and summer picnics and we had pay freezes and bonuses.
Today I was talking with a co-worker - I'd known him since I started work at the company. We were admiring the sunrise - it was beautiful and quite a surprise. The dark Pacific Northwest clouds were suddenly aglow with vibrant pinks. It was probably one of the most beautiful winter sunrises i've seen.
Then my boss came over and asked to see me in his office. I knew what was coming. What I work on can easily be done by someone else. I followed him in to his office and he closed the door. The HR person was there. They were sorry, I could see it in their faces, they didn't like doing this. But they had to.
And so begins my journey into the surreal. I'm a dead person walking. I'll stay at my job until May or June getting things up to speed and maybe even training the people who will be doing my job now. After that I'll get a severance package.
For nearly 17 years I've gone to work knowing I have job, now starting tomorrow, I'll be just keeping the seat warm for my replacement.
4 months ago