Ok, so last night I'm sitting at my desk getting a lot of work done—I'm finishing up some contract work that's due Monday. Low and behold I get an e-mail from the director of our organization—he wants to meet with me in the morning. I immediately have a bad feeling about this—especially considering the fact he's never sat down and talk to me. Anyway, I sent an IM to a follow co-worker in my department to see if he got a similar message, and he did. Again I'm thinking to myself, "this isn't good."
You see finances at my current employer have been pretty bad. We had a former director who pretty much spent all of our capital and used up our reserve funds like they were going out of style. On top of that, there's been legislation on the table at the State level that essentially says: Gov't funded entities can't compete with private industries. I understand this and from an entrepreneur standpoint, but this has pretty much tied our hands with who we can do business with as a web group working for my current employer. So the last year has been pretty rough—at least as far as bringing in real cash to the department. We've stayed busy, but it's all been very nickle and dime projects—enough to keep you busy, but not enough to really cover costs. We already had one round of layoffs last year, and although management had insisted that there we no foreseeable cutbacks in the future, I've been through this before (although never have been affected by layoffs,) so I know how the process works—there's almost always a second round of layoffs.
Anyway, there's been a lot of buzz around the office. Quite frankly, every since last October-ish, my group has been through a roller coaster of emotions. One week it looks like our jobs are secure, the next it looks like we won't make it until the end of the week. We're in the middle of several contracts that would taken us through December, so as of recent time, I thought we'd be safe until the end of the year. (Also, since our fiscal year starts July 1st of each year, I figured they would have down layoffs to coincide with people ending their tenure at the end of the fiscal year.)
Like I said earlier, I didn't really have a good feeling about this—and my instincts were only going to be further confirmed. Since I got the message around 5:00pm yesterday, most people from our office building had already left for the day. I did manage to talk with a co-worker, who used to be higher up in the organizational chart (and was recently repositioned,) and I could tell from their reaction that they didn't think the reason for the visit was a good one. Since this person had been repositioned, I knew they no longer had the inside scoop, but I valued their opinion and new I'd get the straight up answer from them—regardless of whether it was what I wanted to hear or not. My initial suspicions where even further reinforced when I got a call from another co-worker in a different department asking if I'd gotten an e-mail from another manager. Although the originating sources of our messages were different, content was they were almost identical—plus they both came from our top level bosses.
At that point, I found out several other people had received similar messages—include our whole department. At that point I was pretty convinced that we all were going to get laid off in the morning. I tried to keep my mind off things as much as possible last night, after all I couldn't say for certainty that I was getting laid off, but as I told my Jenn before I went to bed: "I feel as confident that I'm getting laid off in the morning as that I'll wake up in the morning." So, when I woke up the next morning, I knew things weren't looking too good. :) (Heck, I even read all the HR information on what the procedures are for Reduction In Workforce (RIW) before going to bed—I wanted to see what my severance options looked like.)
Anyway, this morning was kind of a wreck here. It was pretty much people just standing around theorizing about what was about to take place. It didn't take long for the first reports to come back to the office about people being told that the job had been scheduled for a "Reduction In Workforce" plan. My co-worker, Joel, had the unfortunate opportunity to be the first one to meet with the director—at least he had a basic idea of what was going down before going over. (And get this, they made everyone drive to a different location for this meeting. You'd think at bare minimum, they'd come to our building for the meetings.) Anyway, Joel returned about 30 minutes later and confirmed my initial thoughts. The exact quote given was: "we're abolishing the web group."
While my meeting was still 90 minutes away, Joel did receive the full scoop on everything, so he was able to fill us in on what was going to happen to each of us. My manager and my best friend from elementary school, are both getting 2 weeks notice, with severance to follow. Joel and I are both being kept on for 120 days, after which severance will start. They want to keep us around to help clients re-locate to different hosting providers. They're going to stop all web-related services 120 days from today. While I was grateful to hear I have some time to find a job, it still sucks having your job "abolished."
Anyway, I headed over to my "meeting" about 10:45am and sat down and talked with the director and head of HR. I had some concerns about current contracts as well as concerns about the future of our clients—especially the ones where we built ASP-style applications, so they rely on us for their entire business backend. Part of my remaining tenure here will be to help our clients migrate their business applications.
So in a nutshell, I've been laid off and it sucks. If you know of any work, let me know. I'm open for contracting (off business hours of course,) and I'd love to find a permanent position—preferably in the Columbus, OH area. (I've got a house in Hilliard, so it's a little harder to just pick up and go.)
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