Layoffs. Job eliminations. Restructuring. Call them what you will, they’re one of the most painful processes I’ve ever had to go through as a former employee of a large media company. It doesn’t really matter who the employer is, the cycle has been happening at many companies, large and small alike, and in numerous professions for years now.
That doesn’t make it easier, of course. Just gives you more people to commiserate with. Pretty much everyone these days knows someone – someone close to them – who has lost their job.
The first time I went through a round of layoffs, everyone who kept their job was just thankful to still be employed. By the fourth or fifth round, you started to wonder if maybe it was the ones who lost their jobs who were the lucky ones. They weren’t left behind to pick up the pieces of a workplace demoralized so deeply by losing co-workers who literally had given their entire adult lives to the company only to be shown the door with a severance package and an “I’m really sorry, but…” Not to mention those who were left had to pick up all the extra work (some for less money) that didn’t go away just because jobs were eliminated.
I’m not making light of the situation those who lose their jobs are in either. Far from it, as husband was one of those whose job was eliminated several years ago. (Which is why we ended up moving from Wisconsin to Texas.) I know it’s hard to find a new job at 50, when the workforce is getting younger and younger each day, and you’ve got expenses like kids in college or even just paying your regular bills. Starting over is difficult, no matter how you slice it.
But I have to wonder what’s worse. Starting over with a new job, possibly in a new state away from everything you’ve ever known? Or working somewhere where you bust your butt every day because you always give your all to a job (that’s just who you are), but never know if you’ll have a job the next day – or if the person working next to you will? I know there are many people today who lost their jobs and are wondering how they’re going to get through it all.
A year from now, I hope they look back and find it really was all for the better.