Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Life rethought

At 10:12 on the morning of April 2, 2013, life was pretty much as it had been at 10:11. Deadlines were being met and missed, emails and phone calls were happening, the busyness of my busy life was whooshing along. I knew what I was doing in that minute, and for most of the minutes for most of the rest of the day. I was rescheduling meetings for the end of the week, and planning other events weeks in the future.
At 10:13, my boss came into my office. "Can I have a minute?" He led me toward the boardroom where the head of human resources sat and waited.
It took just another two or three minutes for my life to change. And, with a buzzing in my head and a manilla envelope in my hand, I began saying goodbyes to the people I'd worked with, some of them for more than a dozen years.
12.4 years, to be precise, and the accountants and human resources are nothing if not precise. I have this many weeks of pay, this much of a lump sum payment, this many days to sign the release form. No reason was given for changing my life, just "it's a restructuring. A business decision." I know there were numbers at work there, too -- somebody in an office in another city looked at the number of people employed in our office and the amount of money being made, and made a business decision.
By 11 o'clock or so, I was at home, wondering what to do next. I called my wife -- not to worry, I said, the pay will keep coming in. We're financially OK.
It's 12:32. I'm still being paid. But I'm no longer sure what I'm supposed to do. For 12.4 years, I've been the editor at this office. For more than 20, I've been in the newspaper and magazine industry. In eight days I turn 47.
Life has just been rethought for me.


  1. It all absolutely sucks, Andrew.

    What you didn't say in this post was you brought an intelligence to your job, a sensitivity, a kindness that is not visible to many in your shoes. You were fantastic at your job, you really were, and there were many, many tears shed when the news was shared. Hugs to you and your family at this terrible time.

  2. This is happening to far too many people in our field and it's just wrong. You deserved better. I hope you find something else soon.

  3. Andrew, I'm so very sorry!! My husband lost his job last September and I feel that people who fire people deserve a special kind of hell. (That thought made us feel better for a few days...)

    Hang in there! Much love to you and your family!

  4. There is nothing that rings fairness in any of this. Sorry, even though it does not help.

  5. I found you by way of Cathy's blog. I'm so sorry this happened to you. My ex-h lost his job with Weyerhaeuser right before the economy crashed in 2008 and he never went back to work again. It put him into a terrible depression and his alcoholism increased. Corporations just don't care what they are doing to the people that show up every day, in all weather, sometimes coming in sick. Good luck and hang in there. If you are financially OK for awhile, enjoy the break.

  6. I read your post yesterday via the link that Cathy shared. I agree, it really sucks! That said, onward and upward is what your future holds. No doubt what so ever...

  7. Headed over from the Muskoka River. I hope this temporary setback gives you the opportunity to embark on a grand adventure!

  8. Came by via Cathy, I'm sorry you were treated without consideration - unfortunately corporation function is a mind boggling thing! Give yourself a breather, and expect a new adventure!

  9. Visiting from Cathy's blog. I truly hope that you can pursue a talent that is close to your heart.