Thursday, August 10, 2006

That Sinking Feeling

Today my boss and I were making small talk by the coffee machine when he says "Hey, you have a sec to chat?"

"Sure," I said. We walked into one of our all-glass meeting rooms, called "DaVinci." All of our conference rooms are named after famous innovators and leaders: Michelangelo, Darwin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Edison, King, etc. They're suppose to inspire us to lead in the technology market.

"I need to ask you a question, and I don't want you to read into it too deeply," he said. "But, um, are you taking care of yourself? You know, career-wise?" I was shocked to hear these words. It meant only one thing: rough times ahead.

"Well, Dean, I have to be honest, I haven't been looking. But if it makes you feel any better, I do have a fall-back position: I've got six months of living expenses in the bank, and if the hammer falls, I'll probably sell the house and move to Austin to be near my folks. I have lots of contacts, and am sure I can find something fairly quick."

"I'm glad to hear that, Dave. There's no doubt that someone would snatch you up in a heartbeat. I just want you to know that I'm worried about us. I think you may be OK, but I feel like there's a little red laser dot following me around 24/7. They're looking for a scapegoat and I think it may be me." I instinctively looked at the floor. "Just take care of yourself, OK? I think things are about to get shaken up." I nodded and thanked him.

It's been a while since I've had this feeling. In fact, it was the summer of 2000 when I first saw my dotcom employer's stock tanking. And then delisted from the NYSE. And then layoffs. And then more layoffs, until the final few of us that were still employed turned out the lights and walked to the bar next door to toast our newfound unemployment. Thankfully, the next day we were purchased out of bankruptcy court and I signed an employment contract within 24 hours of the closing.

My boss is probably right. I'm likely to be spared since they perceive me to be a critical asset. But I hate to see my comrades become "dead men walking." It's completely disheartening to witness. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my chin up and head down. Ya never know what's just around the corner.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Sorted Lives said...

I live that EVERYDAY!! I know how you feel..

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Good luck. I got laid off en masse via conference call once. They crowded us all in a room (mere days after the assurance no one was getting fired).

I said "Is this when they turn on the gas?" People chuckled, and then realized what I meant.

Let's just say I was one of few who wasn't surprised by the end result.

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just hope u don't move to Austin...u'd be a GREATLY missed focker!


At 5:14 PM, Blogger Jess said...

Yeah, that's a depressing feeling. I hope things don't turn out that way.


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