Thursday, March 12, 2009

This one's for you, Mel.

To appease Melanie, one of my very few faithful readers, this one's for you.

An update. But no pictures, so don't get your hopes up about that. The biggest topic of late has been what's happening at work, so that's what this post will be. So Mel, I guess it isn't much of an update for you then, huh?

The court case pertaining to my company's merger was settled on Monday, with the closing date to be April 1. (Yes, I know that is April Fool's Day. End of discussion on that particular point.)

The most significant new development is that, because the financing has been restructured and because the economy is in the crapper, the company acquiring us has to find an increased number of "synergies". That's a new buzzword you can add to your dictionaries, ladies and gents. "Synergies" is a business-speak way to say "what overlaps and duplications can we chop in order to save $$$".

In this case, the "synergies" mean
  • 3500 jobs - - - which are in addition to any that have already been announced by either company, and which will all (or nearly all) come from my company.
  • closing or consolidating ~6 R&D or lab-type facilities - - - this has not been clearly delineated as to which side, but I assume our company will be hit on this point as well
  • closing 10 - 15 plants - - - again, this hasn't been delineated, but I'm making the same assumption

That 3500 I reference - - - when you combine that with the 900 jobs announced in January, we're talking about at least 25% of the company's workforce. Twenty-five per cent.

So, the mood is down. I made the comment earlier today that we're all a bunch of Eeyore's around here. Walking around with our heads down, shoulders slumped. Beaten and broken, or at least that's my observation. Lots of worry. Lots of "do I plan that summer vacation or not?", along with a lot of hunkering down. Riding out the storm.

In my particular case, I don't feel particularly safe. It doesn't have much to do with my personal performance (I do believe that I am highly regarded around here), but it has everything to do with the business unit that I am in. We seem to be one of the few "lucky" groups that will be shifting to the parent company, instead of staying with the subsidiary. No one knows, at this point, what that means for our jobs. For me, it means this: In all the previous rounds of cuts, I felt more safe than unsafe, but this time around I feel more unsafe than safe.

So, what to do?

Rest assured, I (we - Shawn and I) have a plan. It's still just loosely formulated, but we've got a good idea of what to do if I lose my job in this next round. We're doing all we can to prepare for that, in terms of paying off some things, getting a bit more financial security and working faster and harder on some already established personal goals. I think doing things that are in preparation of a job loss can only help us in the long run, even if I make it through this round unscathed. It's a scary time, but we're taking the approach of controlling only that which we can control, and letting the chips fall where they may for the rest of it. Preparation it is.

In terms of my mood and attitude - again, I control what I can control. I'm just doing my best each and every day, doing what I can to get through the days. Hunkering down and riding out the storm.

In the meantime, say some prayers. Not just for me, but also for Melanie and her niece Alexis who both work for the same company as I do, and also for the state of affairs in this country that have lead to so many thousands of people being laid off or being placed in the uncomfortable position that we, and too many of our coworkers, are in. In a horribly ironic and painful twist of fate, we will be saying good-bye to coworkers let go in the last round of cuts at the end of March - just a short, short time away from the April 1 closing.

To say that the morale here is low would be quite the understatement.


Melb. said...

Nice post Laurel; not 'cause like it's for me or anything. It was just a good post. You have pretty much nailed everything down correctly. I am happy that you and Shawn are on the same page and have a plan. That is part of the battle. Hang in there! Praying for you too.

Unhinged said...

I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers (as well as Mel). I really hope you're let go....but if it happens, it sounds like you're at least preparing for it.

Anonymous said...

sorry to hear about your predicament laurel...hoping everything works out for you-good to have a plan...