What a difference a year makes!

It’s Friday, June 1st, and so starts a new year for me. On this day last year, 15 out of 19 people in our department were laid off, including me and the 6 people I supervised. Technically my last day of work was June 15th, but the other 14 people were gone on June 1st. I’m still not sure which was more difficult, losing my job after 10 years, or having to return to work for 2 weeks without my friends. It was like working in a graveyard, each empty office representing a grave plot.

The killer part of this story is the reasoning behind the layoffs and the unjustified reasons for which my department lost our funding. Talk about ridiculous bureaucracy…wow! I only wish I could get into the details here, unfortunately I can’t. I can however say nobody in our department was to blame for it all. We ran a tight ship, not a penny of the money we received was wasted, and in 30 years of receiving these funds, the money was never increased, yet we still managed to cover our expenses and increase our productivity. Yeah, that’s after 30 years of inflation, and 30 years of increased salaries, and increased staff.

Last year when I received the lay off notice in the mail, I started a private blog to journal my thoughts and fears as I waited for my last day of work to arrive. Today for the first time since June 15th of last year, I opened that blog and read some of the entries. Here is the first random post I selected:

Day 42

Mood: You really don’t want to know, do you?

Speaking of mood, I’m having the worst mood swings. One minute I’m laughing and making jokes, and the next, I’m crying. I feel like such a fool for not having a better grip on my emotions. I’m truly pathetic. I sent my resume in to a resource available to the company’s laid off employees (yes, they offer transition services). I read it over and felt pretty good about it. Then I thought about the kind of job I’m qualified for and I felt crappy again. Will I ever enjoy going to work again?

My best asset, I have lots of experience…lots of experience in lots of stupid areas that I don’t even like.

What will my life look like in a year?

Does anyone else ever ask themselves this question?

On September 26th I was recalled to my old job but my friends were not. Yes, I had to return to the graveyard…

We have since moved our offices and recalled two more of our of our old staff members. We have also managed to become completely self-supporting and still offer the same services without that funding contract. Proof that what I said above about our productivity is still true. We’re working on a smaller scale and I’m now doing the job of 7 people but we’re managing, thriving even. What can I say but what a difference a year makes. Today was a day for rejoicing in the knowledge that I lived through it and came out better in the end.

I realize many people lose their jobs and most spend much longer unemployed than I did, but these things never mean as much to us until we have to face them ourselves. I’m lucky for my supportive family and I’m lucky for my own resilient spirit.

To answer the question asked in the above journal entry: Some days I thoroughly love being back to work, some other days…

Ask me that question again in a year.

6 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes!

  1. Dana, I can’t begin to imagine what you’ve been going through. Losing your job is tough; but being a ‘survivor’ when everybody else has been ‘axed’ leads to lots and lots of ‘survivor’s guilt’ and isn’t pleasant either. I am glad that things are working themselves out for you and some of your colleagues, and I applaud your spirit, positive attitude and resilience. You rock! Here’s to hoping that the next twelve months bring you more and better improvements still. 🙂

    1. Thanks for you kind words, Nicky! I think the next twelve months are going to be great. I have the release of Dangerous Embrace to look forward too and possibly book two from the Embrace series.
      It’s odd being at work. Those of us who are left are excited about what we can do now without the funding restrictions that came with government funding, but we’re also still mourning he loss of what we had before. We had a fantastic team of people and we all worked so well together. We call ourselves scrappy because we (our department) survived and now we’re sort of rebuilding from the bottom up again.

  2. I’m glad you kept a journal of the thoughts, doubts and fears of the previous year. It doesn’t make it any easier, but you can see how your emotions ran the gamut (and probably still do.) You should be proud of how well your department functioned and how you were able to rebuild it with only a handful of people. You’re a survivor and I know only good things will keep coming your way! Congrats again on Dangerous Embrace and its coming sequel.

    1. I felt as a writer I needed to keep the journal. I wanted to have something to look back on, a way to tap back into those emotions. I have this incredible talent of blocking out bad things after they happen. I actually don’t remember the weeks surrounding my son’s birth because I had such an awful pregnancy and delivery. Who forgets things like that? ME!
      I knew if I wanted to have that experience as a resource, I would need to write it down. What I realize now is that I still remember feeling bad about everything but the journal puts it all into greater detail.

  3. It’s certainly a tough world right now. I run my own business and work started to dry up in ’07. I’ve been pretty much without work since 2008. Let’s hope 2012 is a better year!

    1. Considering that you and I have both signed publishing contracts in 2012, I’m sure we can already call it a better year. 🙂 Some amazing things have come my way over the last 6 months.

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