So when one of my work friends reached out with "Did you see the e-mail from HR?" and I in fact did not have an e-mail from HR, I was not terribly surprised. Something was up, something that would be manifesting itself in the next day or so.
I have been somewhat open here that I have had some ongoing concerns about my employment for awhile. This is not unusual in the start-up Biopharmaceutical world: I have likened it before to a roulette game where one hopes that one hits the number before the wheel stops spinning (e.g, runs out of money). It is just one of those things that one accepts: Higher reward, higher risk. And so I have been eyeing our quarterly financials and our project progress and where we are spending our time and our energy.
And so, my friend letting me know there was a meeting involving HR was not surprising. And the fact that apparently bad news was forthcoming was not surprising either.
There is nothing worse than knowing bad news is coming and not being able to talk about it. One waits, watches e-mails transit the system and requests for information that all of a sudden seems not as critical as it once was.
The day - yesterday - rolled around. I knew the meeting invite was coming but it did not appear and did not appear and did not appear. E-mails slowed down to a crawl, and then to none at all.
Finally, at 1300, the invite came out. Mandatory company meeting, 30 minutes, no agenda. The proverbial cat was out of the bag. E-mail, of course, slowed to a crawl.
The meeting itself was a mere 4 minutes: all cameras disabled, all microphones disabled, not chat. Short version: Terrible times caused by the financial markets, major restructuring and refocus. 50% of employees (over 100) to be laid off. Communication by e-mail and then by managers. And...done.
And then the waiting.
My little pod of PMs waited. Did you get an e-mail? No, did you? Meanwhile my phone keeps buzzing as I am responding to a different discussion with work friends, to the same end. Did you hear? No, did you?
The "it sounds like e-mails are coming soon" stretched into 1.5 hours, until finally the President reached out to me.
The letter came right after that, of course. Effectively 8 weeks (60 days) until D-Day, during which we are expected to "turn over" our responsibilities to new people - whom, I have no idea. My entire department was laid off so there are no Project Managers to turn it over to. Last day 29 May 2023, last day of insurance 31 May 2023. PTO to be paid out, which may give me another three weeks of income.
I have no idea of the total spread, but over 100 people will adversely impact almost every department. Who will be doing the work we used to do, I have no idea.
Frankly, I no longer care.
How am I doing? Okay. This did not come as a total surprise. Perhaps I had some small hope that I would be spared this round - I have been spared others - but this was not the case. And frankly, I am a little burned out at this point. Last month we got the main thing I had working on for the last 22 months through; this month I am dismissed. A career of projects that do not go anywhere wears on a person after a while.
We are in a far better position than we were in 2009, when I was last laid off: The Ravishing Mrs. TB has a full time job, the last child - Nighean Dhonn - will graduate from high school in a month and has at least the first two years of college covered - and we owe far less on our house than we did (and no other debt). For sure there is a complete re-examination of the budget going on as we speak.
A funny story to close this out: when speaking to folk months ago about this possibility, I said that my biggest hope was for my current position to last through Nighean Dhonn's graduation from high school as I would have liked (if possible) to let her attend all four years at the same high school. My job "ends" on 29 May; she graduates on 25 May.
God's providence or God's sense of humor are on full display. Or perhaps, both.