Written during the morning layoffs at Bell Globemedia’s former interactive unit.
You forget the sense of dread; the sense of impedding doom. Your forget how it feels to not know whether you or the person you’re working beside will be gone in a few hours.
The last time I went through this, the market was still up. Finding a related job was as easy as picking up a phone. Of course, that was before the bubble really burst—like the times the means are different.
This time, instead of a slow attrition followed by a sudden swift cut, it’s what I’d call “sudden attrition.” There’s a nervous silence thoughout the office as groups huddle discussing what is happening or going to happen. They’re trying to find comfort amongst each other.
Meanwhile, rumours swirl.
“Stay by your phones, that’s how they’ll let you know.”
Everytime a phone rings, the recipent jumps, and others look away and listen intently.
Some are diving into their work, others are finding distractions in ancient joke emails. Hands are cold and clamy. Bravado rings hollow. No one is sure when it began, but we all received a mournful email for our boss warning us. No one knows when it will end, but it won’t be at anytime soon.
I need coffee and cigarette, but ironically I don’t want to miss the phone call that might never come. I don’t want to miss the call informing me I’m unemployed for the first time since I graduated.
P.S.: Although many colleagues lost their jobs, my group—after two weeks of negotiations—was saved.