Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Zen Of Close-Outs, Lay-Offs, And Changeovers

Okay, here's the situation (and in light of what's happened at Lehman Bros, it's even more apropos):

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the company I had worked for had suddenly closed. The space was rented out, I lost my main freelance job. Yadda. Jeepers.

Last Friday, 3 out of my 4 former clients through that company expressed interest in hiring me, and I decided to work for one of them.

This client is still working in the old company space for a few more weeks. My old coworkers, the ones who were retained just for the changeover, are all working in one crowded space at the back of the office. They've been told that they are free to look for jobs in the meantime.

Meanwhile, today the new tenants have just started moving in.

This situation is unbelievably awkward.

You have to understand, this work area was a longstanding family environment. To dismantle it and have new people picking at it is kind of sad. It's a weird energy. It's one door closing and another opening. It's like a zen koan meets Dilbert.

And I'm sort of looking at it from this third-party viewpoint.

Shadows of pictures on the walls, books in boxes. People coming around and asking if I want this or that item that might be thrown out if it stays.
Etched on my desk when I was first hired nine months ago was the tiny phrase, "We Wuz Here."


  1. I'm finding things coming out of the ether lately, kind of strange things that shouldn't be out of their box. People are showing a madness, if you will, that was a week or two, thought unbecoming.
    Today, it's 'just business'.

    Makes one ready for the small shack in the wilderness, as long as there's wi-fi.

    and chocolate.

  2. I think I understand that.

    I've lived in the same area my whole life, and as such had gone to the local supermarket since I was a kid (I missed many a Saturday morning cartoon because of that. Thanks, ma). Well, eventually, I ended up working there and I hafta say it was one of the best job experiences of my life.

    Then the company sold it off as part of their moving the main brand out of NYC and becoming a chain of superstores (ours was a little hole in the wall job in comparison...coulda probably fit 20 of them inside a Costco). I was there when they were dismantling the fridge units, and because of it being right where I get off the train, I saw all the renovations as they happened and it go from the store I knew for as long as I've been alive to a drug store, and then again as a discount clothing store.

    I had toured both stores sometime after they had opened, and it was weird. So many elements that were left from MY store (especially in its current incarnation where like entire sections remain untouched in 7 years), and yet it wasn't. So many memories of the fun, the "family" that we were, just came rushing in.

    Very weird and surreal.

  3. Anonymous6:08 AM

    I was laid off from a job a few years ago. However, they let us know something like 14 months in advance of the office closing. It was the most excruciating time of my life. Everyone there was just holding out for their redundancy pay off. The atmosphere was toxic.

    Good luck getting through the next few weeks.

  4. Wow, that really does sound awkward.

    Hopefully, the transition will smooth out for everyone involved sooner rather than later.

    Especially for those who lost their jobs. In today's economy, that has to feel horrible.