Until today I was really just a spectator to the nation's economic troubles. I knew I was fortunate to be in a pretty safe sector in my day job. And at a small, well-managed company on top of that. We had delayed a major software upgrade and cut back on the training budget, but those were sensible actions, no problem.
That changed today. We had a staff meeting in which we found out four people had been laid off yesterday in anticipation of a very tight 2009. One was the woman who occupied the office next to mine. I felt the woosh of the bullet whizzing past my head.
Shocked, upset, relieved, these are all emotions of the day. I don't think there will be more layoffs, since they are trimming to avoid problems instead of correct for them (overreacting maybe?), but I'm still rattled. I already encouraged a co-worker to move into the vacated office next to mine. That will fill the hole that is left and make me feel slightly better somehow.
And if all of that weren't enough, today I had to sit with someone to learn a new task -- which I'm only taking over because she has terminal cancer and is going into the hospital. The task isn't hard, but taking it over is.
Is there any good news? Well, our pool of applications at HF only continues to improve as the newspaper industry collapses and the Canadian dollar sinks (payroll is in USD). That makes my life a lot easier. Service in restaurants and retail seems to have improved too. I was at the Outback a couple weeks ago and our waiter's phrasing and mannerisms seemed to indicate that he had been trained in a fine French restaurant. When he left the table, I said to my dinner mate, "Dude, it's the Outback." People in jobs they are overqualified for will likely only increase.
In sports, NASCAR has taken a big hit, which I am not shedding a tear over as a hockey fan. The Arena Football League collapsed, which I won't miss either. Some thinning out is good, as long as it's not something you depended on.
May you all make it through this in one piece.