Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Laid off again

I was laid off Monday, for the second time this year and the third in my life. This time it wasn't announced to a group so it was just like being fired. Never been bum's rushed out of an office before (being followed to the door). Afterwards I asked a contact in the company, who told me yes, there was a purge of the department ("the company didn't meet its sales goals"); it wasn't just me.

My line to the manager, for real: "Like the line in the movie says, 'It's not personal; it's just business.'"

Thing is, today's businesses have no sense of loyalty or responsibility to "their people" (no such thing anymore). They're not John Wanamaker or Henry Ford. No more staying at the same company for life (I was at one for nearly 16 years), no pension (401ks were originally a tax dodge for the rich, then companies figured out how to cheat you out of a pension with them). That's why my last two corporate jobs have been mostly agency temps, which I was at my last one, after being laid off as a real employee after a year and a half at another company (group announcement, month's notice, severance offer). We're all mercenaries now. ("Do your own thing" = "every man for himself.") There's good money to be made (the other company) but a lot of risk.

I'm an online ad copywriter (two years) after 18 years in newspapers (feature writing, proofreading, page-making with the computer, digital video for the Web, editing). Give me a business owner's name and his line of work, and I'll come up with 1,000+ words to make an online brand identity, a personality, a voice for that person that will drive customers to him. Look for the hook (what's in it for this person's customers?) and create a character. I've written content for over 1,500 commercial websites for small businesses of all kinds all over the country and one overseas (Belgium — worked via Skype), including in Spanish, and have trained new writers. I have lived in the Philadelphia area for nearly 30 years.

Yes, I've applied for unemployment.

I still have a longstanding part-time job in print.

Prayers and leads (two so far) appreciated.


  1. I have been there, and it stinks. No one who hasn't been there has any clue how much it stinks. If it is any consolation at all, it sounds like this was a poorly run company with a sketchy business model. I hope and pray you will quickly find lucrative employment with a solid employer. You are a gifted content writer, and there is an expanding market for someone with your talents and experience. Prayers ascending!! And I will keep my eyes and ears open.

  2. Don't have any good business contacts in that part of the world. I will pester the heavenly host on your behalf.

  3. Damn. I wish I had a job lead for you.
    Prayers, and also appreciation for this blog.

  4. All my Prayers John. Like others on this board, I have been there as well. One company I worked for fully vested employees after five years; I was laid off, also without warning, the day before I made five years. In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, it forced me to return to university and finish my doctorate.

    1. I was laid off, also without warning, the day before I made five years.

      That kind of thing makes my blood boil. Don't get me started!!


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