39 Days and counting

Which means I have had the “60 Day Advance Notice of Layoff” for three weeks. Time enough, I would think to laugh at the email I received from a manager last week:


There is a process in place where managers of employees who receive a RIF notice (60 day WARN) to share those employee’s names with the functional skill team.

That way, the skill team can look at openings (reqs) and identify best fit recommendations.

Hiring managers are also informed of the individual with a WARN.

The recommended course of action would be: Manager of warn employee: notify skill team captain and hrg [Human Resources group]. Employee:  update resume, provide to his/her mentors and HRG, set up notifications in [company staffing website].

end quote

Of course – of course – being a fairly intelligent, 29-year employee, I had already done all of that. In fact, since we all (at my level here in the trenches, not in the penthouse atop the ivory tower) saw this train (juggernaut?) months ago, all of the above recommendations had been done months ago.

My opinion of management, never much in doubt, has been confirmed.

Granted, the final whistle/buzzer/bell has not quite sounded; but there is a point in every game (real, virtual, or imagined) when the outcome seems inevitable. I mean, I’m not Doug Flutie (or, Gerard Phelan). I mean, I do believe in miracles, I just don’t depend on them. I mean, hope is not a strategy.

So, I dragged myself into Confession this past Saturday; it is sooo hard to do: I never know what to say (“still crazy after all these years” Paul Simon?). By the time I had stood in line for 45 minutes (penance enough for anyone) I had my confession: I had a lack of faith.

I mean, here I am: our boomerang daughter returned home (Praise God). Pregnant (Praise God she didn’t have an abortion). And added the cutest, most darling little boy in all of God’s Creation (PG) to our family (effectively doubling the number of souls under our roof). My wife has finally had her every prayer answered and is pregnant with twins (one of each; PG). And, of course, God, with His impeccable sense of timing (proof He is the Master Comedian) has chosen this moment to, well you did read the first paragraph above, didn’t you?

Just how in the world was <I> going to provide for my (doubled) family, when I was on the verge of losing my (very nice) paycheck and health/medical benefits? That’s actually a two-parter: <how> and <I> – but, I’m getting ahead of myself.

After I told my tale of woe, the priest, the Alter Christus, gave me a Penance I had never heard of. Not the usual Our Fathers and Hail Marys I had grown up with, was used to, and expecting.   Oh no, a curve ball. Completely out of the blue (or some such place), I hear: “Read two chapters of Proverbs and meditate on your situation.”

I leave the Confessional, sit in a pew, pull out my smart phone, access the Laudate app and begin reading Proverbs. Now, I am very reluctant to be seen staring at my cell phone in church, because so many young people do, and I don’t think they are reading the Bible; but …. There I found in verse 3: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely.” (Another first: I prefer the New American Bible version here to the Douay-Rheims.)

On February 13, I had sent an email to a company vice-president; in part, it said: “What really astounds me is that [company] recruited me while in graduate school at Purdue (I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering), flew me to Seattle for interviews, hired me and moved my family out here.  Now, almost 30 years later (my anniversary is June 26, approximate two months after my last day on the payroll), with years of experience in the industry, and with [company], I have less value to the company.” A month later, I have had no requests for my resume, no interviews and certainly no offers.

Obviously, I am v-e-r-y slow. Very much a tortoise. I have made other impulsive, spontaneous jumps in my life, “doing it my way,” and have come to believe my way is not the best way. Probably never was; certainly is not now.

Yes, I have attended a resume writing class. One thing that struck me was the advice to do whatever I could to hide the fact that I was over 50 years old. The other thing that I took away was to use key words; great advice for a generic resume. So much for marketing myself.

In other words, I have a list of reasons as long as my arm to leave this gig (starting with the company showing me the door); and only the fear of not being able to continue this lifestyle for my growing family to stay. It isn’t so much a fear of the unknown that keeps me awake at night, it is the fear of what <I> don’t know. When I was 19, and just starting out, I was fearless because the world was huge, opportunities were divergent, and I believed in hard work. Now, out of altitude, airspeed and ideas, I find the world much smaller, opportunities convergent, and hard work doesn’t count for much of anything anymore.

I will continue to row and bail; and pray for fair winds and following seas. It may be a dark night; but there’s also a red sky….

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