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How I got out of the business...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mizzougrad96, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    A little while back, I took a buyout.

    I knew it was coming. I had a national beat (NFL) that they started scaling back gradually. My first year, I was at the Senior Bowl, every round of the playoffs and the Super Bowl, the combine, the owner's meetings... You name it, we covered it.

    Every year, we started covering fewer events. By my last year, I was essentially a very highly-paid beat writer.

    When the buyout rumors started, I went to my boss and asked him if I was a target. I was told I was not. He was stunned that I would even think this and I told him that the way I was being used would indicate that they were changing my position. He told me I was crazy to think so.

    A few months later, there were a round of buyouts and a couple layoffs that I survived. Apparently, my conversation with my SE freaked him out a little bit so I started to travel a little more and started being sent to national events (non-NFL) as a columnist, something that had never happened before with this chain.

    Then, we got wind of the next round of buyouts. I asked my boss if I was a target and he got really pissed that I would even ask such a thing. I didn't believe him. He had told every writer on staff that they were safe and we knew a couple of us would be gone.

    I started to get sick of the travel. I have young kids and I started looking into getting out of the business. I was really burned out and I knew that major cuts were coming. Not having job security really bothered me as did the constant feeling that my SE was telling everyone exactly what we wanted to hear. One of the early layoffs was a close friend of mine who was by far the best writer we had on staff. My SE told him two days before he was let go that he was safe. That told me a lot about the people who were making the cuts. Also, the friend in question got a completely shitty severance package compared to the buyouts that some others had gotten.

    I interviewed at a few places outside of the business and had a few decent offers. I wanted to time things right so I could get out and not have any downtime when I wasn't receiving a paycheck.

    We received a memo from management asking who would be interested in a buyout. I asked my boss again about who was targeted and I was told they would not let me take it.

    I then asked to meet with someone higher-up and was given the dates as to when the buyout would take effect and what the terms were. With the date they told me, I tried to set it up so I could transition from one job into the other.

    I got sick of going through my SE, so I went to HR and asked to take the buyout effective July 1, which was the date we had agreed on. I had a job set up to start in August, so I was feeling pretty happy about getting 12 weeks of severance, three weeks of vacation and six weeks of comp time and benefits through the end of the year.

    This was all done three months before this was supposed to happen. About two weeks later, I got a call from HR and saying that my buyout was accepted, effective immediately. I was told to come in and drop off my Blackberry and laptop the next day. When I tried to log into my work email, I had already been locked out.

    I flipped out. I called an attorney friend who contacted HR on my behalf. He told them they had to pay me for 30 weeks of total severance. They had agreed to 21. We ended up kind of splitting the difference. I got 25 weeks, plus full benefits through the end of the year. They knew I already had a job set up where the benefits would kick in two months after I started, so that's part of the reason they agreed to it.

    I'm making slightly more money now than I was. I work about 45 hours a week and I'm home for dinner every night. It's amazing.

    Do I miss it? I'd be lying if I said I never miss it, but I very rarely miss it. My friends who are still in the business tell me daily how smart I was to get out when I did. When the next round of buyouts and layoffs hit this chain, none of them got anything close to the deal I got.

    In 12 years I covered three Olympics, 10 NCAA Tournaments, five Super Bowls, two World Series, a Stanley Cup Finals and four NBA Finals. Not a bad run.

    That's my story. ;D
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Good for you Mizzou. What kind of work are you doing now?
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    I think he's working for the Obama transition team.
  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Congrats! On your terms, despite the rat bastards attempts to muck it up.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Is the new place hiring?
  7. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    Congrats on the move and good luck in the new job.
  8. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    Good luck, and as someone asked above, what the hell are you doing now? Related field?
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    That's what people say, but I have a really hard time saying I left on my terms when I spent two years scared shitless every time my boss called. Watching my buddy get canned for no reason other than he was the highest paid non-columnist on staff scared the shit out of me. He was the best writer on staff and he got let go because he had the highest salary. After he was gone, I had the highest salary and I was smart enough to know that no matter how many times my SE told me I was safe, I knew I wasn't.

    I've had three solid offers to come back and I've turned down each of them. Having job security will add years to your life. For two years, I was a walking basketcase.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Unrelated field. I have a book proposal out there (non-sports) and I've had two books published, but I'm not banking on any of that.
  11. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Congrats. Enjoy tucking your children in every night. That's one thing I miss with soo much night work. You worked it out smart. Hopefully I can do the same within the next year or so.
  12. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    I know exactly how you felt. My wife was so tired of my worry about the job that she was suggesting that I take the buyout. The problem was that my plan B doesn't involve immediate employment; I'd have to go back to school, and with two school-age kids, I'm reluctant to do that.

    Glad to hear another person got out.

    How has your buddy fared?
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