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Today hurt ... a lot.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Tripp McNeely, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Tripp McNeely

    Tripp McNeely Member

    The day we all had dreaded had arrived.
    I received a message on the computer. A few of my co-workers were having lunch together before going in for our shift when a cell phone rang. It was the paper asking that the worker "come in for a meeting."
    The message hung on my computer screen and I knew what it meant. We all did.
    Anyone who's read the Journalism Topics section knows what's been going on at several newspapers. Ours was just the latest.
    I started to tear up, knowing that the man who had just been let go is a husband and father of four. What is he going to do now?
    Moments later, my phone rang. I froze, before looking down and seeing another co-worker's number. This one, my best friend.
    "Well, it was nice working with you," he said, more than a hint of anger and disappointment in his voice.
    "You heard from (name omitted)?" I asked?
    "Yes. They want me to come down for a meeting. I asked if I needed to bring my playbook and he said yes, if that's how you want to put it."
    I was stuck. My voice caught. My eyes started to puff and nose started to run. I tried to talk, but I couldn't. My best friend, married with a 1-year-old son, who had started at the paper longer than anyone else in the department, was gone.
    I tried to tell him I was sorry, to comfort him, to tell him I'd help out any way I could.
    "Hello?" he asked?
    "Yeah ...Sorry" I choked out.
    More silence. Finally, I was able to ask if I could call him back. He said yes, and I hung up.
    Every time the hurt would subside, a new name would arise. Someone who I had worked side by side with. A person I had gone to battle with against deadline while working the copy desk.
    Gone with nothing but a pittance of a severance package.
    I called my friend back and apologized for my demeanor. I said all the things I wanted to say and then we hung up.
    I had to go to work.
    The day got a little brighter when I got to the office. Many of our workers had to reapply for job transfers to another paper in the area. There were almost double the applicants for the spots available.
    Nearly all of my other co-workers/friends landed positions. All hardworking guys who deserve to still pull a paycheck.
    It was a bittersweet night, though. On Thursday, I'll go into the office and it will be barren in comparison to what it usually is. Copy editors and designers will be working elsewhere, or, in the case of four men, looking for work altogether.
    I walked out the door tonight knowing the relationships I built will never be the same again. We were a team, a unit. I dare say it's as close to playing on a sports team as there can be. Each fighting for the common goal. Thursday, I'll be there alone, doing my thing and sending my work through a computer to the production staff.
    Jokes and snarky remarks will remain in my head. Dinners will be quiet. Watching games won't be nearly as fun in the office, now.
    The business has changed and now, my life has changed.
    Things won't ever be the same, again.
    I'll miss you guys.
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i'm sorry for your friends, tripp. i hope you guys can bounce back.
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    That sucks Tripp. Hopefully things will start taking a turn for the better one of these days.
  4. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    That blows, Tripp. I have a feeling we will all be dealing with this... sooner, rather than later.

    Hope things take a better turn.

    Hang in there.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Eloquent and gut-wrenching stuff, Tripp.

    Best of luck to you and your co-workers. Past and present alike.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I'm about to feel your pain a lot more than I want to today, Tripp. My condolences.
  7. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    Even though I am not in your guys' industry, I really feel for you guys. This sucks.

    Are you saying what I think you're saying, buck?
  8. JoelHammond

    JoelHammond Member

    Buck and Tripp, hang in there.
  9. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    Reading the post brought back all the memories of how I felt when I went through that a few years ago. It was the only time I was unable to concentrate at work, and I actually had to take a timeout to go for a walk and get myself back together. It was also then and there that I decided I've had enough of this industry.

    Hang in there guys.
  10. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    So sorry, Tripp. Not that I'm not afraid of the same thing...but I sympathize.
  11. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    We're all thinking of you, pulling for you, wishing we could help.
  12. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    Best advice I can give you, Tripp:

    Don't succumb to survivor's guilt. To do that and let your work slip is, if unintentionally, an insult to those who were let go.
    Also, what happened isn't your fault and no one can hold it against you if you continue to work hard for a company that laid off your friends.

    Second, know that most, if not all, those let go will end up okay and, often, in a better spot.
    Sometimes that jolt - and I know it from both sides - can spur changes in one's demeanor that are actually positive. If you and your colleagues are young and it was the first real journalism job you had, it can be like a bird being kicked out of the nest - forced out of the comfort zone only to discover a big and bright world out there.

    It's not unlike a player being cut or being traded - a realization that it's a business - that takes the emotion out of your work day.
    Doesn't mean you care any less, just that the high and lows become more balanced, allowing you to actually concentrate on life outside the work walls - all those things you can control to a far greater degree.

    That famous quote from Shawshank has a lot of meaning - get busy living, or get busy dying.

    What you are goign through is not easy, and like I said, I've seen it from both sides, but the things you think you have lost will return, though in a different form.

    You'll actually get more out of them the second time 'round.
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