We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.
1 Cor. 8:3
To give some details about yesterday: We had layoffs. I still have a job, but they have implemented a pay freeze so no raises go into effect and we get paid at 2008 salary levels. I’m OK with that because they said not giving us raises meant that a few more people kept their jobs. Nobody knew about the layoffs until we came in; then people started disappearing, escorted out by their managers, carrying a box of personal belongings if they were lucky. The rumor mill immediately began churning at an exceptional rate, producing names of people seen escorted out. By mid-morning nobody had gotten any work done. A high-up manager told us at 11:30 told us that our site was losing 13% of our workforce, a total of 46 people; the reporting group lost one lab sciences writer (my close coworker who worked remotely from upstate New York for about 24 hours a week), one other person, and one person was transferred to another group immediately.
Losing our remote coworker was a serious blow. She had over 5 years of experience writing these reports; the rest of us only have 2.5 years or fewer. She wrote the really hard, nasty reports. Gee, who might be picking those up in the future…? Now our managers are working hard to “strategize” (a term we hear constantly) to “use our resources effectively.” I hate being referred to as a “resource.” It makes me sound like a chunk of rock or a forest to clear-cut or a vein of coal to mine. Resources you use up and dispose of. People should never receive that kind of treatment, although that’s what happened yesterday.
Then, over the course of the day, news trickled in that my other 2 friends — yes, I only had 3 friends total at work — were also laid off. The scientist who gave me a ride on cold mornings and the auditor I did Bible readings with once a week both just vanished without a trace. They left behind half-drunk coffee in a mug, an office full of personal decorations, and simply disappeared, along with 44 other unfortunates. The whole day felt like being in a horror movie like Alien where people are slowly picked off one by one, and you never know who will vanish next.
By the end of the day I truly understood the definition of haggard. I felt it after an entire day emotionally strung out, stressed and never knowing what might happen next. I don’t think I smiled all day. It was the one time I could meet peoples’ gazes without changing expression without approbation: We all felt the same way, horrified and dead inside and fearful for our jobs and the jobs of our coworkers. Mustering even a fake smile took altogether too much emotional energy. Rarely have I felt such relief when a workday ended as I did yesterday.
This morning I simply focused on being grateful for having a job.