I got a call from a longtime friend Tuesday morning as he was on his way to lunch.  It was the guy I’ve known since my second year of college studying programming — the guy who I’ve been commuting to work with every day for the past five years.

The guy whose cubicle was next to mine since early this year.

The guy who almost seemed to be “stalking” me ever since shortly after I moved to Utah and started working here, following me from job to job (except for one, but then I joined up with his company for several years), who even moved into a house a few blocks away from my home at one time (I tease him about that).

The guy who many of our co-workers felt would be a decent project manager, before our boss told him in front of the entire team one day that he’d be “the last person” some managers there would want to see as a project manager.

My friend was calling to see how I was doing, and I told him I’ve been hanging in there, doing what I can, staying as upbeat as possible.

He also informed me that my termination from the company we’d both worked for the last five years was not the last.  He reeled off several names of additional people who’d lost their jobs after me just from memory, including one name that just floored me because he’d been a well-liked, hard-working employee in the purchasing department for a number of years, much longer than I’d been there.

So the cuts went on.

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I remembered back to a couple of meetings the company’s CEO had with employees — quarterly “birthday club” meetings for employees celebrating birthdays in that period, where we’d sit down to cake and ice cream and have frank discussions over what was happening in the company in a more “intimate” setting than the regular quarterly employee meetings where EVERYONE was invited.

In those “birthday club” meetings (it sounds so darn FUN, doesn’t it?), the CEO would get asked about layoffs.  In his Alabama drawl, he would answer along the lines of, “Well, if yer doin’ yer jawb the way it’s s’pposed to be done, you’ll be fahn.  If yer not doin’ your jawb, you’ll be out the door.  Simple as that.”

I think it’s safe to say that the purchasing agent who was given his walking papers was doing his job the way it was meant to be done, along with others, I’m sure.

Sing along with me here … ‘Tis the season to cut the budget/Fa-la-la-la-laaaa-la-la-la-laaaa!”

If I were to talk to any of those additional people who suffered the same fate as me with the company, I would offer this advice:  “Hold your head up … high!”

I asked my friend if he’d been doing any job searching himself in the meantime.  Here’s a guy who’s been more unhappy in his job for years longer than me, felt more pressure than me for years longer, and at the same time he’s only put in a token effort here and there to find something else.  He also hates networking, a big negative in the land of the jobless.

“I just don’t have time,” he always answers.  I heard the same thing from him on the phone yesterday.

“You need to make time, man!” I told him, point blank.  “Go to monster.com, go to careerbuilder.com, go to the online classifieds from the newspaper, go to the bigger companies’ websites and register off their careers pages.  It really doesn’t take that much time.  There are tons of project manager jobs that you could be qualified for.  But you need to do it NOW!”

“Yeah, maybe someday I’ll get off my butt and do something about it.”  That’s the same thing I’ve heard from him for a couple of years.

He’s got a wife, four kids, a big house to pay for, bills to pay.  I hope his effort doesn’t start too late.


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