So this morning I get up and check my work email. There’s a meeting invite from my boss, posted early this morning, for a 9:30 meeting titled “Re Org Update” and to be held in a conference room (rather than in my boss’s office).

None of that sounded good.  Unexpected meeting being held immediately.  Odd location.  No details.  I did a [Reply with Comments] to say, “Oh, oh… this doesn’t sound good,” hoping for a calming reply.

No calming reply.

So, heart pounding, I enter the conference room, and pretty much immediately know this isn’t going to go well.  I see my boss and another woman, not known to me, but with that corporate air about her.  She’s got one of those friendly-neutral expressions, and my boss… doesn’t look happy. He looks sad.

Long story short, my job… no longer exists.  If I’m lucky, and can find myself another position in the company (in the next 45 days), I can stay.  If not, so long, Charlie.  And, hey, that will be just in time for my birthday!

Others had assured me, during yet another corporate shake up and “re-org”, that my position was probably secure.  “You’re an SME (Subject Matter Expert),” they said.  And that’s true: I’ve been working with software for 35 years and with hardware for longer than that.  My skill set is current, deep, broad and by any reckoning, hugely useful.  My clients love me; the work I’ve done has universally been highly regarded.  On a technical capabilities level, I’m second to few.

I’m a valuable commodity!!

Aren’t I?

Apparently not.  At least, not in the eyes of my company.

Yet I can see many places within our IT organization that clearly can use what I bring to the table.  Why don’t they want me?

Ageism?  Sure seems like.  I’m beyond 55, and I’m 10 months away from a big jump in what I’d get if I retired.  If I retire right now (as seems will happen), not so much (translation: company saves a bundle by dumping my ass now).

Is it personal?  Possibly.  I’ve never been good at holding my tongue, and I don’t suffer fools gladly, lightly or quietly.  (Me and my mouth.)

It’s going to be an interesting 45 days.  Right now depression, anger, fear and totally stunned shock are all vying for brain cycles.  Ultimately, perhaps one way to look at this is, “Hey, way more time for blogging!”

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

12 responses to “Gobsmacked!

  • Ground Rush « Logos con carne

    […] crap, they eliminated my job, now what,” fun-filled fun fest. If you’re tuning in late, here’s chapter one of the story.  So far I’ve applied for a dozen different positions, had two interviews and have another […]

  • It's only P!

    I do believe it’s one of the reasons why they are planning to let you go: they don’t like it much when people say what they think. Like a salesperson, you must only say what they want to hear and never say it all. That is why I am world’s worst sales person, ha ha, and you too, I guess, although we are appreciated by others for talents we do possess. To be true to oneself – these days – is a totally unfair challenge.

    To get where you want to be it seems that one must eat humble pie, beat about the bush, and practise a little hypocrisy (I’d say it more bluntly but I respect the WordPress environment too much for that) ;). ‘Honesty is the best policy’ is virtually obsolete. If you can’t beat them, join them?

    I suggest a regular little dose of Rescue Remedy, seeing that you are in shock. It works wonders! It has stopped me from throwing a coffee mug through the TV screen on a few occasions. Don’t show them your anger! 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I think you may be right… on all counts! No doubt we might both be further along in life if we liked the taste of humble pie more, but it’s a taste I cannot acquire. Whatever happens, I have to go on living with myself, so despite that unfair challenge, it’s a path I must follow. It may not lead to great success, but success is over-rated, and it does lead to peace of mind. To me that’s more important.

      But I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know! 🙂

  • Reflections: Work & Change « Logos con carne

    […] Looking back on it, it’s funny how little actually changed in the past year despite all the change going on around me. That eighth position turned out to be something of a dud (actually, that’s putting it mildly); they never really engaged me or put me to good use (so you can see why my position got axed). […]

  • wakemenow

    That’s unfortunate. 😦 Or is it? Maybe a new opportunity awaits you that will allow for greater freedom of expression while still bringing in a steady income. Pushing good vibes your direction!

    Not to make light of the stress you must be under. That really is too bad. And this is why I get so pissed off at corporations — they’re divorced from any sense of loyalty or moral/social obligation. And so-called “experts” claim it must remain this way, which is bullshit. Surely a better way to organize and manage a society can be dreamed up among people willing to collaborate and ponder the possibilities. That companies routinely drop people in the years before retirement age is utterly rude and shows no appreciation for years of dedicated service. All it says to me is we’re better off working for ourselves, cutting out the unnecessary management middlemen and their pimps where possible. Why play the corporate game if we don’t have to? Just for access to health insurance? That’s what most people tell me. Doesn’t sound like a good enough reason, seeing as how health insurance companies are crooks in their own right.

    Total bummer of a story there, man. But just remember that Corporate is not the only game in town. People have other options thanks to the wonderful tool we’re using now (the internet). You know software creation, so I wonder what experience you have with website design. As in creating alternative “private” websites where people pay rather than having to rely on advertiser dollars, thereby cutting out concerns of privacy violations.

    We need honest and decent websites and companies to compete against the stock market-driven, insane profit-chasing oligarchical situation that’s dominating the landscape. They only win because we consent, partly because we lack dependable alternative, partly due to widespread complacency, saying this is the way it must be because this is how it is now. What kind of logic is that? It’s nonsense, yet people repeat it all the time. Intellectual laziness is one reason for it; learned helplessness is another. Slavery is all it is and all it’s ever been, that being the name of the game since since communities expanded beyond small tribes. Whether we ever escape this new mental slavery we’ve come to inflict on ourselves is anyone’s guess. All I know is the war of the future will begin in our minds, in questioning the reality we’ve co-constructed, and in imagining new, preferably sustainable approaches more suitable to HUMAN life (as opposed to rich fat cats’ world domination ambitions) on a finite planet. The internet is such an amazing tool in our collective arsenal in times such as these, and you Word Smythe are computer savvy and possess technical, backend experience. I’d say that puts you in a particularly unique position open to so many possibilities. Best of luck from here on out!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thank you for the support; it’s very nice to hear! I agree very much with your point of view and your words. And I do feel I’m in a much better position than a lot of people in very similar circumstances, since I do possess skills that I can likely leverage.

      One thing is certain; if I’m out, that’s it for me and Corporate fucking America. I sometimes feel I’ve been selling my soul working making bombs. For me, it hasn’t been the medical plan so much as the idea of a worry free retirement–kind of the classic American dream. Work hard, pay your dues, enjoy your retirement. That’s what it said on the implied contract 33 years ago… I kept my side… fucking rat bastards didn’t keep theirs. So now we have a culture where companies have no loyalty to employees and employees are actually urged to have none to the company. This cannot be a recipe for success.

      Websites… I haven’t stayed current with the latest there, but it’s just technology; something I’ve always found easy to learn. It’s an idea to keep in mind. I have no businessman’s head (more an artist’s or technogeek’s), and running or owning a business has never been a dream (nor a skill I have). I’m that guy down in the basement keeping all the systems running (“Captain, she wonna take much more!!”).

      So we’ll see. Today is the beginning of week three (of six+), so I’m getting near halfway there. Thanks again for your words of support; they mean a lot!

  • wakemenow

    Wyrd Smythe, sorry. Butchering names and slinging typos left and right. Already got into the wine, so please excuse the sloppiness. 😉

  • reocochran

    Hey, that is a definite bummer and I am going to say that I faced one 6 years ago, good old No Child Left Behind, I was a teacher with an unemployed husband for 3 years, rushing to get the required Master’s while teaching and working at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. End of story: lost house,left husband and they threw me a great party at school.

    Keep your chin up! (Same period of time my 43 year old friend died of cancer 3 years of struggling.) Life is great over the alternative.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well that sucks, and I wish I could say it’s a unique story. What happened to our American Dream? Work hard, play by the rules, do good, and your reward is the nice house, the nice spouse, the nice kids… Somewhere along the line someone threw some sand in the gears, and I want that person’s name!


      A teacher! Well, you’re in great company here. My mom was a music teacher, my sister is a teacher in Los Angeles, my uncle was a Theology professor, and my dad and his dad were pastors (which is sort of the same thing). [And, yep, that’s right, sing it with me, I’m “…the son of a preacher man…”] As my blog may reveal, I’m a frustrated teacher myself!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! We post-fifties single folks need to stick together and show the world a thing or two!

      • reocochran

        The funny thing is, I was the one who followed the rules, the oldest kid, 2 younger brothers,… like I may have said in another part of my blog, upon going to class reunions people’s mouths drop open. “Not you, Robin, you were the one with the white picket fence and happy ending!” I laugh because it was a more interesting crooked road of up and down hills, maybe more of what I wanted anyway.

        So, onward and upward with you and your adventures! I am always in awe of people who are technical and yet, practical, too.

        I have a brother and sister in law, along with my mother who are teachers. (Rich and Susan are professors.) Also, an aunt and uncle. No preachers thought! That made an interesting impact on your life.

        My wayward brother is an outstanding artist, Randall Oldrieve. My Dad is Robert Oldrieve and there’s info on him (internet connections) still and his impact on science, rockets and NASA. I believe he would be proud of my ability to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on finding a way through life to make a difference.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I know what you mean about “interesting.” I definitely feel some gypsy in my past cursed me with the old, “May you live in interesting times” curse! What doesn’t break us makes us better, right?

        The name Oldrieve seems to tweak a bell. I’ve been a space and science nut a long time. I wonder if I’ve run across his name before. I’ll have to check out the internet when I get a chance!

        Yeah,… having a preacher dad definitely made life a bit more interesting.

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