It has become a common situation in today’s corporate world, the day that starts with more cars in the parking lot than it ends with. I’m talking about layoff day. For me it seems to happen once every quarter with different areas in the company being affected at each one. If you follow me on Twitter you saw that Monday (yesterday) was layoff day and it was I.T.’s turn. The last layoffs that affected I.T. was at the end of April, 2010 (we did lose a couple of programmers from the system I work on in August, 2010 but they were laid off as a convenience, they kind of deserved it). Job security has been a concern for some of my teammates over the last year. Last summer we lost our most experienced person to another company (I’m very happy for him as we are good friends) and our most talented programmer changed teams in February of this year. On January 1, 2011 we had 5 full-time programmers, 1 intern programmer, 1 manager, and 1 systems consultant (sorry but I don’t know for sure what he does); at the end of the day on April 4, 2011 we had 3 full-time programmers, 1 intern, and 1 systems consultant.
One of the things that people seem to forget that, while it is very hard on those who are laid off (for the most part), the remaining employees are also impacted. We are in the process of implementing agile programming, which involves a group of 3-5 programmers and 1-3 testers and requests are processed very quickly over 2 week sprints. (I’m not going into more detail of agile and scrum because that’s all I know). The 3 most experienced people on my team (the person who changed teams was one of them) have been in scrum since October leaving myself and another person as the lone day-to-day support programmers, with me being the “senior” developer (even though I am the newest member of the team). Yesterday I hear the other support programmer get the call to visit HR. I felt horrible for him that he was losing his job. Then I sent my boss an instant message, somewhat jokingly, asking if he was going to get the call. Right after it was sent his phone rang, he too was getting laid off. I had formed a very good professional and personal relationship with him and was kind of saddened by the fact that he was going to be gone. Thankfully I think our friendship will continue.
With my boss being let go I was moved under the other system manager. I get along with him fine but it’s going to take some time for me to realize that I now report to him.
The hardest part is that I now feel like I’m all alone. Aside from discussions I had regarding some of my assignments I had very little communication. I do have some friends there but I know we are all busy. My feeling of loneliness comes from the section of cubicles I sit in is almost empty; I am the only one other than one of the interns in the area. I do like my alone time but today it was a little overwhelming since I wasn’t used to it. The loneliness isn’t the only thing I’m facing. Being the only support programmer for front-end programs means I will be getting all of the assignments that come over before I am reassigned to the second scrum team is formed (we are supposed to start on stuff April 18). I know things will get easier but this week will be tough.
I also have to start thinking about my future. My teammate that was cut was kind of a buffer for me. I didn’t think of him that way in day-to-day tasks but I had a feeling he’d get cut before I would. Now I can’t help but think if my name will be on the list the next time I.T. cuts are made. Yes I probably will be looking at changing jobs, and maybe even careers. On top of that we, as a family, need to get things financially prepared just in case. I really am fortunate to have survived all of these layoffs (I think I’m up to 6 now) but I don’t know how many more I will survive.
I feel horrible for everyone, and their families, that is cut as a result of layoffs. I also feel for those who are left behind (so to speak) at the office, the people who have to pick up the slack, and have to adjust to their friends and co-workers not being there. It will be an adjustment over the next couple of days, maybe even weeks. I am excited about moving to the scrum/agile environment in a couple of weeks but I also somewhat dread the time before the move.
I’m just glad I can still work at home on Fridays.
Quick note: I am still very glad that I have a job, please don’t think that I’m not. These are feelings I have regarding the situation. Every day I am thankful that I can go to work and provide for my family.