The journey begins

11 02 2009

It began as a weird surrealistic experience. A meeting request one week ago today via email on Outlook for the next morning signed with an emoticon smiley face. I will give her the benefit of doubt that that was done as a force of habit and was not meant to be inappropriate. But still an as yet unbelievable chain of events was set into motion that led to my appointment to my own layoff from my employer of 12 1/2 years.

Starbucks Coffee had been very good to me. They are hailed as one of the great American employers for their generous pay and benefits packages for a reason. I was able to enjoy my free coffee and reasonable vacations while contributing to a company that defined the culture of the consumer society of the last 10 years. But this is not the same company I joined in 1996. The culture of the great American coffee house was lost in the continuous demand for sales and location growth by the stakeholders, including employees like me. As ‘partners’ we were all supposed to share in the success of the company, and be rewarded for our longevity with stock options and other niceties.

Apparently it was all a shell game. You see there is no such thing as perpetual motion or never ending growth, so it peaked, and the house of cards started to collapse. But the biggest problem I have is that I was doing my job, and making a difference, but because of mistakes of others much higher up the ladder (who were rewarded handsomely at the time) of unrelenting growth, I am now paying the price for their hubris.

So now my story is very similar to thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of others over the past few months who are victims of circumstance. I am not writing this to bash my former employer, at least they have the decency to give me a generous severance package. In fact, I was a customer at Starbucks before I started working there, and I will be a customer after. Just maybe not for a few days right now.

My severance and a little bit of savings is going to give me the opportunity and a little bit of flexibility to figure out what to do next. I am going to lean on my family and friends, and I have decided on a creative outlet to record my journey.

Working to work was a title I picked because finding a job in 2009 is going to be the hardest job I’ve probably ever had. ‘Life of leisure’ is just me being facetious. I take the state of the economy very seriously. However, we still have it very good here in our times of trouble. The fact that I can sign up for a blog page, and write this on a computer says that pretty well. But in reality I won’t truly be lounging around for a long time.

Just wanted to put out a ‘why’ post to get started. The who, what, and where will be coming soon as well. The ‘how’ is the part I’m not so sure about……

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