Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Today is the one year anniversary of the day of the big layoff of the Nu Skin creative group. One year ago today, at about 10:30 AM I got the phone call to go to the conference room. At the time, to be honest, I was actually a little bit relieved. By the time they called me in, I wanted to be laid off. They had started with the managers, and after 10 or 15 people, I was pretty sure that the department as I knew it would no longer be the family it had always been for me. I knew that it would be a depressing place to work without all of those lovely people surrounding me. We were all praying to get that call so as not to deal with the aftermath.

Don't get me wrong. . . I was scared. It was the only real, grown up job I had ever had. I had started the same week I graduated from college and was there for 7 years. There was a big part of me that wondered if anyone else would ever hire me. I had fallen into the job at Nu Skin almost by accident and it turned out to be something I really liked doing. And better than that, it was something that I was good at. . . but could I translate that skill set to another job? Were there really job openings out there for people like me? Were there Digital Asset managers in other companies? And most importantly, were there jobs like that in Utah, in close enough proximity that I wouldn't have to sell the house I had so recently purchased? What would happen next?

If you've never been laid off, it's impossible to describe the feeling of suddenly being set free on the world with nothing to do. I had spent 7 full years getting up in the morning and going to work. It had become such a habit that I didn't know what to do with myself without it. For the first week or two I still had a play to do in the evenings, but I found myself wandering pretty aimlessly during the day. I had no idea what to do with myself. Nu Skin had been very generous with our severance packages, so I wasn't in a state of panic about finding a job just yet, although it tugged at the back of my mind when I'd stop for a minute. I felt simultaneously like the slightly guilty kid skipping school and someone without any purpose at all.

A few days after the lay offs, we got together for breakfast. In all, around 35 of us had lost our jobs that day. There were only 6 or 7 left in the whole department. I don't think there were more than 3 or 4 missing from that big group that first day. We overflowed the Village Inn while we ate and talked and swapped information so that we never lost contact. We had lunch a week later, and then two weeks. . .

It has become a tradition that happens slightly less often now. Most everyone has found other work, moved on. . . some to other states, so our group is smaller when we get together. But we still find each other. We still swap Christmas cards and emails and wedding announcements. We still keep in touch with that family.

Today, we gathered for an anniversary lunch, and the crowd was bigger than it's been in a long time. There were a few noteable exceptions, but almost everyone was there. We filled two long tables at Thai Chili Garden and talked and laughed together as if it hadn't been a year. We filled each other in on our lives as they are now, swapped business cards, and family stories. It was a great time.

As much as I like my current job and my co-workers, I miss that crowd every day. I will always consider them family, no matter how many of these anniversary lunches pass.

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