Thursday, October 5, 2017

Being laid off sucks

There was a substantial RIF yesterday
Being RIF'ed sucks
Yea, I am okay.  And this blogging is therapeutic.
No, this is not sour grapes, and I am not disparaging my previous employer in any way.  Please don't take any comments in that way, that is not the intent.
That is your warning, read on if you like.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6am

My mind has been buzzing in a thousand different directions lately.  My team and I have been working under rumors of 'cost reductions', and our work site has appeared to be one of the targets.

Quite frankly, the entire company has been on edge for two weeks now.  Internal email volume has reduced to a trickle, chatter on Slack has trickled down to only the really critical questions or help.  Really obvious that most everyone at this point in time knows that something is up.

I am beginning this story in the morning of the 'big day'.  My brain has been busy half the night working on this, and it  just needs to get out of my head.

I wonder how many on my team are going to wear a red shirt into work today, as I have...

Needless to say, my emotions are mixed at this point.  The one upside of rumors is that once the threads start to come together, it helps you move through the stages of grief.  And the meeting invitation that many of us received I hope will be a relief, since the anticipation can stop and reality will be known.

I can say this, no matter the face you put on this; it really is emotional.  It is really easy to feel depressed and to feel unvalued.
I honestly didn't think that writing this would be as difficult as it is seeming to be.  But I am at the point of letting go, of what I am not clear.  And I think that is the struggle.

I have worked at my current company and office for 10+ years.  I have made friends, worked with some incredibly smart people, worked on some incredibly cool and innovative projects.  I have nothing to regret for my work, or the experience I have gained. 

So many things that I have been involved in, that I could not share, could not talk about to anyone other than my team.
Until earlier this year I was in a research team.  We were always forward looking, strategic in our projects, and very early in our efforts.
Changes were made and that group was dissolved and we became a more traditional development team.  Definitely different work.

For me, I was finally able to work on my one of my passions; customer success.  That was great.  What was not great was the internal struggles due to the way the business processes, internal feedback, and internal silos reinforced thinking.  This frustration of my position I will not miss.
And I have to say, 'speaking' that frustration is relieving.  But I don't want this to be about sour grapes.  It really isn't.

I wanted this to be about moving through and moving on.  This is the first time I have been on this side of a layoff.
I have been one of the lucky ones to remain behind multiple times, both in a leadership position and as an independent contributor.  That is not simple, that is emotional and disruptive as well.

I have to look at this as the kick in the butt to remake myself (again).
This would not be the first professional shift in my life.  I have remade myself many times, and risen to the occasion each time.  Then it is always the question of "what's next?"

This time it is different, the first question in my head is "now what?"  and I have to consciously place that aside and ask "what's next?"
That is what I need to focus on and simply think about what excites me, what challenges me, what can highly engage me for the next 10 years.

Now, I am going to take a pause from writing, head into work, and do what a team does as we wait for the meeting that outlines our fate.  Nothing anxious about that at all....  :-S

Wednesday, October 4, 2017  12pm

The message has been delivered.
I have had a chance to talk to HR to clarify some questions about the severance.
There is a strange feeling of relief.  I am simply pretty numb to the whole thing.
Standing around talking with my co-workers that have been tasked with escorting us out.  What a sucky task.  Being a survivor of these things in the past, not a great mental place to put the remaining folks in.

And that's it.
Move on, go away.  Bye.
That is it.
That is the feeling.
Have I said it is kind of surreal?

A few of us retired for the afternoon to a local business to have lunch, a couple beers, and play Dungeons and Dragons for a few hours.
That was a good distraction.

That is all for now, more tomorrow.  As I am sure there will be more tomorrow.  And as I mentioned, this is therapeutic.


Aidan Finn said...

Sh*t dude! I read the news yesterday about the Redmond office and feared the worst! I've been there, and it sucks. But you're a quality person, always have reasoned comments, and have tonnes of knowledge. If MS is stupid and doesn't grab the opportunity to bring on a learn-it-all type such as yourself, then one of the many other corporations around here will snap you up.

Best of luck,

Didier Van Hoye said...

That is bad news. For what it's worth, I'd be proud & lucky to have you on my team when it comes to researching solutions, troubleshooting and automation for devops/cloud/site resilience engineering.... You have talent, skills and are able to convey your insights and knowledge eloquently. I second what Aidan said. There is a rare opportunity to pick up talent & experience in the Redmond area ... tech companies better make use of it. I hope you're in the saddle again soon!


Carsten Rachfahl said...

Hi Brian,

That sucks. But as I know you how pasionate and knowlagebale you area I’m convinced that you will find a new area that intrests you verry soon.

Cheers Carsten