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Reduced in Force December 16, 2007

Posted by Peter Hornby in worklife.

I think we all knew it was coming. The Reduction in Force (RIF) happened on Thursday, and I was one of a substantial number of people laid off from the Unisys engineering facility in Mission Viejo, California. The other two plants, in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, were similarly affected.

How do I feel? Well, after 30 years, it’s a shock, even though I’d been more and more convinced that I was going to be affected. But, overall, I have a tremendous sense of relief.

I write those words “after 30 years”, read them back, and there’s a sense of astonishment. How did I end up working for a single company for thirty years? And how would I have ever left without this layoff? I suspect that the answers are related. It becomes comfortable after a while, even if the job changes, as it did for me on many occasions. You see the same people, people who are also lifers, you understand the way things are done, you feel a sense of satisfaction at seeing organisational structures repeat themselves. In other words, you get tired and cynical, and I think that’s where I’d arrived at. But, that said, I don’t see how I’d have left on my own. That security blanket is very warm and comforting, and the alternative seems challenging, not to say frightening.

But that’s where I am now, with a sudden open space in front of me, after decades of walking a path which had become darker and more overgrown. Is what I see a meadow or a desert? Time will tell, and I’m excited at the prospect of finding out.

But, in the short term, I’m going to take a little time off, and consider the next couple of months as a mini-sabbatical. Lorraine and I might take an extended east coast trip to see friends in New York and Philadelphia, or maybe we’ll visit her birth city, Montreal.

It all starts on Monday. For the first time since June 1977, I’ll wake up with no thought of Unisys, a part of my life which is now complete. Let’s see what happens.



1. Jim B. - December 31, 2007


Your life will cetainly change. Hopefully, after the system shock wears -off, you will continue to feel that sense of relief. I, too, went through a similar situation after 26 years with one company. Adjustment to this change takes time. But given that time, you will most likely reconnect with what is “you” as opposed to what you became in a capitve corporate culture. Some days will be tough. Other days, however, will offer up a sense of liberation. Most likely, you greatest loss will be money. You’ll find out who your real friends are and you’ll begin to appreciate those who really care. Good luck!

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