Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good Company (...85)

 "Ketzel Uprooted" is a blog by a former NPR correspondent, Ketzel Levine, who was laid off in December, 2008 while doing a series about the impact of layoffs, "American Moxie."  As a journalist, she is adept at telling her story and I enjoy knowing her perspective.  Her early posts are comforting to somebody new to the layoff scene because she admits shared feelings.  Here's an excerpt from her first entry:
"All right, bullshit aside, Ketzel Uprooted is my newly created blog, my first step towards reasserting my right to take up space despite having been taken off the air. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not bitter. OK, so maybe I feel a little betrayed. But when the company you love finds itself operating at a 23 million dollar deficit, come on, something's got to give.  But damn it, not my self-esteem."
I especially like that Ketzel is a former NPR employee.  I relate to her feeling of being let down by a longtime employer while also understanding its budget constraints.  I was laid off from WGBH, the public television station in Boston which has been cutting wages and staff since 2009.  A recent article, "Dead Air," in Boston Magazine discusses WGBH's financial challenges, its battle with the local union over contract negotiations, and its strained relationship with the city over it's tax exempt status.  The article is full of accusations about the station and it's president, but it's nothing that hasn't been written in other recent articles around Boston.  It did, however, remind me of how many of my former colleagues and I have felt for a while about the atmosphere at WGBH:  depressed.  Even when working on exciting projects, the office scene felt grim.  Empty offices and cubicles were a reminder of missing staff members.

In recent days I've emailed with several other WGBH employees who were laid off this year and last year.  Now that I'm one of the missing staff members, I felt the need to reach out and hear how fellow WGBH-ers addressed the challenges of a layoff.  Like Ketzel writes in her blog, "If you want to swap stories or strategies or just need a shoulder to cry on...I'm...grateful for the company." 

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