That word was uttered in this morning’s production meeting.
A few days ago I read an article in the paper about how our biggest customer, a common name that is one of the largest makers of construction and mining equipment in the world, is expecting business and sales to be slow for the immediate future due to the uncertainty of the worldwide economy. Combine that with the fact that we are still held hostage by a President who is very unfriendly to the kind of business our customer is in, I predicted hard times for our workplace in the near future.
Looks like the near future is nearer than I thought.
Don’t know at this point how extensive and deep the cuts are going to go. The usual procedure in the past is that volunteers are sought first, which there will be very few if any. Second goes the people with attendance issues, which there are quite a few of, and a group which fortunately I’m not a part of. Also out the door at this point, though unstated, would be those that have a bullseye planted on their backs for pissing off management, fairly or unfairly. After that they start going by seniority, something which I don’t have a great deal of. There are a couple people with higher service numbers in my work area and I have been flexible enough to learn a few other areas, but that may or may not be enough to save me if they plan on cutting a lot of people. And how deep they go is something we’ll likely never know until the supervisor and HR manager show up to start escorting us out the door.
So I have a fair chance of surviving this round of layoffs, provided that at this point they’re only trimming the hedges and not full-scale bush hogging. But if business continues to stay slow I am very definitely vulnerable. Also not out of the question are severely cut hours, something they did to my BIL a few years back before I got hired on.
Despite this not-so-good news, I’m not panicking. There seem to be more options this time around than there were last time I was unemployed for an extended length of time, and I have a somewhat better network of contacts. One of them got me an application a few weeks ago to someplace quite coveted in these parts, which I think I have a good excuse to fill out and turn in this weekend. Generally I feel like, somehow, things will work out for the best eventually. Maybe I’m just giving myself false bravado, maybe I just have a little more faith in things from being more active at church lately. Or maybe I’m refusing to give in to despair and depression, because I’ve been there too many times and want nothing to do with it’s hope and soul-sucking ways.
Or maybe I’m just sick and tired of my soul-sucking workplace and need a change, even if forced.
One thing we are doing now is taking full advantage of my benefits while I still have them. We’re already booking dental appointments for all of us, particularly Yes Dear who needs some extensive work done. Also I’m scheduling a visit to the eye doctor, because I need a new prescription for reading glasses desperately. My current benefits include a generous HRA allowance provided by work, and I want to take advantage of that while I still have it.
Because my hunch is that I may make it past this initial round of layoffs, but before the end of the year either there’s going to be another round that I won’t survive, or the plant will shutdown or be merged into another facility out of state.
Preparation. For hard times and opportunities. That’s what’s going to get us through this and keep going, rather than freaking out about unknown things that we have little control over and wailing in despair about how unfair it all is.