We finally got the news: Our in-house printing department will be disbanded in "circa three years". I assume that that means we have until the end of 2010, unless something else happens in the meantime
My own reaction is sadness. Several times as our boss's boss and a woman from our Human Resources department talked during the meeting we had yesterday after lunch, I teared up. I'm not worried about losing my job. It's the loss that bothers me - the loss of a really fun department with great co-workers and constantly interesting work, and the loss of being part of a division of three dozen wonderful people. I've worked here for over 10 years and the last couple of years have been wonderful.
We were told that since the company was cynical enough to cut a department that does its job well and efficiently and with a quality and cost that is as good as or better than comparable services, we must be cynical, too, and think of our own personal needs and wants and to hell with departmental loyalty. (Since we all have a lot of loyalty, that's a big pill to swallow.)
We're told that the good news is that we aren't being made redundant at this time and we have the luxury of about three years to sort out what we want to do next. HR will help with in-house training and maybe even sabbaticals and financial aid if anyone wants to go back to school to retrain. Nothing's guaranteed, but as the HR representative said, they have a very good track record for placing redundant employees and have yet to have to discharge anyone who's been downsized.
But there's still the bugaboo that if enough of us "rats" abandon ship before the three years are up, we may end up killing off the department ahead of schedule, affecting co-workers we do care about. We've also been told of some future plans a couple of other departments have, and they'd need some of the skills we currently have (we graphics designers would be of interest to the Corporate Branding department). It's nice to know, but without any definite dates or offers, we don't feel we can bank on those ideas.
All I know for sure is that there is no rush, but I will be conferring with HR this summer. I have no desire to actually leave the company, but a curiosity about what I can make happen has been awakened.
It is ironic: I have the job I have because I was once laid off and offered another position with my company, which I accepted. That job was doing the layout on user's manuals, and the training I got there is what led me into full-time graphics design. I just finished putting a 48-page full-color magazine to bed, and enjoyed every second of it.
One door closes, and another opens. The question really is: Will the next room I walk into bear any resemblance to the one I'm in now?