Thursday, January 03, 2008

Layoffs, Buyouts and Other American ... Opportunities

What To Think? – you ask …

It was just announced sometimes last night that Landmark Communications, our parent company, is about to have us sold. The news traveled from mouth to mouth, from computer screen to computer screen like wild fire.
Eyes were bulged, people were numb; some were even crying. They’re all sad and disapproving. I think they’re all mad at the institution one more time (like they were after the June layoffs) and at the leaders. They’re frustrated that they feel lied to, and cheated one more time by “the bottom line”. They are mad that they had to find out from another paper’s front page, or from the website.
I guess I am one of the “numb” ones. I am not even vehemently or otherwise disapproving.
There are a lot of speculations and that’s all they are, at this point in my book. A lot of folks are talking about "remember when such and such got bought and fired everyone", or "I was at Cone when we got bought out" or "I was at Sealy and usually what happens is: they push out everything here and implement everything they have; they might not even have Windows, they might work in some other system"... “the big wigs fall off first, then us, the ‘little people’ “… blah blah blah... We were around the table for an hour this morning, our team, making “if” statements like those. Staring into the void of the room. Thinking out loud. The point, please?!
Who’s going to buy us, the papers (meaning "me"), asks my friend who works for The Weather Channel, another Landmark property (granted, with better odds for a more advantageous sale than us, papers, who are losing money right now)?! “McClatchy ?? MAYBE Cox?? What if it's Media General??” – well, yeah: that’s it for now: ANYONE in the business can buy us at this point in time … or we can fold. Story of the market economy, I think. Story of any economy trying to stay strong and healthy and doing what they think it’s best. I am not wasting my energy on this… Yet!
I for one, of course, am interested in what happens to my future and to my career; I have invested more than 7 years in this, so it’s not indifferent to me what happens next. But I think for now, for me, it’s time to keep eyes and ears open and wait. And what I want or would like might happen or might not. I think it’ll take time and we’ll have options either way. And then, when we have real, touchable, palpable options, I will weigh and I will pick one. For me, this is nothing more than a learning experience.
My heart goes out to people who are either in key positions or who have invested 20+ years in this! To people with families and especially special needs (kids, old people to take care of, sick folks, etc). It is disheartening to see those who have made a life out of this, here, at the Paper and to see their empty stares looking at a blurry future – I will say that. I wish everyone luck and wonderful choices ahead!
Till then, I am reading the news. With no opinion. Unbiased, like a true media person should be, right?! Smiling. I don’t believe that myself.
I am just learning about democracy and a market economy still. And this is one of those opportunities. I come from a place where people go to college, find a job and retire from that job 30 years later. So, this is all new to me. But very expected. I don’t hate the leaders, I don’t hate whatever decision they’re going to make. In any kind of “household” there comes a time to remodel, move out, cut bills or just plain start all over. So, I am trying to understand which is it this time.
Still numb.

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