In the eight years that I've been working in Silicon Valley, I've seen 11 layoffs now. Generally they are sudden, unexpected, and fairly brutal, but this one caught even me by surprise. Usually I know what signs to look for, how much money the company has, etc. This time I only got wind of it late Friday night, and then it was only a rumor. By Monday morning it was shocking reality.
So I was going around handing out my card, shaking hands and telling people to keep in touch, and then my boss and his boss came over. I went to them and asked, "So, do I get a package?",
and found out that the answer, this time, was yes.
This caught me a litlte by surprise, because I'm the only Build Engineer at totallywacknetworkingstartup.com, and if you can't afford a Build Engineer to hold things together and keep some sanity with the code, then your company really has problems. Then it dawned on me just how much money they didn't have left at the company. I had kind of suspected that they would run out of cash, I just thought it wouldn't be for another few months or so. The company board freaked out after seeing how much cash was left and took the nuclear option with a massive layoff.
The first time I got laid off, in 2001, I was pretty upset about it, especially since it was a political screw job. This time I was pretty much at peace with it, especially since I hadn't been happy in that job for awhile. My boss was more upset about it than me, especially as I'm one of the few people he had to keep some sanity with the production build, and he didn't know I was outta there until morning. So I got the standard layoff speech, the paperwork, the final check, the COBRA insurance (they call it cobra because it can really bite you on the ass), and the usual assorted details. I was cool with it, I know the drill now. Just another day in the Valley.
So I packed up my stuff in my office, realizing that I had gotten sloppy with things. I try to never keep more than one box worth of books & stuff in my cubicle for just such a situation, but it took four boxes, and about 3 hours to clean out everything on my desktop PC from old E-mails and etc. At least they let me do that. People came by to express their shock and condolences, but with the work coming up that they're going to be stuck with, they needed the condolences more than I did.
Turned in my badge and signed the paperwork so I could get the miniscule package that they offered if I didn't sue; Ran to the bank with the final checks and deposited them before they bounce. I've had friends that have actually had that happen after getting laid off, after they get their final check, the bank tells them that the company ran out of money and their checks are no good.
Had a sudden, impromptu dinner at The Duke of Edinborough with friends, and we had a great time, and I got pretty good and sloshed. Thanks to Neil, Marcia, my brother Will, yippee, crocodile, and 3catsjackson for joining me on such short notice. I would have gotten more people together, but it was a surprise last minute thing, since I wasn't planning on being laid off yesterday. Got home and went to bed after the pitcher or two of ESB that I had, and woke up unemployed this morning.
So now I'm a free bird! The last two jobs have pretty much sucked the life out of me, and I want to get some of it back. I can work on some things that I've never had time to do (at least not since I was last laid off nearly four years ago) and find a job that I actually like this time. And now, I actually have time to post in my LiveJournal! Yay!