July 30, 2011

Stow, MA. January 20, 2009

I’m glad I have a picture (albeit not a particularly good one) of this, the most surreal day of my professional life. There’s my beloved friend Mike on the left, watching the Inauguration Day television coverage with our colleague Jesse in a conference room near all our cubicles. Why surreal? Because as the cheers and excitement rose from the Obama well-wishers in Washington, DC, the corporation where we were employed was phoning dozens of our colleagues, summoning them to their managers’ offices, laying people off until some departments, like ours, were reduced by up to twenty percent. A telephone would ring in someone’s cube...and shock waves would go through both them and those around them. Those fingered were supervised as they hurriedly packed their belongings and were ushered out the door. Those who remained did so in an almost underwater state of slow motion as rumors flew all around. When the dust cleared, there were many tears, many whisperings, many friends gone. The television crowds continued to cheer.

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