As I type this post it’s been one year to the moment that Ericsson notified all of the workers in Warrendale that we were no longer a “strategic location” and would be shutting us down. One month later I would receive notice that I was leaving in the first round and last day would be February 20th, the day before my birthday. Nice kick in the nuts eh?
I’ve never spoken of what exactly happened and how we were told so here you go.
I came in that day between 8-8:30am. I was wrapping up documentation on the Vista refresh that I had just completed and figured it to be an easy day. (I was the project coordinator for refreshing our North American locations from XP to Vista. Organizing collection and redistribution of machines plus transferring data and scrapping machines that couldn’t be used. Thankfully I had a great team working with me.) An email arrives that there is a mandatory meeting on the manufacturing floor around 9:30. I figure this is for a bonus or something cool. It would turn out I was WAY off.
I walk down with my manager Mike and we’re all huddled together as rumors start surfacing that something is going down. Are we getting sold again? (We were originally FORE Systems, sold to Marconi and then sold to Ericsson). One of the upper management members comes in and we could tell something was wrong as he’s shaken up. He informs us that Ericsson has decided to close the Warrendale office and we will be all laid off or given the chance to work in another location. “WTF! i have a kid on the way and my wife turned in her notice for the end of the year! wtf am I going to do!” We’re then told that everyone must go to the auditorium for further instruction.
Walking into the Sansom Auditorium was like attending a funeral for the sudden death of a loved one. People were crying, others were angry and confused. I was in shock. I started tweeting and IM’ing from the meeting that this can’t be happening. It was starting to make sense though why the Swedes were giving us so much grief for being proactive and hauling more ass than the rest of the US but whatev. There is a slide presentation but I half ass watch it. I don’t care what your reasoning is, you just stabbed me in the heart.
After the meeting we’re all told to go back to our desks and management would give us further instruction. We were told not to speak to anyone in the media, make posts or even speak of the layoffs. Naturally the local news media swarmed our office and wanted comments (this is where my despise for the Trib and WPXI stem from). I had decided to stay the whole day so I could start backing my data up when employees were swarming the windows. Those who did decide to leave at noon were being hounded for comments. People were in tears and the cameras kept rolling. Andy Gastmeyer was the absolute worse and to this day when I see him I get furious. He chased one employee from the door to his car and showed it on the news that night. I saw security come around the corner though not sure what happened.
The day ended and as I walked to my car a reporter from the Trib followed me from the steps all the way to my car asking for a comment. She would not go away and, I still hear this in my head “I’m a reporter, you owe it to me to tell your story”. I turned around with a few choice words on where she could put her tablet and walked away. Pissed me off enough I haven’t picked up an issue since.
I went home to have dinner with Lushie and a few beverages that night. I still came to work Friday and waited to see what would happen next. In order to get my severance package I would have to complete a list of tasks which you’ll read more about in February when I recap the last few days.
To all my former coworkers out there I will raise a pint tonight. This marked the beginning of the end of an incredible 10+ year ride through the corporate world and little did I know just how crazy this was going to become.