Welcome to the Real World

So, as many of you may know, just before Thanksgiving I got a job as lab coordinator for the introductory lab courses in my old department at CU. I took the job, since it’s like a dream and my last day is today (January 6). However, the celebratory mood of moving on to something more to my liking was horribly disrupted yesterday morning. I’d like to hear your thoughts and maybe, if possible, get some help.

Our company is small (~70 people), but is owned by a very large multinational, Eppendorf. Yesterday it was announced that Eppendorf had sold us to Qiagen. That’s all well and good, save that 20 people from R&D are being laid off at the end of January and the remaining 6 at the end of March. The rest of the company (manufacturing, accounting, etc) will be laid off as early as the end of January and as late as December. Needless to say, everybody feels betrayed and scared. It also turns out that they could have warned us earlier, but decided not to. Qiagen told us to take the day off, so everybody did. We went out for lunch and beers. I’ve rarely felt so personally saddened or affected by such a big thing as I did yesterday. And I feel like a traitor, abandoning ship, even though everybody is happy for me- and happy that there’ll be one less person to compete with.

Anyway, the main point of this was to bitch. The secondary point was, if you know if any jobs in research, quality control, IT, accounting, manufacturing, human resources, finance, or anything unrelated but interesting, please let me know. Many of my co-workers are willing to relocate to other parts of the country, so don’t be shy.

8 Responses to “Welcome to the Real World”

How awful! My heart goes out to all your co-workers. Even with my little time out in the real world, I can’t imagine the shock at being laid off…

But congratulations on your new opportunity!

Mallorn - January 6th, 2006 at 8:44 pm

All I can say is I’m glad that you got out before the ship sunk. It’s sad that this is happening more and more. To some degree, it’s “business as usual”, but I think the concept of not providing for and cherishing the old workers as important goods in and of themselves is a new and disturbing one. Workers in an increasing number of jobs have become commoditized– held on to only until a cheaper option exists, with no commitment from their employer.

Case in point, my father’s old company: Gates Rubber Co. Formerly a US company, a few years back they were acquired by a British firm. The firm then proceeded to gut them, down-sizing, out-sourcing, and reducing the scope. All this while expecting the remaining employees to handle the workload left by their departed colleagues for the same pay as before. It finally made my Dad so unhappy (along with a succession of new bosses who didn’t know the work half as well as the employees) that he retired early. And just in time– the project he was working on was pushed to a new, unreasonable deadline, and the whole thing has become a total snafu.

That’s why I always enjoy buying from places like Costco, which wins awards every year for treating their employees well and providing good benefits packages. Or the Container Store, which is usually ranked #1. Beyond the bottom line, we all need to think about how our choices affect the lives of others.

… Yeah, I rant. Read the website title. 😉

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any job opportunities in my area. But I’ll keep it in mind when I visit work on Monday– there’s often fliers and the like around the Chemistry building.

Paradoxdruid - January 7th, 2006 at 10:27 am

I’m really sorry to hear what happened. It sounds like a pretty bad situation, especially with people not not knowing about it until later. I’m sure having a bit more time to prepare for this and look for new jobs could have saved people a lot of problems.

You really have nothing to feel bad about yourself though. The job at CU is a really great opportunity for you, and more like what you’ve been wanting to do anyway.

mcmillan - January 8th, 2006 at 10:31 am

I know I shouldn’t feel bad. And now that I’m here at work and starting, I feel a lot better about it. I just wish that I could make it all better for my co-workers. And, Paradox, I’m sorry that your dad went through similar problems. I also think it’s ridiculous how little value many companies and industries place on people and their experience.

Also, Jim and I just activated our Costco membership. I love the store and I love their employment policies. Could you post a link of the list that the Container Stor always tops? I’d like to have a look and try to support other good stores- that aren’t evil like my old company.

ShortSpeedFreak - January 9th, 2006 at 8:46 am

Something…disturbing…happened in my office today.

I got an email saying my boss’s boss’s boss (it’s just like Office Space around here — I have 6 or 7 bosses) wanted to see our whole group becuase he had some news to share. We all walked in and he told us that one of the people in our department had been found dead in his apartment last night. I didn’t know this individual, nor did anyone in my group, but his situation really struck a chord in me. He was only 24, had only been working here for a year (first job out of college) and his family lived up in Chicago. He didn’t show up for work on Monday and Tuesday and his boss assumed that he was taking a sick day. But when he didn’t show up yesterday either, his boss looked up his address and drove by to see if he was okay. The kid’s car was there but no one answered the door. His boss called the police and they contacted the kid’s mom who had also been trying to get in touch with her son for the last 3 days. They called in the fire dept to look through a window (they can’t legally break down the door without probable cause) and saw him in there. No one’s been told how he died.

This is going to sound depressing, so no one call the psychiatric help line on me ;-), but when I first moved out here, I often wondered how long it would take someone to realize I was in trouble (if I fell off a chair or suffocated in my HUGE bed or something). It really disturbed me when I realized that no one would notice aside from my mom, and she was too far away to be able to help. It’s both reassuring and scary at the same time to realize that I have an answer to that question now: about 3 days before people at work started wondering. Reassuring because someone would notice, but scary too because this wasn’t some hypothetical question!

Hey, the website is all about rants, so here’s mine. 😉 I no longer really think about this sort of thing, but the fact that some of my worst nightmares actually happened to someone is a bit disturbing. I guess that’s just one more consequence of living in the “real world”. What happened to the days when our nightmares were about reanimated skeletons and zombies? Oh wait, I still have those too 😛 Stupid zombies.

Mallorn - January 12th, 2006 at 10:58 am

Boy, this is one depressing thread, huh? 😛

Mallorn - January 12th, 2006 at 10:59 am

Wow, Colleen.

Honestly, that’s a nightmare that I’ve had as well. Heck, because of concerns like that, I have a bright yellow card prominently displayed in my wallet that says “In An Emergency, contact…” and has my parents’ info on it.

I feel sorry for the man who died, and (though perhaps a small consolation) kind of hope it was an horrid accident, and not a deliberate act of desperation. Or maybe that’s worse. Hmm.

Now at least, I can rest easier, since I’m no longer living alone! But before then, I often wondered… I can be reclusive, so I think no friends would really question for a week or so. Work-wise, my schedule is pretty flexible, but I DO have a co-worker/friend who lives nearby… I’d guess 4 to 5 days, probably.

Does anyone else ever get that fear?

As to the list of companies that treat their employee’s well, I’ll have to dig it up…

Paradoxdruid - January 12th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

No, you’re definitely not alone. I think we all feel that way sometimes. Especially when doing something stupid, like oh say, changing smoke alarm batteries on a 9ft high ceiling that are about 0.5 inch out of your reach 😛

Personally, I’m relieved to hear you wishing he died some in some horrid accident too — I find myself hoping the same. I’m not sure why. Maybe because suicidal tendencies could have been identified and helped? Maybe because the fact that someone was unhappy enough to kill himself for (maybe) no other reason than that he was living far away from friends and family in a big, scary new world, is a situation similar to many of ours? Anyone else care to psychoanalyze?

Yea, I know. I SHOULD be working 😛 Ah, the cubicle life!

Mallorn - January 12th, 2006 at 1:18 pm

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