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I Will Succeed

Story ID:6394
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
Year:2010
Person:Me
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We knew something was up, when we received invitations to a company-wide
conference call. Three weeks before, we’d had our quarterly. Why were we having a
second meeting?

“I think we’re sold.” I said.

“What makes you think that?” A co-worker asked.

“Just look at the signs?” another added before I could. “They’ve been going
through the books with a fine-toothed comb for the last several months. We’ve all been
doing inventory. It’s obvious something is up.”

We gathered in the conference room. Someone produced plastic cups, ice, and a
bottle of good whiskey. “This could be the end for many of us. Today we toast the good
times and the bad. It’s been a pleasure.”

As one person dialed into the conference call, the rest of us passed the bottle
around, poured our drinks, and waited for the call to begin. We didn’t have to wait long.
The leader of the call came on and quickly announced the merger of our company with
another. In sixty to ninety days we employees would learn our fate.

It turned out to be sixty days. The closing would be on the last day of September.
On the first of October, we would learn our fate. It was sixty days of emotional swings.
Every day someone started the guessing game of who would be kept in a position and
who wouldn’t. It was tiresome. I tried to tune it out. I didn’t want to listen to it. I
preferred to stick my head in the sand and hoped it would just go away.

My boss and I worked hard to get our records in order for the merge date and
hoped we’d survive.

Soon after the announcement of merger was given, people from the other
company became visiting our office in Boise and all our other offices as well. There
were many meetings, none of which I was invited. A month before the closure, the
man who would be my boss, if I hung on, came to town. He spent a great deal of time
with my current boss and hardly said a word to me. It didn’t give me a good feeling.

One morning I got to the office early and he was already there. I took the
initiative to speak to him. He was polite, but distant. He gave no clue as to what my
future would be.

For sixty days my emotions ranged from a high of “I’ll be OK” to a low of “I’m
out”.. My emotions were a child on a swing – back-and-forth. If you stretch an elastic
band over-and-over, it weakens and breaks. I was close to breaking. I didn’t want to
think about the outcome, but every day the topic came up. “Just stop!” I thought to
myself.

October first came. Two gentlemen from the new company came to our office
and shut themselves in the conference room. We learned the closing of the merger deal
would be at 10 AM our time. We pretended to work. Our minds were not productive, as
we waited our fate.

The hour of decision passed. We learned the lawyers on both sides disagreed with
the wording of the contract. The signing was delayed for three hours. I watched as one of
men from the “ax team”, as I called them, stepped outside. He smoked a cigarette, paced,
and talked on his cell phone. Like me, he wanted it to be over. He had a difficult task. I
didn’t envy him. He would have to tell people their jobs were over.

At 1 PM the deal was signed and the slaughter began. One-by-one we were taken
to an office and told our future. They started with the guys in the operations center. They
monitor the fiber network for troubles and take calls from customers whose circuits are
down. I didn’t think they would be safe. The new company had their own operation
centers.

I was correct. They were given an average of three months before their job would
end.

Greg passed. He was one of the “ax men”. “Mike, you ready?” he asked me.

“Let’s get it over with.” I replied and followed him into his temporary office.

I sat across from him. “Mike, as you
know, when companies merge, decisions
have to be made. Some people have to go. Unfortunately, you’re one of them. I’m sorry
…”

I barely heard the rest of his words. His voice was the sound of Charlie Brown’s
teacher. “Waa waa blaa blaa whaaa!”

My ears refused to work. I accepted the documents he handed me, shook his hand
and told him I understood. I really didn’t, but its business. You don’t burn a bridge by
getting upset. I acted professionally.

I wasn’t alone with my fate. Out of twenty-four people in our office, only six
were offered permanent positions. Some, like me, were let go immediately. The others,
including my boss, were given, on average, three months time.

For the next week, I sat at home and tried to focus on the future, but all I did was
sit and stare at nothing. Today, I decided, I am not going to sit. My pity time is up. It’s
time to start my journey of recovery. To start, I did what I always do. I wrote about it.
Writing helps me see a clear picture. I looked inside, saw the emotions and what they
were doing to me. I am relieved to know my fate and can now focus on my next goal.

I will succeed.

Michael T. Smith

Note: During the past year, I have posted many prayer requests from people like me.
They too lost their jobs. Today I ask for your prayers for myself.