Saturday, November 1, 2008
In the past week, Design Associates laid off another 22 people. A couple of major projects, and the developers who were funding those projects, went on hold. Our office has gone from around 150 people to around 95 in the past year, 33 of those gone in the past 30 days. Kellye was a victim of this most recent round, as well as few other licensed architects and some interns and even landscape architects and interior designers.
It's bad, y'all. I dont know how it is where you are, but it's bad here.
Kellye and I went to lunch right after he put a few things in his car. "Y'know," he mused, "maybe it's denial, but I'm really not hurt or upset right now. I've been really bored and underemployed for the past three or so weeks, and I've been thinking I need to do something. So now, I guess I have to do something." He smiled faintly. "I've gotten calls from a couple of contractors I used to work with, looking for an architect to do some minor residential work. Maybe I'm their guy, now that I have some time free. Or I'll start my novel. Or work on my blog. My wife just got an excellent job as an RN at ______Hospital, and we're used to being at one income for the past 18-plus months, so we can do it again for a little while, y'know? I feel bad for her, but not for me."
We clinked our cups of hot tea in agreement. I know Kellye will be fine, though I'll miss hanging out with him at work while I'm extremely underemployed, but I know it's all good. I feel worse for the interns that weren't making that much to begin with and now they're making nothing. Some of them may have to move home again, and some of them may end up getting small retail jobs, like working at Target or something. I wish them all the best and offered any help I could to the ones I knew well. I went home and tried not to cry.
The next day, the office was a ghost town. Derek had been gone to a punchlist all day and missed the action. The color nearly drained from his face when we filled him in. Norman, Ingrid, and I went to lunch at a local (inexpensive) sandwich place and spent at least half of it just sitting together and being quiet. We just had to get out of the office and get away from the sounds of quiet desperation bouncing like bats squeaking against the cavernous, well-designed walls and soffits in our big, open, half-empty office. After lunch, I went to Alex, my big-big boss.
"Alex, seriously, should I be worried? Should I just...go now?"
Alex shook his head. "No, no...we're laying off from the bottom up; there are other people who will go before you. We're trying, really trying, and I know you're not busy. The best thing you can do right now is get good at Revit, because when the work comes back, there may not be anyone to help you do the drawing."
Fair enough. That's how I did Wheatlands. I didn't have anyone to help me do the drawing for most of it, so I did it. No sweat. But it still left me creeped out. I later heard from Norman, who heard it from a local major contractor, that the Denver office of a nationwide architecture firm at which Guy worked in between DA and Acme, where he is now, is closing this year. There's just not a whole hell of a lot of work.
We had already told Ethel that we'd go to her house last night for dinenr with her and her hubby, but I really didn't want to. I've been feeling like I've been coming down with a cold or the flu or something on and off, and I really didn't feel like hanging around her since she's been pretty bitter and cranky after getting laid off from DA in September. After spending the night with her and her husband, who were both in bad moods regarding the economy and jobs, and who also nearly had a fight in front of us about her spending habits, Guy was in a really depressed mood on the way home. He was at the point where he was talking about "what if we both lose our jobs and can't sell the condo" and "should we sell the condo now" and so on. I didn't have time or energy for this--I had to help Dame Judith with a class on Saturday morning and needed to be in a good mood for that. I was already not going to get a lot of sleep, so can we please not pile more onto this bad mood?
So, I learned a few things this week. One, my employers really really do value me; two, if they lay me off, I don't want to be there anyway; three, I don't need to hang out with Ethel a whole lot; four, Guy needs a nap. No matter what happens, Guy and I are going to be fine. We've taken good care of ourselves, financially and otherwise, and we have plenty of time (at our ages) to survive whatever life throws our way.
I'm going to go read and snuggle with Maddy.
Posted by Mile High Pixie at 5:35 PM