The Layoff Carousel Goes Round Again

In 1999, I had been working for an animation studio for just over half a year. The Cartoon Network had been doing a campaign with us that ended over Christmas, and although they threw us a fantastic open bar party, my old friend Brian accurately described it as a parting gift. The work dried up, and so did my burgeoning animation career.

In the summer of 1999, I had been struggling so long I’d needed money from my parents to make rent. I schmoozed my way into a job at an audio studio with a small graphics department. I learned all the software they had quickly and won them a few accounts. They were paying me a very small salary with the promise that IF they decided to hire me, they MIGHT offer me more. I couldn’t live on it but I wanted the experience. At the end of the summer, on the day they offered me a job at no higher rate, I had already gotten a job at IBM.

In the winter of 2001, I had been working at IBM two years. There were a lot of young designers working there on e-learning projects, and I was the head of their very first foray into Flash. E-learning didn’t turn out to be a viable product for them after all. All of those designers lost their jobs, and as the experimental area, I was the first. I had no option but to go back to Texas and move in with my parents, devoting myself full-time to a contract I’d been doing with a manufacturing company.

In the spring of 2003, the company I’d helped start couldn’t make payroll. The manufacturing firm had canceled their contract with us, and I couldn’t make my bills. I had my partner buy me out. With nothing in my pocket and not a soul waiting for me, I took a flight to Seattle and started over.

In the fall of 2003, I’d been getting some hours at an internet media firm off Lake Union. There weren’t enough hours to live on. I’d was looking again.

In the winter of 2004, I’d been working for Microsof for three months. I was coordinating with corporations on their Flash ads, sometimes taking them as is, but usually modifying them severely to meet Microsoft’s strict file size requirements. The contract ended. I called the internet media studio and got enough hours to keep me going for awhile, but that work eventually dried up. At the end of that March, I remember sitting on the kitchen floor and wondering if I was ever going to find something that would last a little while.

It’s now the winter of 2008, and Wyndham is going through a round of layoffs so large that I am sure I will be out of work. The first Wyndham layoff I went through happened a few months after I started, but it wasn’t me that time. The second one was a little over a year ago, but I agreed to relocate to Florida. The third time was this last October, and that was the most difficult of all, because of all the people that resent me so much now for surviving. I will never understand that. That’s an attitude that could only come from someone who hasn’t had a career like mine, one that ebbs and flows like waves in the sea. So now I expect it will be me too, but some kind people, my real friends, who have sent kind words shouldn’t worry. For me this is an old story, not even an interesting one. Jobs come and go. And maybe, as someone once said, there is a little relief to be found in there somewhere.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

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