Outsourcing? You Mean Downsizing!
I’ve decided to keep a log … b/c there’s nothing else I can do but try to be strong and remain positive.
We rec’d the news late Tuesday afternoon, two separate meetings, both equally upsetting. Dow Jones will outsource Wall St Journal Radio advertising sales to Westwood One. As Kelly spoke and as I tried to decipher this information, all I could feel was anxiety. I remained calm for the most part. Didn’t say a word. Then a haze formed in front of my eyes. I could barely make out the two figures that were Kelly and Paul. I heard what she was saying but I knew I needed to get out of there. The room felt small and tight. Shifting in those oh so uncomfortable conference room chairs, I thought ‘that’s my group they’re laying off, I need to get out of here, NOW!’ I didn’t look into anyone’s eyes lest I start to voice my thoughts… NO, YOU’RE MAKING A MISTAKE !! IT WAS JUST GETTING GOOD! Deb didn’t move at first either, but as soon as I started to shift I think it’s when she realized that she did need to move, needed to express herself. Lord knows my mind was racing… I leaned forward, my eyebrows raised, hand covering my mouth, nostrils wide. I leaned back, shifting ever so slight almost afraid to disturb the dark cloud descending over us. It was so unsettling. Then she had to recap for Eunice who entered the meeting late. I knew I couldn't sit still much longer. I just wanted to run, run to Brigitte, Bryan and Arthur. I wanted to demand that Kelly rethink this. But the decision was made, the deed done. I had no voice in this corporate world.
Tuesday night I couldn’t leave, didn’t want to leave… I’ve worked with these people since early 1997, we’d been through moves, boss changes and 9/11 and we were still okay. We were still okay.
It’s a family whether or not you realize it. Any office worker knows that the people you work with become a sort of support system, even if your colleagues don’t realize it. The little things I remember… how Arthur changed the way I said ask… as a Puerto Rican growing up in East Harlem and the Bronx, you tend to say axe instead of ask. That little post it note, a reminder for me: “Ask, not axe.” It worked. I no longer say “I need to axe you something.” And how could I forget 9/11, he opened his home to me as Tristan and I walked uptown and we literally stumbled upon Greene Street after running north from Canal. The first tower’s crumbling sounded like a bomb and somehow my brain registered his address.
How the year of Tristan’s birth was very tiring (as it is for all first-time moms) and I didn’t think I could return to college… that one little line from Bryan telling me ‘just do it’ while we were coming back from some client meeting or event. That was all it took for me to decide I would re-enroll at Hunter and I did so the next day. Although it took years I finally obtained by Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude, Spring 2003. It’s something I’m very proud of. Brigitte… who’s positive energy lights up a room when things seem to go wrong. She’s strong and bright and is so blessed. Ken Alandt… my confidente, my rock in this network radio world. His stories crack me up and I laugh out loud each time. Some of the best advice I’ve received this past few years have come from him. Jay Colon: a master story teller and so full of life. He’ll be okay, that’s an easy thing to see… he’ll be just fine.
It was 6:20pm when Eunice and I left the office on Tuesday. Paul, Art, Nancy and Bryan were the ones to remain behind a little longer. Strange how the next morning initially I couldn’t muster the energy to get ready, but once I was on my way, the train couldn’t move fast enough. I wanted to talk to them, be with them right then and there. It was like a morgue on Wednesday. So quiet. Ken Martin is vacationing in Peru so he doesn’t even know yet. Janie left for North Carolina to be with her mom who had a heart attack over the past weekend. Paul left on a flight to Detroit to speak with Ken Alandt personally. Nancy’s at home preparing for the NAB. Brigitte just happened to have the day off initially. It was such a long, drawn out day. I worry about Art… he’s a brilliant man, our BIG FISH. He knows everyone in the business, but is that an advantage? Brigitte just came back from maternity leave and they just bought the house in July. She needs that second income. It was dead dead dead today. No one really speaking, mostly heard Debbie working on calling affiliates. No laughter, no movement.
Today is Thursday, it’s the same thing… me, Eunice, Bryan, Art. Deb’s at home, Paul is in SB or NAB, Nancy at the NAB. Janie and Ken on vacation. Eunice is very very upset. She’s trying to keep it together to no avail. That closet has become her visitation room. I feel numb. This is the third time I realize for a major change (UPSET for me) at Dow Jones. First it was Sept-Oct 1996 when DJ made an attempt at a local television station WBIS and sent WSJ TV (me, Margaret & Steve) to 1155 AOA from WFC. Then DJ sold WBIS and WSJTV went to CNBC. God must like me J. A job opened up in radio w/ my old friends. They brought ad sales in-house and brought me on in Feb 1997. My pregnancy went on better from there. It remained status quo for a while. Then 9/11. We were shipped off to 1155 for a week, then to Harborside. What a nightmare. It was awful having the perfect view of the river w/ Ground Zero right there. The Harborside news people on the south side didn’t like us. Were we a plague to be ignored? Frenchie and her cursing… but she wins prizes for Dow Jones. It was awful. We were so grateful to be out of there 14 months later. Dec 2002. On the day of our move the blizzard swept in as if to carry us out. But we were stuck. Our equipment would not make it to NY in that weather. I remember when Paul asked if we wanted to stay there a few more days. I quickly volunteered to commandeer the NY office w/ the computer and phone that I had access to thanks to good people at 1155. We wanted out of Harborside so badly.
It was here at 1155 on the 8th floor that we finally found a home. And it is here that we sit, sadly, worrying about our colleagues and what the future brings for us.