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Lizzy Borden Took an Axe… and So Did Texas Instruments

“Each of us must face adversity at different times in our lives and we must deal with it in our own way…” Wilbur Smith’s character Centaine De Thiry in his book, Power of the Sword.

Lay-offs are necessary. When a ship is sinking  sometimes you have to throw a few people overboard in order to save the majority of the crew. I get it, I just don’t like being the one “Jonah’d” – I’d prefer to stay out of the ocean or the belly of a whale.

Yes, I got the axe. I was one of the 1600 people that got let go from TI on Tuesday. I loved my boss and my teammates, and TI is one of the best places to work, but I wasn’t happy there – I was comfortable.

It was sort of surreal yesterday being caught up in something that I had just seen the night before on the news. On Monday my boss got let go and I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it, if she could get cut, then I had a feeling I might get cut too.

Tuesday morning I showed up to work to a hallway filled with security and a cube farm full of whispers. I sat at my computer with a pounding heart and I opened up my email.  The first message read, “Dick  just got let go…”  Dick was one of my newest team mates.  We were all like prairie dogs poking our heads out listening, expectant, hopeful… scared.

“Eddie, can I talk to you?” Robin materialized in my cube like an apparition. Her face was ghostly pale . I pictured her as a much more attractive grim reaper – except her blade wasn’t a long scythe or sickle, but a warm smile that cut deep, slicing me slowly, but still leaving me scarred.

I chuckled.  It was more a gasp from my lungs that had just been punctured, but at the last minute I decided to literally, for once in my life, laugh in the face of adversity.

As I walked down the hall it seemed that I was being marched to an execution chamber. People I’d worked with for almost 7 years looked away and wouldn’t meet my eyes. The eyes I did see were pooled with tears and sorrow.

“This has to be hard for you…” I said to Robin as she walked me to her office.

“You know, it is surprising” Robin said, her voice barely a whisper,  “how people that show compassion during hard times.” 

We made it to her office. The door was closed behind me. We talked about severance packages and expectations and an hour later I was in my Honda Pilot with all my office belongings securely stowed away in the back.

As I drove away the wintry gray day mirrored the gloomy pall that seemed to linger in the halls of TI.

I felt a bit of mania at the thought of “What now?” I was delirious. Like a long-time prisoner I was happy to be free from my chains and at the same time terrified of my freedom. 

Later that day I got a few emails that were work related on my BlackBerry, “Eddie, I can’t make the 2:00 meeting, but I’ll have my data for you on the server.” It was R.S. and he was talking about the RCA project. What a snore fest I thought and felt relived that I no longer had to be burdened with that problem. I looked at my calendar and cancelled all the rest of my meetings. I sent out a farewell email to my friends and then I posted an update of my status on Facebook: I got laid off today, but don’t worry your pretty heads, God is in control.

After that, I got a near record number of comments, emails, and phone calls of support. It was awesome.

Day 2 of being jobless I had friends telling me of job openings at their work. Friends told me I could come to their houses for free meals and of course my parents said that I could always come back home.

Last night I went to bed not with a heavy heart filled with anxiety and dread, but with a contentment of knowing that my friends and family love me no matter what and I will never be hungry or homeless.

This lay off might be the best thing that has ever happened to me. If TI hadn’t laid me off I might have woken up 10 years from now still sitting in my drab cubicle, bored out of my mind, and regretting not taking a chance to do something better with my life.

So to everyone that has been supportive of me, I want to say thanks. Keep me in your prayers and check back in to Posted Note  as I give daily updates on my progress.

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