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The Elephant’s Child

we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension

The day after the SOTU address, after the President of the United States pretty much told American scientists that we were not up to Chinese standards, it snowed in New Jersey.  I looked out the window at the snow falling thick and fast and gauged my chances of getting to work with my malfunctioning power steering.  Nah gah happen.  Sigh.  I hooked up my work computer, logged in with my SecureID, and checked my email…

And there, under five or six other messages, was an invitation from the local head honcho to meet him in the cafeteria at 10am.  Uh-oh.  That’s not good.  I stared at it.  WTF?  I clicked it again.  Reread the message.  It was unmistakeable but I didn’t want to believe it.  My supervisor was on vacation.  My director was unreachable.  Nobody in my department available.  In desperation, I called my previous supervisor.

“What?? You got the message to meet in the cafeteria?  It’s not good.  I’m sorry, it’s not a good sign.”

My blood froze.  I am the only employed person in my family with health insurance and steady income for Brooke.  I couldn’t think. So, I did the next logical thing.

I called Katiebird.  I asked her to stay with me until I knew what was going on. I  tried desperately to find someone in my department who was asked to the same meeting.  Unfortunately, I found someone.  It was my lab partner.  She couldn’t disguise the panic in her voice.  I called Katiebird again.  We waited.  Katiebird stayed with me.  My lab partner called back.  It was confirmed.  Our jobs were eliminated.



My department head finally called me at home.  The HR rep was with him.  They broke the news to me officially.  I was stunned.  My lab partner and I are beyond busy.  Dumping our workload onto the rest of our department seems incomprehensible.   I think there was an, “Oh, shit, what did we do?!” moment from some of the decision makers on our behalf.  But the problem with lay offs is that once the decision has been made to “separate” you, it’s hard to walk it back.  There have been some not insignificant efforts to figure out a way to keep us but they have all met a brick wall.  The bottom line was met, we were part of meeting the reduction goal, we are scheduled to go.  We have about a month and a half left.  It feels like a death sentence.

It’s times like these that tell you who your friends are.  I can tell you that Katiebird and DandyTiger immediately came to my emotional rescue.  I am eternally grateful to both of them.  They have checked in since that day and haven’t let me down.  They both came up with great ideas to see me through.  Right now, I am so busy at work, irony of ironies, I don’t have time to pursue them but I know that I will.  I’d recommend Katiebird to anyone who is getting laid off but in these times, her line would be constantly busy.

I know that the loss of our jobs was not performance related.  Both my lab partner and I had very good performance appraisals.  We busted our butts in the lab last year and it showed.  We solved a previously unknown structure and pushed ourselves to learn new things.  It was not unusual to find us in the lab at 9pm, waiting for a gel to finish so we could plan our work for the next day.  The weird thing is that in spite of all that has transpired since that day in January, I still love my job.  The loss of income is painful but the loss of doing the thing that has become like an addiction to me in the last year is even more painful.  It’s so frustrating to lose something just when it’s starting to get really interesting.  I will never ever have a job as good or as satisfying as this one.  I will never have a lab partner as amiable and hardworking and intelligent and generous as the one I have.  We both feel it deeply.  Separation means more than losing the tether to your income, it means losing a productive and valuable working relationship.

When I think back to that SOTU address, I’m beyond angry.  This president and this Congress have no idea what this country is losing.  I am one of thousands of American R&D professionals who have lost their jobs since the era of mergers and acquisitions went into overdrive in the 1990’s.  The reason you don’t find young Americans going into science, engineering and math is not because the Chinese are so much better than we are.  It’s because there is no future in it.  There’s no career path.  No steady income.  No security.  Just a pile of underwater stock options and a pink slip after years of study and extremely challenging work.  The suits will tell you we aren’t productive but those of us who have been there know the truth.  This generation of American scientists has been blighted by the endless pursuit of meeting the bottom line.  It’s no way to do research.  In fact, it is almost impossible to do research under these circumstances and it has been like this since I started working in the business two decades ago.   Free lancing or starting our own businesses in this area of research is not really an option.  We need the overhead of a corporation.  Yes, believe it or not, sometimes you just can’t get around the corporate model.  So, I join my colleagues, “experienced research professionals” all, in the oblivion of separation from what we love best- the wonder and delight of studying nature and the dedication to cure disease.

I would like to say that I am grateful to my company for all of the years that I was able to learn and work for them.  The great majority of the people I have worked with are wonderful and talented professionals.  I wouldn’t call myself a “disgruntled employee”.  If anything, I am very gruntled and will milk my last days at work for all they are worth.  They are worth it.  Every last one of them.  I count the hours with anticipation and dread but mostly ” ‘satiable curtiosity”.

May you all be so lucky.

92 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by puma, mbfromhb. mbfromhb said: The Elephant’s Child « The Confluence http://goo.gl/KVjZ3 […]

  2. I am so sorry, RD!!!!!!!

    It is so terribly unfair that it is the people doing actual work, not those responsible for management, who are cut in these situations. And your point is entirely correct: opportunities and career paths for scientists and engineers in this country are limited. The President does not understand how deeply he insulted so many hard working, brilliant Americans. I thought that part of the SOTU was particularly bad.

    I was laid off last Summer when I was working over 200 hours a month and had excellent reviews. I was deeply shocked. It was not merit-based, but that is cold comfort. Since then, there have not been many jobs available in my field at my level — and no one will consider me for positions requiring less experience. Luckily, I have savings and resources. But the experience is extremely difficult. I know others who are 99’ers who have at least 2 degrees, some with 4. (Even legal positions are being outsourced overseas.)

    I know how bad things have been in your field. But after several dry months, the job market is beginning to crack open up a bit. I hope that means the worst is over, but if it seems dry in your area of the country, you should look everywhere. It is hard moving but I wish I had started looking outside my state earlier. I know you must be in shock, but don’t forget to secure references, update your resume, and maintain a list of your contacts.

    My very best wishes that you and your lab partner find something absolutely wonderful. I know how bad things are in your field but we need people like you working on real problems. I am not optimistic about this President’s plans but if there is more funding provided for R&D, perhaps that can create opportunities. In addition to industry, don’t write off university positions. It used to be more rare, but I know people who moved from industry to a university setting.

    My thoughts, sympathy and best wishes are with you.


    • Thanks, djmm. I have a “plan”. It’s going to mean a radical change to my lifestyle and Brooke’s prospects but we will get through this.
      I hope.
      And yes, I have already done and considered all of the things you suggested but thanks for suggesting them all the same. I feel like I am in good company. 😉

      • RD, I reread Your Money or Your Life by Robbins/Dominguez (updated version less hippie era) to wrap my head around what I really need. For example, I won’t require anywhere near 85% of my current income to retire. It is the most life changing book on personal finances out there IMO.

  3. I am so sorry to hear this news. Losing a loved job is always so terribly hard, but in this economy it’s even harder. Best of luck in the days and months to come.

  4. RD,
    I, too, am very sorry and sad this happened to you. Best of luck from me as well and my hopes that things turn out well for you.

  5. I am so sorry. I know that it’s little comfort, my thoughts are with you. I hope the silver lining comes soon.

  6. Good luck to all of you in that situation. I don’t know what else to say.

    By the time the moronic misruling class figures out that monomaniacal devotion to the bottom line is bad even for the bottom line, it will be too late.

    OTOH, that might be good news for the Global South: If the USA goes bankrupt, it won’t be able to sustain an imperial military machine any longer, and so local kleptocracies in the Global South will no longer be able to depend on Uncle Sam to save their worthless hides from the wrath of their serfs.

  7. The misruling class wants the feudal system, only with smart phones this time.

  8. Wall Street killed the goose that laid the golden egg. The next time you run into that Wharton MBA PTA mom in the supermarket, deck her.

  9. Let me tame my anger long enough to give you my condolences. If your radical plan involves emigrating to France, I am here for you.

  10. I’m so, so sorry RD! That’s just awful.

    Like everyone else here I wish there was something I could do or suggest to help – just like you yourself empathically tried to help your former colleagues having been laid off.

    I’m sure you know all – and at least a lot more than me – about firms in your field, but never the less may I suggest you check out Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk, and Novozymes.

    It comes as no surprise to me that katiebird and Dandy Tiger have been there for you, but it’s still wonderful to know, even as no one following your blog would ever doubt that they would both have your back.

    All the best, to you RD, to Brooke and the BFF … and from a purely egotistical perspective: I hope you keep on blogging!

    (And if there was a “Don’t Like” option, I would click it on this post.)

  11. (Just posted a comment, with three links, that disappeared. Hope it can be rescued, please?)

  12. You are in my thoughts. It’s hitting bottom here in upstate NY, too. I work in the legal field and am down to 3 hours a day, paying my own insurance. It’s not easy, but at least I have something.

    Keep positive (I know it’s hard). One door closes, another door opens. Change is hard, but it can also be the catalyst that sends you on your way to something wonderful.

    • Cyn that has always been my philosophy too – always a glass half full but so many people are hurting now that I’m beginning to wonder if there is even a glass anymore! But I take a deep breathe and remember my grandmother who lost her youngest son and husband in a 2 week period and had to raise her 2 small children by farming and picking cotton. She survived and lived to be almost 99. RD I’m so sorry. I’m sending positive thoughts your way as are many others. Good luck

  13. This is one more reminder of the sickening irony of the president and congress, who are always talking about focusing on “creating jobs”…when they can’t do anything intelligent enough to keep the jobs we already have. I guess their real priority, like getting women down on the farm again, just gets in the way of that goal.

    I’m not worried about your ability to get through this, RD. I already know you are resourceful, logical and highly capable of rising above this unfair blow. But what is happening to you is one more reminder of the truth about what’s going on, and the truth is, things are getting worse, not better –no matter how much smoke DC blows in people’s faces.

    I’m very sorry this happened to you. You don’t deserve it.

  14. RD. I was laid off from an environmental company that I busted my but for, for 10 years. It happened in December of 2008, just after the bottom dropped out of the economy. Even though all of us were waiting for the ax to fall, when it finally came, the anger at the incompetence of management and the cowardice of management, flowed. Your anger is intensified because you weathered the storm and beat the odds with more work than you could handle.

    During that time I made the decision to not burn my bridges and not vent to sympathetic coworkers. I took my benefits and made myself available for special projects and part-time work with that same company – use your specialized experience and connections (networking is key now). Give yourself some time now to think things through before doing anything, then just turn into a machine – irons in the fire.

    As of December 2010, I was reinstated to full-time status with my old company as the dumb-ass that took the path of least resistance with me was fired by next the next regime.

    Good luck and take care of yourself.

  15. I am so sorry, RD.

  16. oh RD I am so sorry . Although I sense that science and research is your heart and soul, I hope you know you are also an amazing writer.

    This post belongs in the New Yorker, it is that good. And it will be truly appreciated by so many people-

    • jjk, you said it first — and I second it! RD, if you wrote a book, I would buy it. And I am not alone.

  17. ((cyber-hug))

  18. Truly terrible news which I am sure you will weather well. As long as you have a plan, keep to it and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  19. Unbelievable. “I’m sorry” is an insufficient phrase, but it’s all one can offer.

    Are you beginning to suspect that the people running this country WANT it to fail?

  20. I’m sorry this is happening to you RD. You’re obviously a person of great character and respect, comes across in everything I’ve ever read of yours. My best wishes for a safe landing, you deserve one.


  21. Yes, “I’m sorry” seems feeble but I am sorry.

    I worked for a large aerospace company during the last “downturn” right after 9-11.

    It felt like “Survivor” (where people get voted off the island) because they were handing out pink slips all over. They took the commercial part of the company down by just under 50% over a couple years. It was so sad to see people with families struggle to deal with the layoff. Some were in a good financial place and others were living paycheck to paycheck.

    But, you just sit there and watch the insanity of people with families who love working and do a good job having to leave. Meanwhile, the really big dogs reap huge benefits of fat raises and bonuses because nothing boosts profits like jetisoning some employees…

    All the while we little worker bees wait to get voted of the island.

  22. I have a gentle request to all of my fellow lurkers out there , and you *KNOW* who you are : at times
    such as these , it helps to know that one is not alone , and so it would be nice ( just this once ) for you to drop a comment here to let RD know that we lurkers are out there.We lurkers are great in number , but few of words and no one will expect you to ever again leave another comment. This is only my second comment here and hopefully my last ; but I always drop by at least once per day.
    Good Luck to you , RD !

    • There are many like M.Lowell who read often and comment infrequently. I am one, and I hope your predicament can work itself out.

      RD, in the last post you said

      Turn off your TV and radios and you take away most of their power. They can’t talk you into doing something against your own interests if you can’t hear them.

      This is the kind of sage advice that more must follow lest all of the hi tech jobs in this country vanish. Sadly we are well over half-way there already.

    • I’m one of those lurkers. RD I cannot believe, yet am faced with the reality daily, how scientists and hard workers across the specturm are being discarded. My condolences. You are a resourceful woman – smart, witty, hard working and brilliant. You will prevail – you must or the lesser talented amongst us (myself included) have no hope. Now, is there a way that we can support you so that in your dowsizing, you stop posting?

      • just reread my comment and realized the error I made. It should have read – is there a way that we can support you so that in your downsizing situation you DO NOT stop posting. Mea culpa, and a donations button as suggested by others would be a good start.

    • RD – I am so sorry. This really sucks beyond measure. I am glad that you have a supportive BFF, a great kid and family.

  23. Oh Crap RD!! I was afraid that was what you were referring too. I wish I could add something profound…ok, since I can’t, I will echo jjk: You ARE a wonderful writer – a ‘profound’ writer.

    I am here…put a donate button on, I’ll scrape up a donation when I can. And, hang on.

  24. I’m so very sorry this has happened to you and your family, RD. I admire your ability to roll with it and your generosity toward your company. While I know your efforts need to be focused on finding a job in the science field you love, please use this time between to continue to develop and explore possibilities as a writer. You’re a first-rate journalist and have the history right here at The Confluence to show what you can do.

    • Oh, {{blush}}, go on.

      No, no, really. go on!

      • Okay–I think you can make a second (or secondary, once you find another R&D position)) career as a journalist. Get yourself a copy of Writer’s Market, identify some compatible publications, and start sending out some of your best columns.

  25. It’s never easy to start over somewhere else, but often it is the best thing that ever happened to you. I have had that experience and I hope that is what happens for you, that one day you realize that there really is a silver lining to the cloud hanging over your head at the moment.

    For decades we have watched whole industries disappear overseas. When are we going to elect a politician with the guts to take on the problem of outsourcing? When are we going to find one who will re-regulate Corporations so that they are not allowed to promote the slide back to feudalism?

    In the meantime I have no doubt that you will land on your feet.

    • You know, I accepted change last year when I went back into the lab. It was the best move I ever made. What are you supposed to do when you find the perfect job for you after decades in your career? I used to go to work and say to myself, “I LOVE this work!”. I took a big risk last year and it was paying off. I waited all my life for this job. Now it’s gone.
      It will not get better than this.

  26. What a waste of talent and dedication.
    I’m so sorry, riverdaughter.
    I hope you’ll find a new and better place soon.

  27. After reading your blog almost every day for the last couple of years, I was so sorry to read about your situation. I wanted to send good thoughts and vibes your way and thank you for helping me to keep my sanity during the debacle of ’08! You are such a great writing talent and obviously a dedicated professional and I hope you find something soon!

  28. This is heart breaking news to hear RD. I understood the pressures that you have had on so many levels and always hoped this would never happen. We all know it is not your job performance – you are highly intelligent and highly motivated for the purist of reasons. When I read your notice yesterday – I thought briefly about employment but it was too awful to consider. Then the fact that I can’t offer assistance in any meaningful way to you who provided years of the best of blogdom to me, and in the beginning, you did it single-handed, causes me anguish. I never left, just became a lurker Please know that you and yours are in my thoughts(and prayers,even though you do not believe). You are much admired and appreciated. Wish you, KB, and Dandy Tiger, et al all the best and I will continue to lurk. Those of us who are authentic Dems(Clinton, ERA, etc.) need to stick together to create an enormous group to combat the evil oligarchic (almost said corporate) force that has it’s deeply penetrating tentacles around government. You’ve provided a wonderful forum for a long time, hope you keep it up. I hope new opportunities present themselves fast. {cyber hug}

  29. Please let me add my voice to the sincere condolences expressed here by so many in your cybercircle.
    When will the PTB ever realize that, when you crush a rock, you reduce it from a solid building component to mere dust? While I have every confidence you will find your way through this present (tense) situation, it is insane that talented, hard-working people doing valuable jobs (like you, but in vast numbers), are expected to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps”, “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again”!

  30. RD, what horrible news.

    What horrible, horrible news.

    I could just go on saying that. There’s really nothing else I know to say. Some times all you can do is get up in the morning and keep your hair combed.

    Hang in there.

  31. ((((RD HUGS))))))
    not concerned atall about our beloved red haired Lassie.RD is a fighter and like a cat will always land on her feet.

  32. Your situation pretty much echos mine from 2008. As I read your narrative, I felt the rush of those same emotions I felt back then. Laid off to meet some corporate number and a decision to close the east coast office, due to no fault of my own.

    I am still angry with that company, even though I understand the economics of it. They ruined my life! I had just bought a house near work! I moved there from L.A. to work for them! How dare they!

    All that to basically put more money in some CEO’s pocket.

  33. That’s so sad, Riverdaughter. What a loss to scientific research, your employer, and you and your family–having a job one loves is priceless, although I have no doubt that you will thrive. At first, it is shock mixd with a sense of why me, but you will end up in a better place. You really should publish a book and then run for the highest office you can.

    I checked back today to pass on a letter from the Clinton Foundation about a documentary narrated by (of all people) Chris Matthews. I was expecting your announcement to be made tomorrow.

    Here is the text:

    In a documentary airing tomorrow at 10:00 PM EST on MSNBC, Chris Matthews calls President Clinton a one-man Peace Corps.

    Though I know he’s far too humble to ever say that himself, President Clinton’s work the past 10 years has been remarkable.

    From his life-changing work with the Clinton Foundation and his disaster relief efforts for the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, to his humanitarian actions to free two journalists from North Korea and the convening power of the Clinton Global Initiative that brings together businesses, governments, nonprofits, and individuals to implement real solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges — his work today is directly improving hundreds of millions of lives. It is not a stretch to say what he has accomplished with friends and supporters like you is truly changing the world.

    And I know this is just the beginning of what we can do.

    This President’s Day, there will be a special documentary — The President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon, Monday, 10:00 PM EST on MSNBC, about the 10 years since President Clinton left office. At the Clinton Foundation, we are celebrating his last 10 years as a private citizen with a Decade of Difference. I hope you will join us and see the role you have played in President Clinton’s work during the last 10 years.

    When: 10:00 PM EST, Monday, February 21, 2011
    Where: MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews
    What: President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon

    Thank you again for all your support. I look forward to what we can accomplish together in the next 10 years.

    Laura Graham
    Chief of Staff to President Clinton
    Chief Operating Officer
    William J. Clinton Foundation

  34. I’ve been to the edge of that cliff three times but didn’t go over, Many of my colleagues did– but that all managed to find rewarding careers anyway. I hope you’re casting your resume toward Raleigh & RTP. Maintain mental health.

  35. I’m so sorry, riverdaughter. Your love for your job always shone through in your writings. I know that you will land on your feet one way or another. I agree with the other posters who suggested that you give some thought into pursuing a career in writing. Ithink you would be marvelous at writing on scientifc or politcal topics.
    Best of luck to you and you will be in my thoughts.

  36. {{{{RD}}}} – so sorry it happened to you. – I’ve had it happen twice and it’s gawd awful

    But Okasha is right – you have the capacity to write a great expose – you were there in Denver – you know what happened – and you know what happened in the primaries. And Lord knows you can write, girl!

    But you still need to find something to support you and Brooke with benefits of some kind – listen to Katiebird –

    Good luck!

  37. Aw! sorry. I know you loved your job very much.

  38. If there is something meaningful to hear or to say after being laid off I never heard it. What I can share are a few actions I’d wished I’d caught on to faster.

    If your professional society journals and newsletters are sent to the office change that quickly to your home address. My journals went into the trash. File a change of address form with the US Post Office for mail addressed to you at your former workplace address. Change email to your personal account anywhere you can. Anything that can keep you connected professionally is worth doing.

    Clear out any personal things such as reference books, professional tools or whatever from your office quickly. Otherwise the good stuff will start to disappear.

    Good Luck sounds trite, but Good Luck will have to do.

  39. I wish I could do more than say I’m sorry. I will be praying for you and your situation. Since I found TC it has been the first entry in my favorites list, the first site I go to when I fire up my computer. Your posts,and the other front pagers, have shown me time and time again new ways of looking at things. I wish I had the talent to write that you and your front pagers have. I’ll have to be content just reading. Things have a way of working out. I feel like you will land on your feet, you have so many talents. Good luck, I’m serious about the prayers.

  40. As so many have said already, “I’m sorry” doesn’t begin to cover it. But, I am.

    I’m glad I was there when you needed me but, RD — I owe you so much more than I can ever repay.

  41. Just appalling and I’m so sorry this has come your way .

  42. Hi RD:

    I just heard this awful and appalling news. I am SO SORRY this happened! What awful news. I am a regular lurker who posts very infrequently, but have savored the wit and wisdom of this site for the past several years.

    Ironically, today is the two-year anniversary of my own layoff. I am now contracting, working well below my skill level, but was fortunate enough to maintain and even increase my income. I send you all best wishes, thoughts and prayers for a speedy resolution to this time of uncertainty, with a better income and projects you like even more.

    My best to you. SophiaD

  43. I know you have been really busy lately. This is sad news and I sure hope you can find something in your area soon. This economy has got to change. It is so sad to see so many people unemployed and under employed. My son is grown now but as a single parent I can imagine the stress you must be feeling.

  44. Thank you, all. Your best wishes are so touching. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I’ve been spending some time today with the BFF. He has been wonderful through all of this. As has the rest of my family. It would be so much worse without them. I am very lucky.

  45. RD. Oh my god. Oh RD. I have been dreading this moment from the first you wrote about your industry.

    Oh RD.

    This is not going to be any consolation but I want to tells you what happened in 2000. Same, but to my husband and can you imagine not having the heart or the conscience to manage to kill two birds with one stone?

    No. I was kept on after the merger. Yes, because I was an expert and could be used. Well, if I had not been who I was, or had my ethics?

    The rage at being forced to go in that building afterwards? The humiliation? The comments by my colleagues? The whispers? I lasted six months.

    I quit. You can imagine. But I held my head up high. I lasted until 2003 with that practice I was building as an intern. An then I lost my mom in 2002.

    I want to say something, anything to you to lessen it. Anything. I know I can’t. But RD, you will survive this. You will. You will. Like your grandfather because we are Irish women to the core.

    To the core.

    I spent a decade of my life working for that paper — but I’m a writer now. That tale, of what they did to my colleagues and I will be told.

    You will never not be a scientist. Never. You may not be working on the same thing? But you are a scientist.

    RD, I wish there was a way to send a hug hug through these screens. You have always been to me like those other smart girls I knew in Jr. High.

    I’m so sorry RD.

    All my thoughts and love are with you

    And we are here, out here on the ends of these crazy wires connected, all of us, by our hearts — and souls. We’re here RD.

  46. More on the skills of the irish RD — to make you laugh! I quit not realizing just what it was going to mean not having a paycheck! Damn. All those free hours of service I had given — hours and hours and hours from 96 – 2003 and after my mom went I just said “the hell with this.”

    Husband said — “what am I supposed to do/”


    I took an under the table job cooking in a mansion for a wealthy man who was a recluse. I became a servant. You talk about reversal of fortune in one family in a generation, dunno — because, my family were in the Chicago Blue Book of you know, who is who at the turn o’ the cen.


    Well, my job was simply to shop and cook a vegetarian meal 3 days a week. Which I did with aplomb while I was a therapist for all those clients who needed me.

    I did food therapy, and it healed my soul to drive in behind those locked gates, after shopping Carte blanche. The other servants were used to working with rags, m’dears.

    I on the other hand never failed to leave that kitchen without veritable cornucopias of fruit and flowers and fresh charming looking sponges every week.

    I would go back and the rags had returned.

    I simply repeated.

    Each week.

    I did.

    I love you RD.

    It will seem like a crazed blur for a while — but that will end. I promise.

    It’s time for us to watch the movie Little Women. The orig. And you have to keep blogging because you are loved.

  47. RD, this is sad news , this losing of a job you love. Perhaps this will change your life in unexpectedly good ways…we cannot foresee how it will all eventually play out. Meanwhile it will be a time of change for you.
    You are a fabulous writer and blogger, and have so many talents as yet to be discovered, I’m sure.
    We are pulling for you….will you keep us posted?

  48. it is the storms of life that bring the the sweetest fruit.
    remember RD.we love you and come here every day just to hear from you. :mrgreen:

  49. It’s our loss too, RD. We need scientists like you. You will rise.

  50. RD, that’s terrible news and completely unexpected. May the “when one door closes” adage work out to your greatest advantage.

    (p.s., here’s my vote for the run for office idea.)

  51. (((((((((((((((((((((RD))))))))))))))))))))))) Wish I had the magical words of comfort for you or better yet a job. Thank the g-dess that you are a brilliant, strong, resourceful woman.

  52. RD, I mentioned before that the same thing happened to me twice – after the companies I was with were bought out. But what I didn’t say was that as I look back on it – the second downsizing was a blessing to me and my family – because I too loved my job and was very successful at it – they say that success get’s in the way of SUCCESS – and that was the truth for me – that last downsizing open the doors for me to explore and really succeed in other fields.

    Go girl – I know that was your “dream job” but explore what was missing from it – because nothing is ever really perfect – then you’ll have a real target to aim for.

    You’ve done some really good things – it is true that what “goes round, comes round!”

  53. RD,

    Add me to the community here who hold you in such high esteem. I’m rooting you onward, every step of the way. All the very best to you and Brooke. I’m certain she appreciates the gold standard you set for her, as she continues to develop and mature into her own greatness.

    Go well. 🙂

  54. RD, I am so sorry that this has happened and terribly saddened. I can’t help but think that this is somehow an unnecessary event and a reflection of the generally poor economic policies that have been evolving in this country over the years. I hope the strength of character you have have always shown will carry you through this difficult time and that you will soon find yourself in a new position that will ultimately prove to be just as fulfilling or more so.

  55. ps RD — I read Lambert on this Conf & Co…



    ps lambert I think you are fab. FB is so interesting — did you know we can link just like we do in here? And if we say in that little header that name Riverdaughter or Lambert attached to the link — we are a news source. Yep. Hugs. In real life, I know journos and they are my friends in there and you guys know this is me, for real.


    gnarly isn’t even the word.

    thanks Lambert.

    • Well, FB is all very well as a distributor, but I don’t want them owning my data. It’s not possible to link into them, so in essence they make it impossible to cite to the historical record, making it impossible to learn! Twitter is exactly the same way. Two major corporate “social media” sites that work like memory holes. Coincidence? Whoever imagined corporations want their “consumers” and “human resources” to be smart? And that’s before we get to to the privacy and data mining issues.

      Thanks for the kind words, however!

  56. I’m sorry about this, RD. I’m sure you know that in no way did you earn, nor do you deserve, to be DISemployed. I’m equally sure that the perps will end up regretting their hasty actions deeply….

  57. Okay well — I just friended you as me. This is probably the scariest little story I’ve read yet. No kidding. I have the LA and SB journo peeps covered. Dak is connected to me in there! That’s me. You know far more than I about the world o’blog and I’m glad I know you! I know you like I know RD — brains and metaphor and smarts. Hugs.

  58. With unemployment levels where they are, pretty much everyone in America now knows someone who is unemployed (or very underemployed). I do think the government has missed the boat in not tying employment of Americans to the enormous tax breaks we give corporations. We also need initiatives to provide for investment in our own infrastructure and in the institutions that make (made) our country great. For too long we have improperly valued the war machine above all, well above the needs of our own citizens. The middle class should be bolstered, not ravaged, as the middle class has been the bedrock of what has made our country great. But those kinds of policies start at the top and we know there is no strategic thinking going on there (except when it comes to campaigning).

    RD, you are an amazing writer. I found your site two years ago and it has been my rock. When I feel like I am just crazy, I can come here and find your editorials and the comments of your faithful readers for confirmation that, no, we are not crazy. Common sense and long-term planning are in very short supply in our country these days. I wish you all the best and sure hope that though a door has closed, a window will open for you.

    • And by “government,” I read Obama and his economic and political team. That a Democratic president in these times and these conditions has done barely anything is terrible.

      We may understand why he has done so little, but it still hurts that a leader of what was for some of us a party of principles and opportunity for all has acted as Obama has.

  59. (((RD)))
    My very insignificant thoughts & prayers are with you.
    You are incredibly intelligent & talented and I know you you will have a game plan soon.

  60. RD, I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I was aware you were worried about downsizing, and, damn, they went and did it. You’re suffering from losing work you love — and your company bean counters think it can just plug another human peg into the research hole…. Ack.

    At least that worrying and wondering is over. They’ve done it.

    Reading this has taken me back to when I got my bad news, and the horrible times downsizing was announced in our division or group and no one knew for months whether they would go or stay, who would get the axe. Then there was the survivor’s guilt and the survivor’s work overload!

    After a few of those times of being on tenterhooks, hoping, waiting, wondering, doing some job hunting on the QT so not as to give management an excuse to make you one of the sacrificial lambs, finally, it did come to me. I have to confess by the time I left, I was glad to see the last of that company and its horrible management.

    Best wishes to you. And…good luck.

  61. I’m late getting here and I know we have had our share of differences but I am so sorry. My hubby was furloughed the summer before last and it is the most gut wrenching experience. It’s terrifiying. I hope that you are able to find something in your field(since I know that’s where your passion lies) and you wind up on your feet.

  62. I am not a regular commenter here, but I am a reader who deeply respects your intellect and perspective. I am very sorry about this unmerited loss of your job!

  63. RD–I don’t comment much, but I’m a long-time fan and visitor. From personal experience, I know that the loss of a beloved job can be a big kick in the gut. I also know, however, that things can take surprising turns which, in retrospect, you would have never imagined before it happened. Until that time, please keep in mind the words of one of my favorite writers (that would be you, RD):

    “Keep alert. Keep skeptical. Find a buddy, hold hands, look both ways before you cross the street.”

  64. Riverdaughter,

    I am really sorry, and don’t know what else to say. You are very talented, and I hope things look up soon.

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