I should have done this sooner. It's something that's been a major part of my life for the last year and I haven't really made more than a passing reference to the fact that it's happening. Since April of 2009 some portion of my waking consciousness has been focused on this thing. It's lurked behind the good and bad news of the year passed, hanging around like smoke in the atmosphere. The dire thing I'm writing about, of course, is the closure of the office where I work and the displacement of the 300-some workers who've made their livings working there.
Until now I've never experienced a plant shutting down. I've worked places where I knew the company was taking on water but, in those cases, the company in question had so many other flaws I felt good to climb into a lifeboat. Hearing those companies went under never felt good but it did give me a certain feeling of validation – a feeling that I foresaw the coming disaster and had the wisdom to get myself out. This time, at least for me, the experience is different. It's different in two ways really.
Firstly, I've never stayed until all the furniture was gone and the doors locked. This time, as a part of my own succession plan, I'll be doing just that. It's like making your home in a hospice, every day someone else is gone. You hear about people who are moving on or will be moving on, you walk passed darkened offices where people you knew used to work, you see the possessions and files being boxed up and labeled for shipment, and the only constant seems to be your playing witness.
Secondly, I've never been working at a really good company when this happened. Sure, some of them were okay and some even had a few good people working for them – but the signs of their demise showed in petty managers, poor or adversarial policies, lack of direction, dry product pipelines, and a hundred other little ways. Not so this time. I can honestly say this is the first place I've worked that really had it all – it encompassed the close-knit feeling of a small company with the resources of a large one, the staff was damned smart, and the policies were geared toward doing the right things for the right reasons. In spite of all those things on October 1, 2010 this facility will close down and all of the jobs were transfer elsewhere. On that day I'll walk out the door for the last time and then the building will go quiet.
Maybe it's the last quarter of existence that's got me in a certain dark mood today. Maybe it's the realization that time is really short that's driven me to write about this subject in what is truthfully a writer's blog, not a diary. I hope you'll forgive my spending time musing over something that's not about writing but then, isn't it? Isn't a writer formed from the experiences they have throughout life? Isn't every moment, every encounter, and every chance happening, traumatic or benign, fuel for creating new characters and new stories? Possibly.
I'll keep you updated on the major happenings in these last months. Maybe something will spring from these missives and maybe it'll just be a record of how I felt in this time and space. Either way, I hope you'll pardon my occasional fixation on matters other than writing.