Friday, July 31, 2015

Not a Pity Party

On Friday, I'm planning to attend a strange and interesting reunion of people who were all laid off from the same company in 1999. More than 300 headquarters folks lost their jobs when their company was sold. They scattered. Now one of them is organizing a reunion and at least 65 are planning to attend. To me, this is fascinating because it shows how important our work "families" are.

Not a Pity Party

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On Friday, I'm planning to attend a reunion of people who were all laid off from the same company in 1999. More than 300 headquarters folks lost their jobs when their company was sold. They scattered. Now one of them is organizing a reunion and at least 65 are planning to attend. To me, this is fascinating because it shows how important our work "families" are. Obviously, we often spend more time with our co-workers than with our spouses. 

Last summer, the Inquirer had a reunion of people who worked here years ago, when Gene Roberts was editor. It was amazing to see so many colleagues, people whom we knew so well. And those were people! Even this building has a powerful grip on me. Of course, our newspaper is owned by local businessmen, but I consider it my newspaper and when I say "we," I mean all of us who work here and did work here, especially in our Inquirer newsroom. The reunion over the summer was a powerful emotional moment for me and many of us, especially since the former Inquirer reporter who organized it, Carol Horner, died shortly after the party.

Of course, I'm using "family" in a positive sense, like the Inquirer newsroom family. We all know plenty of dysfunctional workplace families -- the ones where any intelligent person runs, as fast as possible and screaming, in the other direction. You'd attend a reunion in your hearse, maybe! 

But what about these families? Here's my question for all you laid-off folks: Have any of you have had reunions, or are you planning them? Are any of you who just got laid off in the past year getting together regularly for beers or breakfast? What's it do for you? Could I maybe come? Let me know. 

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About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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