Recession Mama

{August 11, 2009}   Veteran Journalist Loses Job

From Heather

Mamas and Papas,

It’s been a rough year for journalist everywhere. I have personally seen 10 of them get sacked since December. They’re friends, wonderful humans and extremely talented. So it seems so unfair to see them go. Losing your job often feels like someone ripping away part of your identity. So many Americans feel this way now. It’s just another testament of the recession.

Longtime KRLD (1080 AM) Meteorologist Brad Barton and KRLD afternoon anchor Mark Watkins were the latest friends to go. Their departure last week caused sadness and outrage in the community.

Here’s Mark’s recollection of the day he was laid off. It really applies to anyone who has ever been let go, fired or downsized. It’s honest, true and heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing Mark.

on the air

Happy Trails

By: Mark Watkins

This week I joined the millions of other Americans who have lost their jobs thanks to the folly and greed that led to the recession. Far brighter people and better writers have addressed that elsewhere, so I will not do so here. Bitching gets tiresome after a while, regardless of its merits.

Here I will speak of the man who terminated me — a sort-of Everyman in the Corner Office. He is a good man and it pained him to pull the trigger on employees he had known for years and liked.

 Most of his day was spent in such closed-door, one-on-one meetings, all unhappy and woeful. He is paid well for the position he holds, but on this day it didn’t feel worth the anguish he inflicted on talented, skilled and valued employees. He said all the right things befitting his position: he professed his care and vowed to do anything he could. He listened attentively to every plea, curse word and rage, as if he were a preacher consoling a confessor.

Virtually no one else knew in advance of the coming tragedy. His second- and third-in-commands had not been briefed, the decision was so quick. It was evident to those he terminated that the order had come from On High: “Cut, cut deep and cut now.”

It’s brutal out there, said the sacker to the sackees. And on this day, Brutality slung its scythe with deadly aim.

Card keys and other such company property were collected then and there and forms were signed and witnessed by the only other being in the death-house meetings: the HR person, charged with detailing how the condemned would be executed and how long it would take to exhaust the last, pathetic breath of life in the now-former employees.

The slain carried themselves from the gallows to their lockers and desks to perform the sad ritual of removing all possible evidence of their existence. Some of them appeared to colleagues to be visibly wounded; others were just unusually quiet. All left the premises quietly as their co-workers watched, speechless, at dead men walking.

The executioner went home at the end of the day with a knot in his stomach and a foul taste in his mouth. The business that he once loved so passionately had become — much more so in recent years — a spiteful and foul thing, virtually unrecognizable now.

What lies before him in the days ahead is a company of edgy and frightened employees. Today was a repeat of previous restructurings. His employees, already spread thin, must take on even more. Hell, he’s laden with additional responsibilities and no additional compensation.

But he must carry on, leading and encouraging, remolding and pushing. He is the face of the company. To all his shaken flock who so earnestly seek reassurance and hope, he must appear steadfast and confident in the future. He must make omelets. And chicken salad. And lipsticked pigs.

At least he has a job. I don’t.  





Please check out Mark Watkins’ blog at

You won’t be disappointed.



Carla Marion says:

Mark, I cannot tell you how sad I am that they let you go. But I can tell you that your wealth of talent will take you somewhere exciting and very soon. You were one of the best “work husbands” I ever had in my entire career. I have never laughed so hard as we did in those studios, anchoring both the morning news and then the afternoon news together. It was beyond comforting to have YOU as my co-anchor. Here I was, the junior-most anchor at the station, paired with the news anchor who had the most experience. It must have been frustrating for you. “Oh great, I get the new chick, great. I’ll pick up her pieces when she screws up the show”. But I hope I didn’t let you down. I hope it was as good of an experience for you as it was for me. You will never know how much you taught me, not only in the anchor chair, but also about writing, asking more and better questions and most of all, laughing our asses off whe the time was right. You were/are a dear friend, a mentor and a wonderful person who didn’t deserve to have this happen to him, but who will no doubt rise above it all …onto bigger and better things. And my offer still stands: beer and/or stiff drinks, you and T and Don and me. Just name the place and the time, king. I’m there. All my best and my love, my dear Mark Watkins —–Carla

recessionmama says:

From Heather:

Mark you are a true talent and so generous with sharing your tricks of the trade with others like me. Your ability to recall copy, ad lib, and remember history and details never ceased to amaze me. I really enjoyed filling-in on the anchor desk and having the opportunity to work with you. You always brought a lot of curiosity, skill, creativity and energy to the desk. I loved hearing you say “good shooting Tex” when everything timed out just right. You’ve made a HUGE impact on me and always kept me laughing. I will forever consider you a great friend and mentor.

LaMonica says:

This is for Carla, Brad, and Mark – I am 25 years old, and moved to Dallas in 2001 to attend college at UTD originally from Houston. I figured the way to learn the city, the CRAZY traffic, and stay up to date on news was to move away from the typical music morning shows for 18-30 year olds and be an “adult” and listen to news radio. And then I found a station, and you all were there. I MISS YOU GUYS SO MUCH! I am so happy to have found these blogs…I felt I was in the dark and felt upset at the station for not saying anything. Nothing against the newer sounds there, but my morning commute is no longer the same without you all. And when the wind blows and clouds churn, all I want to hear is Brad’s voice telling me the latest. I am really so sad and as only a listener who never met you, I feel like a part of me is gone. Please make sure to update on your new locales when they come (Carla I found yours) so I can hear your voices. XOXO

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