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.



et cetera