I got a buyout offer at work this month. And I thought I was only the TEMP. Legally I guess we all had to get them, but I’ve got to confess that I felt pretty darn special. My second buyout in a lifetime. Can we pay you NOT to work for us? The opposite of an offer letter. I wanted to say, “Why, yes, yes you can, because I deserve more than I’ve gotten. I’ll take your hush money and run away to Big Sur.” Then it hits you that you won’t be paid anymore. The last reality check.
Of course the boss told everyone that she didn’t want us to leave, and boy did she sound sincere. A few of my colleagues took the offer, but the rest of us who need a job will remain--those of us who couldn’t figure out how to make a few thousand last a few years. I wish they’d pay me more to go, or even better, more to stay. I actually like the work.
The sad reality is that a lot of people lost their jobs in the last few years, and now that they’re consolidating the publishing desk at the paper, a lot of colleagues in another town got screwed. Who can afford to move nowadays? Whose house will sell, or can you afford to give it away? I seriously try not to carry the world’s burdens on my narrow-enough shoulders, but dealing with the news every night makes that difficult. I feel for my colleagues. I know they feel misused and abused; they are the relics, the remains of the day that are the recipients of pay cuts if they choose to stay (no more golden handcuffs), or of a token sum to shut up and leave. They will be replaced by people like me, people who don’t need benefits and work for less. It’s an age-old dilemma. I trained my replacement at my last buyout.
I try to distinguish myself from the 20somethings that will take over: “Hey, I’m not that girl,” I say too often and too loudly. I’m not 25, not working for peanuts, not taking your job. Methinks I doth protest too much. It’s hard for any of us to not take it personally when they pay you less to stay, and especially when they pay you to go away…