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One of the Best Days of my Working Career

Dec 4, 2008
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Tags: Unemployment

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I was laid off from Nortel after almost 28 years. I knew it was coming. Many thousands of people over 8 years had already preceded me in being shown the one way door. After all the stress I was happy to go and relieved. Six months later during the darkest days of the economic collapse of 2008-2009 and a Nortel bankruptcy that prevented me from receiving any of the 10 months of severance pay I was promised, I obtained another job that I really enjoy. I have other blog posts here about this whole experience but it was a very good one. Below is the farewell email I sent to my co-workers.

The time has come for me to continue a recent Nortel Tradition, that of the good bye email.

After 27 years and 6 months I have been told as a late 80's memo put it "to continue my career elsewhere." I started work for Northern Telecom on May 18, 1981 in a 3 piece suit and briefcase. I had driven from eastern KY the week before hauling everything I owned in the trunk of my car. The DMS-100 was beginning to take off and Northern Telecom was hiring a lot of new people. Many of us were young, single and from someplace else. We became good friends and remain so today even as we have spread through the company and in recent years to other companies.

I would like to have remained employed but I am not angry or bitter. Nortel paid me well and that has enabled me to do many things in life that I enjoy. Traveling is one of those and my boys and I have seen most of the country, many places multiple times and a Nortel salary helped me do that.

I cleaned out my desk earlier this year as I just felt that this year would be my last. In 27 years one accumulates interesting things. I have a small book of maps embossed with "1000th DMS-100 Pacific Bell to serve Los Angeles International Airport March 24, 1986." A baseball bat ink pen embossed with "VPA IV August 1989." Anyone remember when we announced billion dollar contracts instead of million dollar contracts?

Any of you work on the Bushwick fire? I have a March 4, 1987 tie pin for that. And of course the 5, 10, 15 year anniversary tie pins. Do they still do those?

I noticed one other thing. I still have the Swingline stapler I was given in 1981. I also found a flow charting template and an X-acto knife. Guess where they were made? USA. Where is yours made? I wish more things were still made in the USA.

I will finish by confirming what you have seen in these emails before. It is always the people that matter and the relationships you have formed with them. I have worked with some great people and I will miss that.

I wish good luck to those of you remaining and please work hard as I am one of those that still own Nortel stock and it is not worth the brokerage fee to sell it.

Goodbye folks and have a great holiday

My manager was kind and let me know the day my layoff was happening. I skipped the jeans and dressed up a little for the big day.

Here is how I looked in 1980. That machine in the background paid for more than half of my college tuition.
Bobby

You may be interested in the next article, Zombies and Trebuchets.

The previous article is Camping Traditions.

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© Bobby Daniel