I had dreaded going to work Tuesday.
It was my last day at The Dallas Morning News after 27 years as a reporter. Even though I was leaving voluntarily, I knew it would be emotional walking the halls for the last time.
I had no idea how emotional.
On my way into the HR office to turn in my laptop and ID, a colleague was walking out.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“Getting laid off,” he said.
“What!” I exclaimed.
Turns out, the day I left was the day almost 40 reporters, editors and clerks got terminated in the latest round of layoffs.
I could have been one of the casualties if I hadn’t beaten the company to the punch and turned in my resignation two weeks earlier.
My relief at leaving on my own terms was dampened by the agony of seeing good people get the boot.
I suspected another round of layoffs was coming when I resigned. In fact, I mentioned it yesterday when I talked about my departure.
“You can only dodge the layoff bullet for so long, that’s my view,” I wrote. “ If I didn’t get laid off now, I probably would later.”
Those words are eerie, reading them now.
Would I have been part of the layoffs too? I’ll never know. But I think there was a very good chance.
I had survived five rounds of layoffs as the newspaper industry has taken an irreversible nosedive. My luck was bound to run out eventually.
As I left the building today, I saw another friend. He was headed to HR to get laid off. Others would follow throughout the day, like sheep to the slaughter.
I’m angry, sickened, relieved and grateful – all at the same time. I’m like a person who survives a fatal plane crash while many around him die.
I don’t know.
Unlike many of the layoff victims, I have a landing place: Single Dad House. The time and energy I poured into a large corporation for more than half my life, now I’ll pour into my small business of one.
I hope the site succeeds. I have no way of knowing.
But I know this: My timing in leaving The Dallas Morning News couldn’t have been better.