In Her Words
My Husband, the “Bad Guy”
A wife’s guilt over her husband’s layoff duty
Last week, it was reported that Clear Channel Communications cut 1,850 jobs; 9 percent of its work force.
The smoke has finally cleared in my house. See, my husband works for the nation’s largest owner of radio stations.
Key word: Works. With an S.
As in, still does.
This sounds like good news, and it is. He was not one of the 1,850 people who lost their jobs last week. However, last Tuesday was one of the most difficult days in his career with the media conglomerate. Because of these company-wide cuts, my husband was forced to lay off 9 percent of his staff.
He was instructed not to apologize for laying them off, because that would admit wrong-doing. But my husband was sorry, and he told the 12 people whose lives he changed that day that he was. He was sorry for the changes he was making for them and their families.
The severance packages each received were more than beyond fair. Something like six months pay for one to three years’ service. Nine months over that. It’d be enough to me to figure out what to do next. I’m of the school of thinking that the glass is three-quarters full. I’m the type who likes to face adversity thinking that when a door shuts, there’s a bigger, friendlier window open.
Of course, the door didn’t shut on me. I sit here in my cushy home, my husband’s job for the moment secure, while hundreds of people are out of work. And I consider a close friend of mine whose husband faces the task of searching for a job, after losing his a few months ago. They’re dealing with very hard times; where’s their open window?
Throughout this whole experience – the late meetings, the deciding on who would be let go, the waiting until the day when my husband would have to change the lives of these people – the stress levels in our home were insurmountable. He didn’t want to do this. He’s not a bad guy. He didn’t want to change the lives of these 12 individuals on Inauguration Day – a day when our country is looking to change, a day for new beginnings.
I like to imagine these people went home with their very fair severance packages, watched Obama speak to our country, and took in all of the possibilities that surrounded them. That they thought of the hope the future could bring to them, the changes that a new opportunity could bring. That they could look at this as an opportunity to reach inside and take a new chance to do something else they really wanted to do.
At least this is what I tell myself to feel better about the whole situation. I don’t like the thought of people thinking that my husband is the one who threw down the axe.
It wasn’t all bad. One woman who received a severance package was set to move to another city soon to be with her fiancée, but hadn’t given her resignation. She took her severance, leapt from that window, and flew to her new opportunities.
I like the dream of that open window.
I hope the others find theirs.