Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day of infamy

The London Eye

Steve making friends with a palace horse

The first leg of the Tour de France was going to be London to Canterbury. We stayed in Canterbury
a week while Steve worked

Roof of the Egyptian elevator in Harrods
Entrance to the complex where Steve worked for 3 weeks. Huge. It was shut down
about 4 years later
Eight years ago today our entire workplace was put into groups, some having to be
shipped offsite because there was no place large enough  to contain all the employees.

We were told that the huge corporation that purchased our workplace 6 years previously
was going to shut it down. Some of us might be offered jobs elsewhere. Was that day
 going to be our last? Wasn't clear but they would let us know when we needed to know.
It came as a surprise because they had just purchased a huge chunk of land and were
 building on it. Also our humble facility was responsible for the lion's share of their profits.
 We would be getting a severance package but if we spoke to the press, that would
be revoked.

Our workplace was the largest taxpayer in Ann Arbor by far. How would the schools
 and city fare without them? Our houses flooded the market. At the same time, the auto
 industry was not doing well either so no one would buy our vacated houses. Then came
the bank failures (due to deregulation by a certain party) the next year.

Lots of crying and hand wringing. Amidst the tears, Steve was thinking Yay!!!! The new
company was especially hard on the older workers nudging them to quit in a variety of
soul sucking ways. Many of my peers had left  (or were pfired!) already. The hoops to jump
through were becoming harder and harder. I was given a pass for a while because I more or
less singlehandedly provided them with 3 out of 30 developmental candidates for a year
 (from a thousand chemists) but institutional memory is short. Still I didn't think this was
 good news.
Naomi was still in high school so we weren't going to move elsewhere. And those who did,
for the most part, soon lost their jobs in their new places. Severance packages became less

Steve and I were allowed to stay as long as possible in our respective departments. We did
get a generous severance and in a few years be able to tap into our retirement. Meanwhile
they were shutting the buildings down but still needed work done so Steve was sent to England
to do his work there. I joined him for his final week living in Canterbury taking day trips while
he was bussed to work. Then we travelled around the country together. Above are some of our London photos. We went to York, the Cotswolds, Bath and Salisbury too. During my week
 I went to Rye, France by ferry, and rented a bike to ride to Whitstable on the coast. I wrote
about this in my other blog (see) .

Steve worked awhile on the old site though for only a fraction of what he got before.
We decided it wasn't worth it.

Meanwhile the auto industry has recovered and suddenly everyone wants to live in Ann
 Arbor again. They are killing the golden goose. All this building with no planning.
 We are getting out while we can. Hand wringing in the local paper that Ann Arbor is no
 longer affordable so middle class people can't buy a house. Right next door in Ypsilanti,
one can get most houses for well under 200K  so I  am not feeling to sorry for them. We
couldn't afford a house either
in Ann Arbor when we first bought one. We had one in the township for 5 years until we
could get one here.

I really, really shouldn't be blogging.



Elephant's Child said...

I suspect blogging is virtually your only me time at the moment. And me time is an essential.
Amazed at how many cranes I could see in that first photo of London.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

I've been having other me time too. Just putting things off....


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