Sunday, June 03, 2007

Training wheels

My husband is brilliant. He is also kind and considerate. And for the past 2 and a half years held a dream job. He had a wonderful boss. His skills were recognised and rewarded. The location was convenient and the hours were flexible. The pay was good too and afforded us many luxuries like me being able to stay at home with the kidlets. But on Thursday, Motorola Canada announced that it will be closing the software centre where my husband works effective in September. Two hundred and fifty people, including my husband, will be laid off. Ouch.

We so didn't see that coming. I've been doing corporate research for a large telco for 8 years and I have seen probably a dozen significant shake-ups and at least half a dozen serious waves of downsizing worrying about whether I would be tapped on the shoulder. So when my husband came home with the news two weeks ago that Motorola was looking to cut 3500 positions globally, I told him not to worry. His division didn't know what that would mean for them yet but I figured they couldn't get rid of the whole department because of project commitments to large customers and so even if his group was touched, it wouldn't be everybody and he'd be okay because he is a top performer.

And so I didn't worry. But when he called me from work on Thursday with the news that all of Montreal would be winding down...I was completely gobsmacked. And worried. And scared. I even let myself cry a little (okay, a lot). Afterall, he's the sole bread-winner right now and we have a growing family to care for. Thankfully were not indebted but we've been spending a lot of money on yard improvements (deck, patio furniture, fence, shed, swingset,...) and whatever cushion we had managed to save is freshly spent. All of it.

I dwelled on it for a couple of days but am now past the denial, anger and fear and am in complete acceptance. And I have a feeling that something really good is going to come out of this. Really big. Luckily, my husband and I were cut from the same cloth and he is already prepared to move on and is getting excited at the thought that maybe Motorola was a stepping stone to something bigger and better and that this is an opportunity to refocus and to go after what he really wants, a step closer to meeting his full potential.

We came to this realisation the very same night he came home with the news. We had decided to skip the bedtime routine and just bring both kids in bed with us for extra closeness and comfort and because really, we're all in this together. The kids were both snoring away while we lay in the dark, thinking about the next step, possibilies, leads, and worst-case scenarios. We held hands and both felt like the training wheels had just come off. This is the first major storm since we were married, homeowners and parents. It's like a test and whatever it takes, we're going to ace it!
So bye, bye training wheels. We don't need you anymore. It's going to be okay ;0)


PS - Just in case anyone out there knows of an opportunity for my husband, he's been a senior software designer for Motorola in their public safety division (mostly working on dispatch software for 911 service in major US cities) for the past few years and has been working with tandem machines and COBOL for the past 10 years. He's brilliant. And available. His dream would be to be able to continue to work on the tools he's been developing for Motorola at either HP or Carr Scott. That's his preference and where he'll be focusing his energy first. But if anyone knows of any opportunities in the field...well, we'd be grateful for your help ;0)

PPS - Photos courtesy of my little Jujube who just got his first tricycle, a supercute radio-flyer with a nice long handle at the back so we can push him until he figures out what the deal with the pedals is. Right now, he especially loves 'fixing' it with his wrench. Too cute! And of course our little Lolo who just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

PPPS - I've still got knitting on the brain. But since I got my invite to beta-test Ravelry, I've been surfing rather than knitting. Seriously, Ravelry rocks! And it will be a revolution in the online knitting community once it goes live. I'm completely amazed and excited.


  1. Hi anny,

    i do hope that your husband will be soon in another job. I guess this was very upsetting for you both but ok you're thinking positive and you'll manage. I'm sure of that. And perhaps not easy, but i think that when you're young you can do so many things and there are more jobs to fill then when you're about fifty years off age??

    here in holland it is...when you're older you're too exspensive and you've almost no jobs then. They say there are enough jobs but hee you'll have to be able to live from your pay don't you?? And when you get less and less..then you get into trouble. And many people do.

    Whish i could help but i do send you my sincere thoughts and hope you'll be fine soon.
    Take care...

  2. I bet your husband is going to find something bigger and better! My husband has been at the same company for 13 years and he is just now going to see what else is out there for him. Even though his job change is voluntary, it's risky and scary and since I've been home for 6 years, he's all the family has! I wish you all the best of luck!

  3. Anonymous7:26 a.m.

    Your attitude and courage inspire me!


  4. Anonymous7:36 a.m.

    With your positive attitude towards the circumstances, nothing but good b things will come!

    Oooh Raverly! I can't wait to try it out!

  5. Stay positive ... that's the key to happiness. And you've got it!

  6. So sorry to hear your news. We've been through many rounds of downsizing at my husband's company. So far, he's hanging in there, but there are never any guarantees! Intelligence and capability don't seem to matter much. It sounds like his skills will transfer nicely to a new company, wherever that may be. Best of luck and blessings to you all.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear your news! I'm a sahm, too, and I know it'd be very disheartening to hear my hubby was laid off!

    Your attitude is great, however, and I'm sure something better is coming. I'll be praying for your family!

  8. Anonymous11:13 a.m.

    You both have the best attitute. It's the only way to be. Sometimes starting back at the beginning proves to be more successful, and it always proves you can do it. We've done it a couple of times so these situations don't daunt me anymore. On one occasion we had just bought a fairly new 'sporty' car. It was lunchtime, and the dealer had to phone his employer to verify that Keith had a job. He did, at lunchtime! At 3 in the afternoon his firm informed him that they were having to lay people off, and as he was the last to join, he was the first to go!!! Keith said to me "What should we do about the car?" - My response was "We should enjoy it". Things did look up - way up North! That was 21 years ago and we're still here and much more successful.
    Janet MF up in Yellowknife

  9. Anonymous11:41 a.m.

    I'm delurking to say that I feel your pain! My husband and I worked for the same company when it went under. (Yes, it was a surprise for us too.) Since the company went into bankruptcy, what assets it had went to paying it's debts. Severance pay? What severance pay?

    I'm sure that your husband will have no trouble finding a new position. Even if he has to find something temporary, until the dream job comes along, that's okay. Keep thinking positive thoughts!

  10. Anonymous11:46 a.m.

    Having worked in the Canadian telecom industry myself for the last 13 years this story is frighteningly familiar. But you know what? I bet you guys will come through this the same way a friend of mine did; her husband worked in a software department at Nortel that got shut down a few years back. Moved the family to Belleville, hated it, got himself hired by Microsoft and spent the last 4 years in Washington state, loving it and really enjoying life and are now at the point where they are taking another leap, deciding to move back to Canada, Vancouver this time, and my friend's been able to stay at home with the kidlets through all of this.

    My money's on your husband finding bigger and better things. Cheers! (hugs for the day the news came home though. I know full well how awful that is)

  11. Try to remember that saying about when a door closes a window opens! This is indeed a scary time for both of you, but you are in it together and that is the first step in the right direction!
    You will make it through this, but just now it is tough.
    Stay positive - nothing worse than getting down on yourselves - you did not make this happen!
    Bigger and better things ahead!

  12. Yikes. How scary for you both! As others have said, though, it really is true that when one door closes, another (or more!) opens. And this may be wonderful beyond your wildest dreams. I know what you are going through. At times like this, I always tell myself that the sun will still come up tomorrow and the Earth will still rotate on its axis. Somehow, that thought is comforting. And you've got each other and your kids. That's what truly matters. :)

    Take care! And make sure you get exercise, sleep and eat right. (I can't help it - can you tell I'm a mother?)

  13. Anonymous1:11 p.m.

    oh wow! there are great things on the horizon for your family, of that i am certain! i can appreciate the uncertainty (as i was laid off just when i found out i was pregnant, as a matter of fact). your supportive loving family will work through this, as please know you are always in our thoughts and prayers as well!!!

  14. I wish you all the best and will pass along your husband's experience/background to my husband. He works for Nokia-Siemens and used to work for Tandem many years ago! You never know...
    We have, so far, survived downsizing here in Silly-Con Valley. I always have my fingers crossed though since we are also dependent on the one income. It has been a life lesson for me to have faith and trust that in the end it all works out. So far, so good!

  15. Good luck, we have been there far too many times on the job front... I think it is par for the course in the tech fields, but never easy!

  16. Anonymous5:23 p.m.

    Hi Anny, I stumbled on your blog a little while ago and haven't had a chance to say "hi" yet. I love your beautiful knits and the cheerful outlook that always imbues your posts - this very difficult one included! My husband and I went through a similar situation last year and I can report that, if our experience is any indication, your optimism is very much warranted - my husband now has a "dream job" much better than the one he had to leave. I won't say it was easy - it took the better part of the year for him to find it, which was a time often filled with worry and frustration for us. But we kept on believing, and it really happened. I am wishing you the same (maybe minus those few hard months)!

  17. Hi Anny, just to let you know my thoughts are with you and your husband. I'm sure with your creative energy and outlook good things will come to you.
    Good luck with everything I'll keep my fingers crossed for your husband finding a new job.
    Best wishes

  18. Anonymous7:42 p.m.

    dear anny, you have such a positive spirit, i'm sure your husband will find a bigger/better/best-job.

  19. Anonymous8:42 p.m.

    Oh non!
    you're right after all those reshuffling reorg at work, you suddenly don't really expect them to have an actual impact...
    gee... i really don't know what to say! I'm sorry to hear that things happened this way, because it is a situation that is totally out of your control and that has nothing whatsoever to do with Stephen's performance at work... that just sucks... yet, I know you'll be fine, because, a: you both got skills and talent oozing out of the pores of your skin, b: you got the right positive attitude to get through this, and c: your life is blessed with many great things and you know it, so it makes you strong and ready to face whatever comes your way together to protect your dreams. i am sending positive vibes your way, with big hugs and kisses... if you need anything, really, reach out,you know where to find me!...
    p.s. and I didn't want to call and bother you guys with the baby schedule, but if we don't see each other soon, Lolo is never gonna fit in his tiny little, ahem, surprise... :)

  20. I hope your husband finds a position soon, I'm looking for a job myself so I know how hard it is to not know what the future holds. Good luck to both of you...and to Julian with his first "big-boy" bike! (My son just got his first bike this weekend so I know how excited your little guy must be with his!)

  21. Anonymous9:39 a.m.

    I know alot of us dont know you personally, but I am sure we can all tell alot of things from your blog. You are supportive of each other and go-getters. Those two things alone will enable you to overcome this small upset in your lives!!! Good luck and lots of good thoughts are coming your way!!

  22. Anonymous9:40 a.m.

    I am delurking to tell you that your post had me holding back tears. Not the part about your husband losing his job, but your response to this difficult turn of events. The training wheels are off, indeed. Your and your husband’s positive attitudes will carry the day; I am sure of it. Who knows what new opportunities this situation will bring? In the short time I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve been amazed at your ability to knit so many beautiful things while running a household and taking care of two lovely little boys. You will meet this new challenge with the same skill and grace.

  23. It is scary when everything's quite coooshy and then one day a bomb gets dropped like that. My DH just got laid off from his job of 5 years in January due to company downsizing. I know exactally what you're going through. There's up times and down times but you'll make it through. Your post is an insipiration to everyone going through a "rough time" right now. I'm am like you and I do believe something bigger and better will come out of this, the government is will to give my husband a complete career turn-around and send him to school since there are little to no jobs in his feild and I think this is a stepping stone to the bigger and better that's yet to come!
    Thanks for your story Anny!

  24. Your attitude and perspective is really inspiring! I wish you all the best on this new adventure as a family.

    Oh guess I've officially delurked!

  25. I`m so sorry to hear about what happens to your family.
    But you hav cute boys :-)
    Holding my fingers for your husband and his worksituation.

  26. The same thing happened to a good friend in Aug. of last year. She is also a stay-at-home mom, AND they were in the process of adoption. After prayer and perseverance, her husband found a much better position with a much better company, and although they were required to move, their life changed for the better! And they will be travelling to Korea in July to bring their daughter home!

    Try to stay positive, and focus on your faith and family!

  27. Anonymous11:56 p.m.

    I am so sorry about your husbands job.

    He should check out my company's website to see if anything interests him. We have people working out of Cananda, from home!

    I love your knits!

    best of luck


  28. What a great spirit you have! It's so scary - and liberating - when you are faced with a change and the idea that your life could be something completely different.

    I'm totally geeked by ravelry too :)

  29. Hang in there. I read your blog often and never post but I'll be thinking of you and your sweet family.

  30. Anonymous9:20 a.m.

    Dear Anny, I always read your blog, my never left a comment. It is a difficult moment, but you will overcome this. Do not give up and have faith! I will be praying for you and your family.
    take care
    Paty Ballarin

  31. Anonymous10:58 p.m.

    You are so correct about bigger and better things being on the way.

    I went through a job loss at Christmas last year and I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing. I have a better job with better pay, hours, benefits and I don't supervise anyone. I actually get to go home at five with everyone else (which for an accountant is a novel new concept to grasp).

    Keep thinking positive, because Great things are coming your way!!!

  32. Anonymous1:02 a.m.

    Delurking to say how sorry I am. DH lost his job when our DD was three mos. old. I know it is scary, but it all really was a blessing and we, thank goodness, did not miss a paycheck. I also asked DH who is in the IT biz, and he says Microsoft's Share Point is what is getting big now. Does that help? I will be thinking of you.

  33. Anonymous4:30 p.m.

    I'll be thinking of you and your family. Praying for some good opportunity for your husband.

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