Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome to the Asylum

It couldn't have been a more perfect September day. The sun was high and warm, but not hot. A perfect day for the farm market.

And so I left the cottage and headed uptown, looking for some end-of-summer veggies, early fall fruit and a bakery treat to take to a potluck when I would meet Rick as he continued his four-day ride.

But when I hit town, the farm market wasn't there. In its place was an antique show -- a divine antique show, where it seemed every booth had something nice to offer.

And that was when I saw this.

I wanted it desperately, but it was a tad pricey. I suspect it came from a doorway and was now framed in distressed white wood.

But I knew precisely where I would put it (if I could afford it). I would hang it in my office. I would prefer to hang it elsewhere in my building, but that would do.

Things are tough for public television stations everywhere these days. When I attended my conference in January, there was a notable decrease in attendance, with travel budgets cut across the country. The digital transition desperately hurt stations, and the economy has been none too helpful either.

Face it, if you're going to be laid off, probably the items near the top of your scrimp-and-save budget will be donations and subscriptions. You can look at public television either way, and either way, we are in a bad position. (I suppose this might be a good time to remind bloggers who enjoy PBS that the March pledge drive will soon be here.)

Things have been rough at our station, too. In January, four of my colleagues received layoff notices. Another three found other jobs. One took an indefinite leave of absence.

And all that makes people a little crazy. We all have certain anxiety, knowing the layoff situation is far from over. Some departments, due in part to layoff plus voluntary departures, are really strapped. Prioritizing has become key, and will continue to be so.

Oh yes, and don't spend any money, either.

It sometimes seems as though we're all walking about in a bit of a fog, caught up in a web not of our own making. We have a multitude of emotions: sadness for colleagues, stress with increased workload, concern in knowing this is but step one, anxiety as we look at our obligations -- mortgages, college tuition, medical bills. My colleagues face it all. For that matter, I deal with some of those things, too.

Today was the last day for some of our colleagues. I worry and hope they'll be all right.

The layoffs are one part of our stress. Another is the reorganization of the station in general and my work group in particular. I don't know who my boss will be; we know we will probably have to move offices (and if you've read the Gypsy for awhile, imagine my office as an extension of my home art room on a bad day!). Actually, moving could be a very good thing for me!

But it's still stressful. So we get a little crazy. A little insane.

And yes, the inmates are running the asylum.


Janet said...

The sign is definitely eye-catching! It's sad to read about all the problems and lay-offs in your work. We support PBS but I have to say we've done less this past year. And I'm sure this year won't be any different. I hope your office doesn't have to move but as you said it could be a good thing.

Joanne Huffman said...

You could always make a sign - or ask a Photoshopping friend to make you one. Lay offs are tough. My younger daughter still hasn't found a job (she never really had one to be laid off from).

Mae Travels said...

I'm a big fan of the Lansing station, and wish you the best. And I just checked, I did make my annual contribution -- but will try to do more this year.

Mae Travels said...

OK, I just wrote a check!

Wrightboysmum said...

That sign is great and is important. Things like that help you cope with all the change and uncertainty ahead. If quizzed remember it's a morale boost. It made me smile today!

BONNIE K said...

I love that sign, and I agree you should have one made, cheaply! Layoffs are very stressful for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Great sign. Dark humor increases with stress and seems to diminish it. I guess it's like whistling past the graveyard. Sorry to hear about the layoffs. These are tough times for so many people. I hope your job remains secure.

joyce said...

I would pay almost anything for that sign!!
Seriously though, its sad to hear how hard you are being hit. I have to confess I don't know much about public television, where we live its sattelite or nothing, but you're right, in tough times its those little luxuries that are the first to go. The tide is turning towards better times here in Canada, is that the trend "down south" as well?

Anya said...

That sign looks a little magical
Lovely post !!!!

Have a nice sunday :-)

Linda said...

So you didn't buy it? hmmm... I can make one. I am sorry ... pbs is struggling...

Debbie said...

I feel like that sign should have been over my door today - I have had the day from hell. I then went to my letter box and received a beautiful card from a dear blog friend on the other side of the world. I just loved it - thank you so much xo

jet1960 said...

I know how you feel, Jeanie! We went through that as one year before they ended up selling and closing the hospital a bunch of people were laid off. Creates very conflicting and difficult feelings. My thoughts are with you my friend. said...

I hear that things are picking up with the economy. I hope that its true for your business too, and that the March drive will be a success! What would we all do without our PBS and NPR????

Peter said...

Times are nervous and difficult for many! I'm happily reitired, but my kids and friends are not! I hope this insane climate will soon change!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

That sign IS a good one!
Sure hoping things turn around for our economy sooner than later!
I am a BIG PBS fan!

Becca said...

All those changes in the workplace, along with the concerns and fears, are definitely crazy making. Although my company's business is doing well, we're still actively involved in cost cutting measures, which includes fewer people doing more work. One of those is me - sigh.

Thinking good and sane thoughts for you and your co-workers :)

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