One year ago this week I was handed the Christmas present every working person fears – a pink slip. I had successfully remained employed, in a non-core business, through several rounds of massive downsizing. A customer slow to to re-up on a contract renewal meant that when the quarterly belt tightening came around I was unbooked into the next quarter. That was enough to make me expendable in a mandatory headcount reduction.***
With a wife and two kids (and a third on the way at the time) things couldn’t have looked worse. We were fortunate to have some savings, and I got a pretty basic severance package (though I had only been at the company for 2 years), so we were in no danger of immediate poverty. Of course counterbalancing that was the fact that we live in the hyper-expensive suburbs of Northern Virginia and have a mortgage that would make most people gag.
I wrote at the time that I was going to test the economic recovery first-hand. It took several months, but I landed on my feet in a better situation for me personally, financially, and professionally. In that sense it was a necessity is the mother of invention kind of moment for me.
All of that is background to the real story or kindness I experienced. I noted here at Wizbang that I’d gotten the worst news possible at the worst time of the year. To my amazement bloggers and readers started giving and didn’t stop until $900 was sitting in my PayPal account. While this floored me, it absolutely shocked my wife.
The money generously given to me and my family has never been forgotten, since it was the money that provided Christmas in our household – seriously. Immediately after the layoff we sat down and worked the numbers to see how long we could go with no income. In our planning we both quickly agreed that as much as we might not like it, Christmas gifts were going to have to be part of the sacrifice.
That outpouring of support allowed us to stick to our budget but still buy gifts for the kids and each other. For that I am eternally grateful to the blogosphere. Rather than send money to each individual who sent money to us last year, I’m going to take $1,000 and donate it to a Northern Virginia charity that will provide a Christmas to a family in need, in the name of those who supported me last year. Call it “paying it forward.” or whatever else you’d like call it; just remember that you all started it here last year.
I’ll announce the name of the charity in the coming weeks – must do some research – and add any PayPal or Amazon donations received this month to my total donation.
It’s my way of saying thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart.
*** Several months later my former company called to see if I was available to do the oft-delay project. Needless to say I wasn’t…