Dumped and discarded

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The call came on the last day of my vacation.

“Hi Jeff. It’s ….. I guess you know why we’re calling.”

Hmmm. To tell me you’ve missed me?

To say take another couple of days off. You’ve earned it after all those years of working the night shift, extra hours and no sick days.

Just to be nice and say hi?

“No. Not really,” I answered. But I knew it couldn’t be good. In 16 years I had never received a good call. Same as most of my peers.

“Well, we’ve had to make some moves and we’re letting you go. We appreciate everything you’ve done for us, trying to keep us whole and ……”

I didn’t really hear much more. The rest was less about my new circumstances and more about his. Something which I really didn’t care about at the time.

Up until that phone call, this had been one of the best non-beach vacations in my life.

One of my nephews was graduating from boot camp at Parris Island. Instead of just doing a long drive straight there and back, Natalie and I planned a road trip with stops along the way.

A drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and along some scenic back roads took us to South Port, N.C., for the first night. A beautiful old coastal town near Wilmington, N.C.

Next up was a two-night stay in the historic district in Charleston, S.C. Beautiful  homes and streets. Delicious food. The friendliest people. When we were leaving I was already saying I wanted to come back.

And then it was on to meet the rest of the family in Beaufort, S.C.

We had rented a home on the river so all of us could stay together for Trevor’s graduation. Parents, grandparents, sister, aunts, uncles, friends.

Emotions were high. Tears and goosebumps were everywhere over the next two days.14702365_960748534047098_5618647891697483234_n

The final run and Thursday’s family day gathering and picnic gave us our first chance to see Trevor in months. The boy had become a man. A Marine.

Friday’s parade ground graduation ceremony was seen through big old tears.

I was so proud of him, of his dad and mom, his sister. Proud of our family.

It had been a tough year.

12208499_759471757508111_5048719198409074367_nWe were coming up on the first anniversary of Mama’s death. And although we were all trying our best to do what she asked, to carry on, to help each other … it had not been easy on any of us.

It had been almost a year of waking up every day and wishing it had all been just some bad dream.

It was wearing on all of us. Pops especially.

Trevor’s boot camp graduation was just what we needed. Something good to celebrate.

We returned home on Saturday and I was scheduled to return to work on Wednesday. I had some things to get done around the house before then but a big part was just to rest from the busy week and get my body back in night shift mode.

Tuesday afternoon my phone rang. I glanced at it and almost didn’t answer. It was a work number. But maybe someone had called out and they needed me to come in a day early for the night shift.

No. They didn’t need me. And would no longer need me.

Letting you go. Reducing staff. Thanks for everything. Going to be hard for us. Blah, blah, blah. The phone was handed to someone from HR. More blah blah blah and your package will come in the mail.

Two months later, I’m still feeling dumped and discarded … but I’m fighting back.

This will not get the best of me.

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It has tried. There have been days I probably should have talked to someone about depression and help for it. Still may consider it.

I will never again tell someone to just snap out of it. It’s not that easy.

Luckily I have a wife and family who love me. I have good friends who listen to me. I have a dog who appreciates me and a cat who tolerates me living in his house.

With their support, I’ve got this.

It may have taken me a little while to step into the ring. But I’m here now.

And the gloves are off.

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44 thoughts on “Dumped and discarded

  1. Well spoken. You also have many, many admirers of your written word. We miss opening the paper and seeing your columns. I, for one, now follow you on Facebook and feel to be a small part of your extended family. You are a strong man and will come out on the other side of this experience an even more wonderful man!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, you have friends… We looked forward to your columns, and now we’re looking forward to your blog, or your book, or whatever comes next for you. Lots of us have been dumped and discarded… Although I had an excellent 27-plus year run with DuPont, I got dumped in 2002. And got dumped a bunch more times (by better and worse) since then. It doesn’t hurt any less, but it does get easier. You will find your next great thing, I just know it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Talent, integrity, passion, emotion, humanity, work ethic and your generous spirit – it ought to matter. It does to all but the foolish. We know who they are. A paper is an intergal part of a community. Well, it should be. You helped keep this state connected and proud. Everything you brought to the table, to the laptop, to your social media, to the paper, it matters. Your public, your fans and friends have not discarded you! You made us #delaproud and we still are and our gloves are off too!

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  4. Sure haven’t lost your touch for telling a story and making us feel part of it.
    Been where you are (a couple times), and although despair can set in, things WILL get better. The skills of writing and at the same time connecting and communicating aren’t limited to newspapers or even just the written medium.
    And then there’s that family, dog, cat, food and travel expertise….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff,
    Even though we have never meet in person I feel like so many of your readers that feel we know you.
    Many times I read your column and thought we would become fast friends if we met in a bar(even if you are an Eagles fan.) This is were your thinking “nut job” but you are a very good writer and have you ever thought about doing free lance for a magazine? There is a coulmn in the back of southern living mag that we like and he writes about family.
    Just a thought. Sorry about any spelling or grammer, public school grad.

    Oh by the way, GO PACKERS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved your previous articles and am glad you have taken this step. I’d love to say “Welcome back..” but I’m not sure you are quite back, yet. Ah, but it is a step in the right direction. Yeah, you got this, it does not “got” you.

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  7. Welcome back, Jeff! Like so many others, I’ve missed your column in TNJ. My sister-in-law and I were just talking today about you and what a crappy paper it’s become since you and other talented writers have left. Having been on the receiving end of one of those “You’re no longer needed” conversations (mine after 24 years at DuPont, a place where I had literally grown up), I know the feelings of betrayal, disappointment, fear, and depression that sometimes overwhelm you. You have a wonderful support system (including all of us!) and you’ll eventually find where you’re meant to be. In the meantime, please continue to share your stories and perspectives with us – we love it!

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  8. WHO is doing your previous job? Do they have one less person on the payroll? The journal is delivered to our house, but I don’t bother reading it. Jim would read the journal and anything I wanted to read, I would read online. Since they got rid if you, I have only read the obituaries and that is not very often. Somehow I doubt that it will do any good to write a letter and until I can control my temper I know I need to keep myself off the telephone, but I am going to be calling the journal. One of my questions will be —– why did you not get rid of some of the idiots that do not know how to spell or to write? Just remember, this too shall pass. Janet

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  9. Well Jeffrey with all that went on this past year you more then proved that you are a survivor! I don’t know about your financial statis nor is it anyone’s business, but I think you are financially stable enough that you don’t have to jump at the first job that you can find! Which Thank God is a good thing! You have time to think and decide what you really want to do! It took me 2 years when I left my job as a pre-school teacher to find my current job! I subbed as a substitute teacher with Kelly educational and plus I still had my part time job with my Parrish church in the after school program! And now that school is closed! So someone was watching out for me (my mom & dad) just like your Ma Ma is watching out for you! This too will pass and in my case I found better job with way better benefits and salery! I will still keep you in my prayers! I know Ma Ma has this but extra prayers can’t hurt! 2017 is going to be your year!

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  10. I got dumped in April of 2015 .. thought it was the worst thing everrrrrrr… turned out to be the best. Sucks. Hurts. It’s stupid. But you are amazing…. your words inspire people, connect with people…. involve people….. and that is pretty special. Consider being dumped a gift ../ unwrap the next adventure in your career….: the best is yet to come .

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  11. As Winston Churchill said “Never, never never give up.” I know how you feel, as I was dumped by A.I. Children’s Hospital eight years ago this month. I survived,but sometimes still look back with bitterness. Your incredible take on life and your written words keep us uplifted and rootin’ for you! Stay strong, things will get better.

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  12. Your column was one of The worthwhile parts of the News Journal.
    I’ve been a reader of our local paper for more than 55 years. You would think in that amount of time they would have improved their product.
    Losing your talents is just putting another nail in their coffin.
    It won’t be much longer before I give up and remove the daily stroll to the end of driveway from routine.
    There won’t be a paper there.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your writings have always made us feel a part of your life and family. I feel very strongly that without your writings a lot of us would have thought we were going crazy and no one else experienced or understood our emotions of love, loss or just a funny situation. Thank you. Keep moving forward. Stay Strong and Stand Tall.

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  14. So glad you’re fighting back! You and your family have endured quite a bit this year. Everyone takes time to process and everyone processes at their own speed. Welcome back, Jeffrey!!! We’re all rooting for you❣

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  15. Yessss! The gloves are on and you better keep them on, Jeffrey. I loved this piece- you nailed it. So heartfelt as all of your work is. Thank you. Take it a day at a time and take time to heal. I lost my job last Jan – got the same call that you did. Devastated. But after 5 months I found the best job in the same field with the best emploer that I have ever had – in 30 some years. I know you will too. Talent like yours is a gift and your work is a treasure. It’s would be impossible for potential new employers not to recognize.this. Impossible, I tell you. You’ve got this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reading your column was one of the best parts of the day. You made me laugh and made me think made me grateful for things in my life. I have been reading the news journal most of my life. I started delivering the evening journal at six helping my brother with his route. I would take over the route at 12 years old. So I’ve seen a lot of changes in the business some of them good and some not so good but I will miss your writing. You will get through this. Life will be different but you will be okay . Take care.

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  17. You are a fantastic writer who easily allows your readers to feel that they are part of your family/friends. You always speak from your heart, while managing to involve us in your daily life.
    I know that this was not what you planned at this stage of your life. However, you will rise to the occasion and land on your feet. You are a special person and my God bless you every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ahh, it’s good to see the real you shining through again! The real you that’s been distilled down into a good writer. No office walls, no paycheck like a sword of Damocles, no superior to defer to; just pure and enjoyable you!

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  19. I’ve been waiting since that phone call for you to take this step and start writing again. I could say it’s cathartic, it’s good for you, it’ll keep your pencil sharp for your next opportunity, blah blah blah…truth is, I’ve missed your stories, man. You have a way of making me feel like I’ve been with you and Natalie and Pops and the whole family on every adventure, big or small, happy or sad. And that’s a gift, one that I’m used to you sharing. Welcome back, my friend, and thanks once again for sharing your life and your family through the power of your writing. Cant wait until the next wildly successful step in your journey. My best to you, and blessings every day.

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  20. Jeff, I’m entering two years having left there knowing that only doom was coming. Typically after so many years ( I had 32 yrs) you become a target. They can replace you with cheaper and leaner. I watched most of my long time co-workers and friends leave in four different painful “reductions” or buyouts. I understand your anger more than you know. As first floor Ops Mgr..I worked tirelessly at my desk, from home and through some weekends. I was proud to be part of the mgmt team. With past mgmt you were appreciated and valued. With new mgmt always comes changes but I saw in a few short months how heartless these people were and felt that I was now the next target. I started having panic attacks. I lost my father Dec 2014 and one day after returning from the funeral I felt I was being singled out and continually harrassed and decided that it was enough. I quit that day, walked through the lobby without saying a word to anyone. I did talk to outside sources as I knew local HR is a joke. I contacted the regional HR as I thought I had a relationship, well I got only a typical response so I knew they didn’t want to hear my side. Know that you are not alone, It was personal..for all of us and it’s tough to go against the corporate machine and their dollars. Just know you will get through it believe me. Just take the time to understand it – for them it’s all about the bottom line, payroll and profits. I promise you that except for a few fine folks left, the mgmt left are working with the only goal of hanging on till they too can get out. The rest are narcissitic control freaks. Take time to talk about it as it’s therapeutic, hell we could probably start our own group! I believe in Karma and those that treated us so poorly will get their day and maybe just maybe we’ll hear they did soon! I’m working again in the industry and yes for less but I’m stressless so It’s all good on the outside of that building ! Feel Better, you are so worth it.

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  21. I always enjoyed reading your NJ column. The stories about your family, memories of growing up and especially pets were something that made me laugh and at times, moved me to tears. You wrote about a lot of things people could relate to and you made us feel like family. Don’t ever doubt your ability to write. YOU were the HEART of the newspaper and they were wrong to let you go. This too shall pass.

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  22. I’ve so missed your writing! Please know that you have many fans who are anxious for you to share your stories! I believe we are each in the exact place we need to be . Dumped and Discarded? No! More like, “Let Go to Soar!” Please continue following your Bliss! It’s means as much to us as it means to you!!

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  23. When my mother left the News Journal after many years as an editor, along with seven others that day, she was shocked for a while, but turned it into a really good thing. She moved to St. Croix to be near my brother, and decided if she was going to start over, it might as well be in one of her favorite places. She always found work as long as she wanted it. Good people always find work. One day you will probably be glad this happened. It will be exciting to see what you choose to do. Have you given any thought to teaching what you know?

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  24. Beautifully written as always. I especially like the photo you included of your family with Brenda in color and the rest of you in black and white – so poignant. I am glad to see you writing again and hope this will be a regular thing.You will triumph, Jeffrey

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  25. Don’t think “Dumped and Discarded”, think “Saved” from a sinking ship. Times they are a changing. Delaware never thought DuPont and the many workers and families it supported would go away.
    The News Journal seems to be on borrowed time, losing readership, ad revenue and becoming an outlet for old news. Most of the comments from readers note they mainly read the obituaries. Even hardcore folks that just like the cup of coffee with the newspaper in their hands are finding there’s more substance to the coffee. Keep at it, you’ll find your niche . . .

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  26. Welcome to the clubs, both the exNJers and bloggers. Glad to hear you are still standing; some members aren’t. Human support is necessary when institutional support fails or is removed. If you have that you’ll survive. A blog does help, it feels good to continue to do what you signed up to do decades ago, whatever that was, even if it is a self-panopticon like mine.
    Some “good” news: We were the last generation that invested a large portion of our being in work. Kids these days, don’t rely of a job to be who they are. They know that what we thought of as careers are just jobs. They know that the top dogs at assorted corporations offering employment see the rest us as renewable resources to exploit in their bonus factories. The kids plan accordingly, they keep their skills current and their boxes packed. It isn’t good for community, geographic or professional, but it keeps families feed.
    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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