Saying Goodbye

We've had some cutbacks here at Disney recently. That really shouldn't come as news to anyone who's been in this business a while. Layoffs and cutbacks are simply part of the corporate game. People are brought on and let go on a regular basis. Never one to try and make sense of the corporate mentality it usually boils down to numbers on a ledger. That means a company has either too many or too few employees. In any case, if you're not in a “safe zone,” expect to be shown the door at any time.

I remember a time when layoffs were expected and in some cases eagerly anticipated. When I worked in Saturday Morning Television back in the day, layoffs were a way of life. Studios staffed up in the spring, and cut back in the fall. This was the way things worked back then and most had grown used to it. In the old days of network television, ABC, CBS and NBC would order their shows in the spring. If you worked at one of the production studios that meant you were in for a very busy summer. The network shows went on the air in mid-September and usually by October all the work had been completed. The large crews at each animation studio was trimmed and a handful stayed on to do development work for next season. This was the way things went for years, and for most it was simply a way of life.

The loss of a job is never a fun thing and for many it can be a traumatic experience. However for most of us die hard animation veterans it was just another bump in an already bumpy road. On more than one occasion I've watched employees freak out when informed that they were being let go. There was usually weeping and gnashing of teeth along with some pretty odd behavior. I've seen employees dragged out by security and I remember one angry woman throwing food across the office. On the other hand, the animation employees simply packed up their belongings and quietly headed out the door. Losing a job was nothing unusual and one had best simply move on.

Of course, I can't help but feel a little sorry for those who were sent packing. After all, they have a mortgage and a car payment that need to be paid. Many leave feeling betrayed by the company. I usually tell them the company hasn't betrayed you because they probably never even knew or cared you were here. It's not even worth the energy to rail at the big corporation that couldn't care less you were ever there. Move on and you'll probably find that your life is going to be that much better. So, my advice is to adopt an animation sensibility when you get that pink slip. Know that you're good at what you do and you'll always work again. In the meantime, enjoy a much needed vacation. You've earned it.