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A couple of years ago the company changed my computer login to a series of numbers instead of my name; I should have realized the foreshadowing. Local news viewership is down and advertisers cut their budgets, so staff cuts aren’t shocking. But how my layoff happened is burned into my memory forever.

The TV station was buzzing that morning with rumors that four people had been let go. By 11:20 a.m., I thought I was safe. I was wrong. My heart dropped as the VP appeared and said we were going to see HR. She didn’t say anything during what seemed like the longest walk of my life.

When I got into the office, the HR director didn’t even say it. She just proceeded to go over endless benefit and severance pay information as the VP watched. I asked how long I had to pack up my stuff. There was silence. I got the hint. I told them I just needed to get my purse and cell phone. They protested and told me someone else could get them. I firmly argued that wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t want anyone handling my most personal belongings.

They relented and by 11:40 a.m. I was out the door, purse in hand. Upstairs, my desk was untouched. I left my email open, a Starbucks coffee still hot, and a daily to-do list half done sitting next to the keyboard.

— Tara Jelnicki,
Formerly of NBC 7/39

Tell us the story of your being laid off in the tanking economy and we will publish it and pay you ($50 for 250 words).

E-mail story to:
downsized@sdreader.com

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Comments

goofygal Feb. 5, 2009 @ 8:02 p.m.

Pretty brutal and impersonal, shame on NBC 7/39 and the shameless way they say thanks to an employee for their service. It is inhumane to not even say "we're letting you go because... thank you for your time and service here!" What comes around goes around, how unprofessional not the way to treat a human being. Thumbs down to NBC 7/39

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 6, 2009 @ 9:56 p.m.

No excuse for the actions stated here.

If you are going to downsize, you be honest, upfront and do your best-that was not what happened to this person- in fact it I would think acting in the manner here, cold and downright rude, could result very easily in a violent reaction.

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JustWondering Feb. 7, 2009 @ 7:33 a.m.

I'm just wondering if anyone verifies the veracity of these stories before posting them. In addition, is a story of a layoff from two years ago relevant to "todays" economics? Yes, a layoff is a layoff, but two years ago wasn't that about the time when Channel 39 changed majority ownership?

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 7, 2009 @ 12:13 p.m.

I sure do miss the Denise Yamada days from Chanel 39. She was my favorite newscaster.

Bob Dale too. Bob was such a great asset to San Diego, man I miss those people.

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SanDiegoExpert Feb. 9, 2009 @ 12:54 p.m.

I'm just wondering if JustWondering can read. She said her computer changed a couple of years ago not that she was laid off that long ago. Tara is a friend of mine and Just Wondering's comment is completely off base. She was let go in December and decided to share her sad story about today's economy. Any one of us who's been walked out the same day can sympathize.

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Barbarella Fokos Feb. 9, 2009 @ 1:34 p.m.

Tara, as someone who has been both laid off and let go more than once, I feel for you deeply. I hope your next venture is onward and upward, and wish you the best.

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NewsViewer Feb. 9, 2009 @ 1:40 p.m.

Let's face it downsizing sucks. The above article is well written. Even in the midst of being laid off, I see no disregard for writer's former employer even while telling her personal tale. I was laid off after the dot com boom and experienced something very similiar. As an avid news viewer seems to me that turn over is high in the news industry and that layoffs happen more frequently then you know.

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Blakely Sanford Feb. 9, 2009 @ 1:55 p.m.

Back in the very early 1990s I was a Computer Service Center Manger. This was back in the days of medium to big iron computers. We took work in, data entered it, processed it, compiled it and printed it and shipped out the finished reports to our clients. Times were changing as the world was switching from mainframe computing to desktop computing. The company I was working for had about 36 service centers nation wide in 1990 and had cut back to about 15 service centers by 1991. I had already been through a shut down and closing of one service center and was transferred from the Midwest to Philadelphia. My new Vice President, a man who did not like or respect me, had not been through a previous shut down of one of his centers, so I was not going to fill him in on how it would go. I had closely followed if and when the Philadelphia service center would be closed. Service centers are like the extremities of your body. They are the first to go as your home office begins to consolidate. Just as your body requires blood to circulate, a service center requires telephone and data lines to stay alive. All I had to do was have the guys in the home office watch and notify me of whose plugs were scheduled to be pulled and when. The guys in accounting would confirm whose company credit cards were being cancelled too.

So, on the day that I had figured out would be my last day, my new Vice President, was more nervous and antsy than usual. It was extremely unusual when he buzzed me and asked me to get a cup of coffee and join him in his office. He never had the time to sit down and talk to me. When I arrived, he was pacing in his office, hemming and hawing, trying to make small talk. Finally he said, “I just don’t know where to begin”. My reply was “Hell, Don, It’s over”. That took all the wind out of his sails. I will never forget my not letting him get the last word even on my last day. He didn’t get the pleasure of letting me go. That was May 22nd, 1992 the same last day as Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

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rbrocker Feb. 10, 2009 @ 7:23 p.m.

Justwonder,,as someone else said, Tara said her log in changed two years ago.

I know for a fact that she worked there until last last year.

As far as when the ownership changed, no it wasn't even close to two years ago. In 1992 NBC bought the station and has maintained majority ownership ever since. In 1998 they sold a small share to LIN TV, so NBC could buy into a Dallas station. But they continue to own the majority of the KNSD.

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rbrocker Feb. 10, 2009 @ 7:28 p.m.

Whoops..I meant she worked there until LATE last year!

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