Hello, Goodbye

echo peeps circa 2007

Ah my echopeeps, how I will miss you all. Okay, not all of you, but most of you. Okay, okay – a handful of you! The rest of you are dead to me. Especially that Brian Matthews guy. Oh, and Eric Bradford. That guy is TOTALLY dead to me.

Now that all of our clients have been informed, I can finally let all my friends and family know about the huge news for Jen and I regarding what has been happening here in London. Ticketmaster has decided they no longer require a dedicated echo team in London, my two coworkers will be leaving the company and I will be transitioning to another team inside the London office.

On 15 April, about two weeks after Jen started her new job, echo had a company wide staff meeting (very common) which Janita and I attended via video-conference (again very common). In this meeting Ticketmaster informed echo of their intentions to close the Nashville office in 60 days.

This was HUGE news for everyone I have worked with for the last five years of my life – people I have grown to love and call friends. They would be loosing their jobs at a time when the economy is worse than anytime since the Great Depression and on top of it all we had very little explanation of why (two months later there are rumors around why, but I have no desire to participate in that conversation). The real kicker of this news was the implications for the Europe office, especially my position.

Immediately following the end of this meeting, the director of human resources and the head of technology took Janita and I into a small meeting room and informed us of how this would be impacting our office – and our jobs. Unfortunately there was not a definitive answer. We were told the UK office would be conducting a review of the business here and one of the possible outcomes of this review could be the termination of our employment. I started sweating bullets.

The thing not everyone understands about the position Jen and I are in is how we are tied to Ticketmaster while we are living here. Similarly to a job transfer in the states, TM offered me a job in another city and paid to relocate me. However, this is where the similarities end. As I am in a foreign country, I have a visa (work permit) which is ‘sponsored’ by TM and any change of employment must be authorized by the government. This is basically the governments way of protecting its citizens (which I totally understand) – keep what jobs are here available first to British citizens.

Further to my right to work being tied to Ticketmaster, Jen’s right to work is also tied to my position with Ticketmaster. So if I loose my job, not only can I not easily find another job, but Jen could possibly have to quit hers, we are forced to leave the country, and return to the states with debt, no jobs, and no place to live (except the couches of the fine loving people like you reading this). …oh, and no health insurace, because we are on the National Healthcare System here. As you can see, we both had reason to be stressed.

And then the news about Jen’s mom. It was insult to injury. Our lives were absolutely being thrown into turmoil.

While we were back in the states for the funeral, TM here was conducting their review of the business and, though we did not yet know it, deciding to put things on hold. It was not as apparent as this and certainly NOT my concern while we were back stateside, but in the end that is how it played out.

The initial proposal was to continue offering the service and moving our various job functions into other departments, but we were told the US would not be able to offer the support we needed for the next 6-12 months and as a result the echo positions would be made redundant. Janita and I were both offered positions on other teams though she declined the offer. Adrian actually decided to pursue his dream of teaching Geography and coaching rugby.

So all this time, since 15 April when TM informed the Nashville office, we have been asked many times by our colleagues about what was happening with the Europe office. Sadly we had no answer. There were rumors constantly coming out of Nashville that the decision had already been made and the business review here was simply a formality even though Adrian, Janita and I were all reassured, repeatedly, this was not the case.

All of this uncertainty and concern over our right to live in the country meant Jen and I felt we should keep this to ourselves until a decision had been made. We are not the sort of people who like keeping things from friends and family, but in this case we had NO information to give and what we could say was only just enough to make people worry and possibly endanger my job.

So in summary, and I am sorry this story did not have a short version, been under a LOT of stress here regarding my job and all the implications around loosing it. Can you imagine if I had lost my job and we found out Jen was pregnant? All I could think was how I would have no insurance in the states and have to go into CRAZY debt to pay for the birth of the child and any possible complications.

Anyway, things appear to be settling down now. I have started transitioning onto the Content and Design team in the TM London office and will probably move my desk this week.

I know a lot of people are probably saying this given the current economic climate, but it is a relief to have a job – fo realz.