Yesterday I trekked down to southern Ohio to visit an old client site. We are a vendor on this site.
Personally, I had given up the site about 18 months ago, since they aren't really in my region anymore, but sometimes circumstances prevail.
The site is closing up shop for good. I knew it would be before transitioning off the account those now many moons ago. The staff knew it would too. No one knew it would stay open for as long as it did.
Some staff left for new adventures and a more secure paycheck. Others stayed on because they knew they had a good gig and would get a retention bonus if they were there on the last day. In reality there weren't many, if any, options for the staff. To get a job meant to relocate.
This is a town that had been featured on '6o Minutes' and was a huge stop for both McCain and Obama during the '08 election cycle - multiple times. The town and job situation are a vicious cycle too. To relocate meant that folks would have to attempt to sell their houses - or abandon them. No one is buying real estate here - not when the biggest employer is Wal*Mart and there had been 8,600 lay offs at one plant. Sad.
So I joined my replacement and went down to say good-bye and take them out to lunch. The staff had dwindled from 41 members or so, down to 10. Still it is a better percentage of retention than the client we worked for. But it was sad - all day long.
I'm sure I said some right things and a bunch of wrong ones. I did appreciate all they had done and how loyal they had been. I wished them all luck going forward, but it didn't sound right. None have jobs or prospects currently - though most are employable............just not in this town.
I'm sure I said I'd keep in touch, when I know I won't. I don't have their non-work email addresses and hell, I've been off the account for a year and a half. We're not close anymore.
Still, I'm glad I went.
Song by: Rosanne Cash