Could be any of us…

If only everything could be solved with that little button…

Consider this.

You go to work, the same place for 18 years. Every day. Eighteen years. You count of that paycheck and you’re pretty sure it will be coming tomorrow and the next day. That job, that company is your livelihood. Your everything.

Now, this scenario isn’t uncommon. Neither is the second part of my point. Imagine waking up and going to work as normal. But this day is different. You are called onto the floor along with more than 1,500 other workers and told that your job will be cut. The portion of the company that you work for is shutting down.

Again, not uncommon. But it’s exactly what happened here in Emporia when Tyson Fresh Meats decided to nix slaughter from its Emporia plant. Boom, more than 1,500 jobs gone nearly instantly. The workers get severance pay, however, this won’t last long and quick decisions have to be made.

Emporia hosted a job fair Saturday for Tyson workers where six states were represented — all looking to recruit some of the highly skilled workers. I covered this job fair for the paper and was stunned at the turnout. There was more than 1,000 people there. It was wall-to-wall people.

As I passed people I just stopped and took in the scene. There were a variety of emotions etched on people’s faces that ranged from desperation, determination,
, fear and hope. It was all there represented in one way or another.

The massive turnout illustrated the impact this kind of layoff has on people and the community at large. As I spoke to several of these former employees, I was told over and over they wanted to stay in Emporia. Their lives are here. Their families. But if they had to, they would pick up and move. That last part was often said with much sadness.

Sure, companies change. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed us. But that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow when we get dealt a card like this.

My thoughts are with all those that lost their jobs. It could be any of us. Anytime.

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