Given the weak economy and relative scarcity of decent journalism jobs, this has got to be a terrible week for Courant journalists who were offered buy-out packages. They reportedly have until Friday to decide whether to take the deal or potentially watch the room suffer more layoffs at the hands of a cold-hearted corporation that is bankrupt both financially and ethically.
I faced this same decision years ago when the company was twice as generous with its severance package and half as desperate. I hope, for the sake of younger journalists, that there are some veterans like me who can afford to jump ship and would enjoy it. I missed (and still sometimes miss) the camaraderie of the newsroom, but am glad I did not have to witness the daily disintegration and dismemberment of such a fine and powerful operation.
Still, I am sure that the many people who were forced out then and since have endured many months of uncertainty and, in many cases, have not yet recovered from the loss financially or in their pursuit of a career. Journalists are an intelligent and adaptable bunch, but I would not wish the difficulties of transition on anyone — least of all my former colleagues who have mortgages to pay and children to put through college.
If I were in their shoes, I would put my head down and hope the scythe misses me once again while I look for a less painful way out.
And one other reminder for those who must decide who goes: Bank your bonus, because your odds of being next grow larger with every person you dismiss.