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One Year On

One year ago this week I was handed the Christmas present every working person fears - a pink slip. I had successfully remained employed, in a non-core business, through several rounds of massive downsizing. A customer slow to to re-up on a contract renewal meant that when the quarterly belt tightening came around I was unbooked into the next quarter. That was enough to make me expendable in a mandatory headcount reduction.***

With a wife and two kids (and a third on the way at the time) things couldn't have looked worse. We were fortunate to have some savings, and I got a pretty basic severance package (though I had only been at the company for 2 years), so we were in no danger of immediate poverty. Of course counterbalancing that was the fact that we live in the hyper-expensive suburbs of Northern Virginia and have a mortgage that would make most people gag.

I wrote at the time that I was going to test the economic recovery first-hand. It took several months, but I landed on my feet in a better situation for me personally, financially, and professionally. In that sense it was a necessity is the mother of invention kind of moment for me.

All of that is background to the real story or kindness I experienced. I noted here at Wizbang that I'd gotten the worst news possible at the worst time of the year. To my amazement bloggers and readers started giving and didn't stop until $900 was sitting in my PayPal account. While this floored me, it absolutely shocked my wife.

The money generously given to me and my family has never been forgotten, since it was the money that provided Christmas in our household - seriously. Immediately after the layoff we sat down and worked the numbers to see how long we could go with no income. In our planning we both quickly agreed that as much as we might not like it, Christmas gifts were going to have to be part of the sacrifice.

That outpouring of support allowed us to stick to our budget but still buy gifts for the kids and each other. For that I am eternally grateful to the blogosphere. Rather than send money to each individual who sent money to us last year, I'm going to take $1,000 and donate it to a Northern Virginia charity that will provide a Christmas to a family in need, in the name of those who supported me last year. Call it "paying it forward." or whatever else you'd like call it; just remember that you all started it here last year.

I'll announce the name of the charity in the coming weeks - must do some research - and add any PayPal or Amazon donations received this month to my total donation.

It's my way of saying thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart.

*** Several months later my former company called to see if I was available to do the oft-delay project. Needless to say I wasn't...


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Comments (19)

Well, as a telcom worker, s... (Below threshold)

Well, as a telcom worker, still dodging the layoff monster, .......having lived in Northenr Virgina for 3 years before I moved out west. .......

I feel for anyone in that situation.... you get a my donation...

Glenn in Olympia Wa.

Wonderful story, Kevin. I ... (Below threshold)

Wonderful story, Kevin. I was thinking about this and I do believe that the nicest Christmas present, gift, I've ever received was a visit by a group of singing teenagers from my local Parish, visiting me with a Christams Carols on Christmas Eve. It just was a wonderful gift to receive.

What a wonderful idea, Kevi... (Below threshold)

What a wonderful idea, Kevin.

I'm also very glad to see that things are right in Whizbang land THIS Christmas.

Merpy Chriskwanzukkah to you and your lovely family!


You must attract a higher q... (Below threshold)

You must attract a higher quality reader than me, Kev. I lost my job a month ago and got nothin'. A lot of people will be getting cards in place of presents this year. So how to attract more affluent readers?

Egg and silver spoon race?

Caviar cookoff?

Or just some good old fashioned nudity?

Incidentally, the week you lost your job was the week I started reading Wizbang, so this is kinda like my blogiversary here. Any excuse to drink before noon :)

They say that giving is be... (Below threshold)
Steel Turman:

They say that giving is better than receiving.

They are wrong.

Being the recipient of a gift of love will change your

And to be able to reciprocate is the greatest gift
of all.

Merry Christmas Kevin.

What a heartwarming story K... (Below threshold)

What a heartwarming story Kevin. Thank you.
I didn't start reading Wizbang until around Septemeber of this year so I was not aware of your history until today. Your generosity plays as an example for all to follow.
Happy Holidays to you and your family Kevin and thank you again for giving us all a WIZ of a time.

Very cool, Kevin!... (Below threshold)
Bucky Katt:

Very cool, Kevin!

well now that's just rude!!... (Below threshold)

well now that's just rude!! I encountered "surf control" while trying to donate thru paypal. Anyone know how I can get around that???

Don't mean to get all weepy... (Below threshold)
Jim Hines:

Don't mean to get all weepy on you ...but that was a freaking up lifting post.

Merry Christmas all...

Yes I said Christmas.

: )

very good of you. Thanks.<... (Below threshold)

very good of you. Thanks.

Great story. Are you still... (Below threshold)

Great story. Are you still in No. Va? I thought you were in NH now?

Cool idea.And I'm ... (Below threshold)

Cool idea.

And I'm glad things are looking up for you.

Dude, I feel all warm and f... (Below threshold)

Dude, I feel all warm and fuzzy right now. Thanx.

If you're looking for a cha... (Below threshold)
JM Galvin:

If you're looking for a charity that helps provide Christmas presents, you might consider the Toys for Tots program. It's affiliated with the Marine Corps.

Another charity you might b... (Below threshold)

Another charity you might be interested in is Angel Tree, which provides Christmas for children who have a parent in prison.

Gosh. What a wonderful stor... (Below threshold)

Gosh. What a wonderful story.

Wow man. Maybe human being ... (Below threshold)

Wow man. Maybe human being are not so bad after all.

AmenI think it is ... (Below threshold)


I think it is not a gift to receive, but a test. If you are humble enough to accept the gift when you are in need, then it parallels with being humble enough to let christ into your life.

Foolish pride can ruin the ones we love a lot worse than any humility.

I also agree that to be able to reciprocate in kind, by helping someone else out, is the greatest gift ever given.

May God bless us all.

Aw, you're making me cry ov... (Below threshold)

Aw, you're making me cry over here Kevin! What a great story. God's Blessings to you and your family, and Merry Christmas.

I'm hoping I'll have a similar story to tell next year at this time, after MY job disappears, which it will sometime between now and then.






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