Monday, March 9, 2009
That's not to say Dave and I have been untouched by the crisis in our day-to-day lives. Dave works for a large oil field services company (we'll call it OFS, for short) that has gone through not one but two major layoffs since last summer. Fortunately for us, Dave has been spared thus far. But even small changes have been noticed around the office. OFS has slashed budgets across the board, bonuses, and even suspended the plant watering services and the office candy jars -- the latter much to Dave's chagrin. Back in the 1980s, OFS even resorted to suspending janitorial services (gross). Given Dave's employment at OFS, we, like much of Houston, are in the rather unique position of wanting oil and natural gas prices to rebound.
As for me, Energy Company continues to struggle (the economic losses we suffered due to Hurricane Ike and some other power industry-related issues were staggering) and the tight credit markets have only exacerbated the situation. Last week, Energy Company announced a sale of half of its business to a competitor, and I will be leaving (along with about 1300 other employees) to go work for this competitor. All in all, the sale was a good thing, not just for Energy Company, but for the transferred employees. We're all keeping our jobs, and in a major equity sale, that's highly unusual. I will say, for the record, that I have been incredibly impressed by Energy Company's treatment of its employees every step of the way. Employees were guaranteed at least 50% of their target 2008 annual bonuses and received nominal salary increases this year while officers and SVPs received their actual earned bonuses and no pay bumps. All these moves may not have made shareholders happy (Energy Company's stock has lost 95% of its value since its high in July 2008), but its kept its employees loyal, something I think is far more important in the long run.
If you feel like sharing, let me know how things have been for you. We're in this together, after all, and the bad times are always easier when the burden is shared (and we allow ourselves at least a little opportunity to bitch).