Mass Employment Layoffs (Bell Helicopter Edition)… A Wife’s Perspective

My husband’s company is currently going through its 3rd or 4th large round of employment layoffs (by the thousands) and this has been going on for about two years.  It’s my understanding that workforce morale is at an all-time low and tension is at an all-time high.  This group of workers matters to me.  They are the people that my husband has worked with for ten years.  They have gone through good times, bad times, child births, graduations, marriage, divorce, weight loss, weight gain, deaths of co-workers, deaths of spouses, medical issues and prayer requests together for the past decade.  Just last week at Girls Night Out one of the women mentioned that her next door neighbor just got laid off from Bell.  This is real life stuff.

Pretend you are looking at houses using Google Satellite view.  You type in an address to a house that you are interested in buying and the screen is zoomed in very closely to the roof top of the house.  You can see every single area that has been windblown, some cracks, a shingle that’s missing, discoloration from the Texas sun.  In your mind you’re thinking, this house doesn’t seem to be very well taken care of.  In fact, you think it needs a brand new roof.  Maybe the house is too old or will need too much work to repair.  You zoom out and see that the roof is very large.  Wow, this must be a large house.  Looking at the roof from a distance, you don’t even notice all of the faults with the roof.  You zoom out more.  You can now see a large lot, beautiful pool with landscaping, a winding driveway leading up to a gated entrance to the house, and very few if any flaws are noticeable.  From this perspective you can see the beauty of the home overall rather than each and every crack and flaw.  I think that’s what “in your face problems” are like.  When you are up close and in the fire, it’s sometimes difficult to see the bigger – and much more beautiful – picture.

Right now, I know the employment stress is noticeable up close.  From what I’ve been told, it’s brutal and feels beyond repair by many.  But, from the outside looking in, there’s still a lot of beauty.  Damaged.  Difficult.  But beautiful underneath.  Like a rescued dog LOL.

I see a company that has put a ton of time, energy and money into recruiting, training and maintaining solid, dependable employees.  The five years that I have personally watched this company have left me amazed, and a bit jealous, with the amount of support and generosity they have shown my husband which is far more than I have ever seen as an employee, such as:

Family Oriented – When my husband was in Canada for 4-5 weeks, they flew him home for the holidays.  Thanksgiving, I think  They have had family events including company picnics, Six Flags day, the Air show to see the Blue Angels, the Air Show to see the Thunderbirds, and other family events that they provide for their (very large) number of employees.   Our kids love it!  They think Dad has the coolest job ever on the planet.  And at these events, the CEO, VPs and department directors walk around meeting the families.  They aren’t just nameless positions that are filled with warm bodies.  These are real people and they are accessible.

Medical Assistance – They provide excellent health and medical benefits.  When my husband severely dislocated and broke his wrist (while showing off his mad skating rink skills), Bell allowed him all of the necessary medical time off work (paid) and the health insurance that they provide him (at no charge to  him) covered all of his medical expenses except the deductible.  He was hospitalized 2-3 days and required surgery so that was a pretty big deal to me.  Thanks Bell 🙂

Other Great Benefits – Aside from providing health and medical for the past 10 years, they provide life insurance for my entire family at a fair price, have 401k matching, and my personal favorite is that they have paid for my husband to go back to college.  How many companies do you know that will pay for your college tuition and books?  Bell truly seems to put forth the funds needed to train and improve their employees knowledge base (likely in hopes that those workers will bring those extra skills back into the workplace).

Encouragement – My husband has come home absolutely beaming a time or two after meeting with his superiors or those leading projects and programs.  I am sure that there are some tough personalities in the mix as there are at every business, but there are also some GREAT leaders in the mix who do an excellent job of bringing out the best in people.  I’ve seen it.

Religious Freedom – One of my favorite things about Bell is that they support religious freedom.  Last week they invited each of their locations to participate in the National Day of Prayer and a year or two ago (man, time flies) my husband held a weekly bible study at Bell called Lunchtime Manna (LTM).  It makes me so happy to see employees gather together to support, encourage and pray for one another.  (Which reminds me of my fiery red headed friend at work).

Friendships – Not long ago my husband and I went to visit a local church.  We didn’t know anyone and really did not expect to make any connections, but then my husband ran into another Bell employee who attends church there.  Now they meet once or twice a week for Bible Study and home group.  In fact, my husband is there right now.  The group meets weekly at a home in our own HOA neighborhood.  We likely never would have known that if it had not been for that workplace connection.   Also, I’ve developed some friendships with my husband’s co-workers.  One woman who was attending LTM was going through a difficult divorce and got laid off.  She was very discouraged and understandably stressed out.  My husband asked me to connect with her and we did.  A year later, she and her husband have gotten back together and she was even able to go back to work.  Just yesterday she sent me a Happy Mother’s Day text.  I’m so thankful for those connections.

Employees, including my sweet husband, hang in there.  Storms of life come and go. And as the Words in Red say “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer….” John 16:33.

Be of good cheer.  If possible, zoom that lense out just a bit and take a look at some of the GREAT things that you’ve been a part of there.  The people that have encouraged you.  The friendships that you’ve made.  The blessings your families have received during your time there.  Those are eternal and things that this economy can never take away from you.

Sometimes perspective is everything.

~Social media hugs

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1 Response to Mass Employment Layoffs (Bell Helicopter Edition)… A Wife’s Perspective

  1. Amy says:

    Indeed! Sometimes when you look at someone else’s life, you fail to realize how close it resembles your own. Usually, everyone hides what they do not want others to see and only reveal what they want to be seen. Sometimes you wish what someone else has, but I promise you do not want it. Everyone has their own burdens to bear. It is very nice – and just so you – that you go out of your way to help others and to remind them that this too shall pass.

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