Road block or goodbye? I got laid off.

– road-block –, originally uploaded by Jacqueline ter Haar.

This has been a weird week. I received my 90-day layoff notice on Monday. My last day at MPOW will be August 1. It sucks, but it’s just a sign of larger problems. The institute I work for is crumbling since most of the research funding and contracts have been pulled. I, and my colleague from the library, am just one in a line of several layoffs. Research groups are folding, students are scrambling to find new research topics, everybody is on the line. As I alluded to in my last post, the 35% cut was optimistic. Reality is closer to 50%. Pretty dire, eh?

The most overwhelming thing for me is not the prospect of finding a new job, looking at my options, or asking “what next”. Instead, it’s been the warmth and support of my fellow transportation librarians. Seriously, this is one of the greatest groups of people to work with – a real sense of family and community. Within hours of word getting out about my layoff, I received emails offering condolences, support, and help. This is why I will do everything I can to stay withing the family. I really love being a transportation librarian, and while that might not always be my official title, it’s the niche for me. I can’t leave you, folks!

So what is next? Well, it’s time to branch out and make positions. Subcontract for people? Indexing? Getting serious about data management? Almost everything is fair game (except moving). I’ll take this week to figure these things out and continue playing with python.

It’s a sad time, but more for the transportation research community than anything else. I know my story’s not unique, which is what makes it even worse.






5 responses to “Road block or goodbye? I got laid off.”

  1. Stuart Benjamin Avatar

    Sorry to read this, it’s bad news. Here at TRL in the UK we’ve faced a large number of lay-offs of library staff, only two of us are left. We too have had many messages of support and find comfort that we’re not alone.

  2. Eileen Avatar

    To make use of what is there, make use of what is not. ~Lao Tzu

  3. Barbara Post Avatar
    Barbara Post


    I am really sorry to hear about the cuts at Berkeley Transportation Library. Your library was so important to the Transportation Community. I hope you can stay involved with TRB and the transportation library community. Your knowledge and spirit are needed. Let me know if I can help in any way.


  4. Qin Tang Avatar

    Hi Kendra,
    I just heard about this from a coworker. Sorry about the cuts in your state/library. I was laid off (bumped out of my position) in 2003 and was fortunate to get right back in. I have a friend who was laid off from a big company and then started her own business and is doing very well. So I can feel your pain in a way but also remain optimistic that something good or better could come out of it.
    You have probably heard this – In Chinese, crisis also means opportunity.
    Best of luck to you.

  5. John Cherney Avatar
    John Cherney

    I’m so sorry to hear about your job and the cuts at your library. Your extremely large wealth of talent, your great attitude and super pleasant personality will be very sorely missed if you need to leave our profession. I hope that we can somehow keep you in our transportation library community. If there is anything I can do to help your cause this spring/summer, please contact me immediately.

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