By Wilfred Bereswill
You've all heard the term Black Friday. You know, that day when stores hoped to go from the red into the black for the year. And yes, my wife and I woke at 4:30 AM on Friday and went out to a couple of stores. As it turns out, we missed most of the crowds, since many of the stores opened at Midnight.
But all that is another topic. The Black Friday I'm talking about refers to December 12th, 2008. If you check your calendars, you will indeed verify that December 12th, 2008 was indeed a Friday. For me and almost 1,400 other employees of the once mighty Anheuser-Busch it will live on as Black Friday. That is the day the cutthroat businessmen of Inbev decided to cut many United States jobs, including mine.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. For me, it was a bit of a relief. For almost a year, we knew we were the targets of a takeover. The year was an emotional rollercoaster, running the course of highs and lows. 2008 was the year I had my first book, A Reason For Dying published. I should have been estatic, but the day before my launch party we were told for sure that Inbev was making a run at us. That news kind of dampened the party.
The worst day in that roller coaster year, surprisingly was the day BEFORE black Friday. Thursday, December 11th, we arrived to an email that said we would receive an email with an appointment time for the following day. We were not to come into the office until the appointed time. Rumors swirled that if you received a 15 minute appointment you were going to be spared. If you received a 1/2 hour appointment, you were being let go. My email came at 4 PM. It was the longest day in my career. Turns out, there was no length to any of the appointments. Those who were being spared already knew it and were under strict orders not to say anything.
Friday was a blur. They shuffled us through a process.first with HR, then with outplacement, then with the head doctors (AKA Employee Assistance Program.) That afternoon all us Environmental folks gathered at a bar near the brewery and drank to better days.
Last Friday was our 3rd gathering (if you count the original Black Friday.) Everybody has moved on. Many have retired permanently, some took early retirement if they could and then found either part time or full time jobs and others like me found other work to finish our careers.
There was a lot of beer consumed (all A-B products and no Inbev crap "Stella") and lots of reminiscing. The mood was much more upbeat proving time goes on.