Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back in Action

On the advice of a friend, I'd deactivated this blog to help preserve my job at NASA. That not having worked (my job will be terminated next Wednesday), I decided to push a few buttons and found that I could, in fact, reinstate this place. So, here I am: back in the blogosphere, and about to be unemployed. Suh-weet.

A lot of friends are sharing my fate, so it's not like I'm alone in this--my entire communications team is facing the axe, barring some last-minute miracle-working by my program manager--it's just been a little stressful all around.

So what's happening? Basically, in a rush to comply with the Contract Termination Liability set-aside, the contractors servicing the Constellation Program are acting on letters from Procurement to cut $1 billion from this year's budget. The only way to do that, really, is to reduce headcount, so that's what's happening with a vengeance. Six hundred people have lost their jobs at Johnson Space Center, and another 700-800 are expected to lose theirs at Marshall.

The situations really vary by contract and company. Some folks are on what's called a "stop work order," which is theoretically a temporary freeze that could be lifted in 2-4 weeks. Other folks got laid off. Others, like me, are facing flat-out termination. It's been sad watching folks clear out cubicles, and I started my cleanout process today.

Where do I go from here? Not a clue. I don't have a lot of free-floating cash, and unemployment in Alabama is next to bupkis, so I can go only a few weeks without work before I have to do without lights or food...unless I want to cash out the 401(k) and screw any chance of retiring. Best not think about that right now.

What will happen to the human spaceflight program? Not my responsibility anymore. I have to figure out what to do with Bart. Let someone else worry about the future of humanit for awhile.

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