About a month ago, I received word that the magazine I previously worked for in San Diego had folded. Only one month before, I had been tracking down articles, updating databases and putting together detailed instructions for my replacement (as I was leaving my job to relocate). While the magazine was directly related to the mortgage industry, and so had been struggling for quite some time, I didn't expect such a sudden end.
It's strange to have worked for something that disappears all together. Thankfully, I had saved PDFs of my past articles before I left, but even so, they now stand alone as the magazine they appeared in is no longer being published. Today I noticed the Website is no longer available. All traces of my last job have been erased aside from some hard copy relics I have stored in moving boxes.
I spent 2.5 years expelling A LOT of energy into the magazine. I joined the editorial team at the tail end of their successful period (the end of the real estate boom and the start of the "mortgage meltdown"—great timing, right?). Every day something shifted...more online content, a more modern layout, less ads, more employee layoffs...and I had to shift with it. I kept plugging away, always trying my hardest to make it work.
I learned so much about the publishing industry while I was there and I'm very thankful for that experience. I got to excel at tasks I never thought I would (Website management, tradeshow coordination, writing articles about mortgages when I barely new what a mortgage was!). I also learned about corporations.
The magazine was founded 20 years ago by two people (my boss being one of them). As time went on, the magazine enjoyed the success of a booming real estate market, and from the stories I heard, those were fun times. Then the magazine was bought. People view being bought by a bigger company as a good thing most of the time: it means your business is successful, worthwhile and profitable...but it also means you are going to lose your autonomy. The more high-ranking people who become involved, the more you have to try to please them over yourself and your staff. As the success of the magazine grew, that company sold it to an even bigger corporation. While my boss called the shots on the content of the magazine, its fate was no longer in his hands. Something he created and labored over for 20+ years was ultimately ended in a matter of minutes by a group of strangers.
I think this knowledge has something to do with my hesitancy and indifference during my current job search. While I am grateful for the experience I gained at the magazine, I can't help but wonder why bother when if, in the end, something you worked at for two years or twenty can be instantly sacrificed for the bottom line? We should all better invest our time and energy into trades and careers that give back to us in the end; places that care about each of us reaching our individual goals as much as we are supposed to care about the company reaching its goals.