A brief, non-exhaustive accounting of layoffs at my various workplaces since I left the world of secure employment at the San Francisco Examiner a little more than eight years ago (when I got hired there, one staffer said, “As long as you don’t hit anyone over the head with a two-by-four, you can’t get fired here.” He was almost right: He got axed for trying to impersonate a worker at a hospital that was on strike so he could get the inside scoop). A while back, I started to think of the recurring staff-trimmings as resembling the show “Survivor,” and I wondered when it would be my turn to get voted off the island. My time finally came: As Jeff Probst would say, “Dan, the tribe has spoken. It’s time to go.”
Last shift at the Examiner ended at 2 a.m. Jan. 2, 1996. First day for “Project Gulliver” (Web startup that turned into something called NetGuide Live) began 2 p.m. Jan. 2, 1996.
1. November 1996: About 75 of 150 temporary and permanent employees let go from NetGuide.
2. December 1996: About 40 of remaining 75 NetGuide employees.
2a. Left NetGuide in February 1997, which laid off remaining workers the following month and closed.
I started at Wired News in March 1997.
3. November 1997: About half a dozen Wired News employees, part of larger Wired layoff.
I left Wired News for Wired magazine in June 1998, and left the mag in December ’98 to freelance. I joined TechTV in January 2001 as part of staff hired to launch 8-hour daily tech/market news show called “TechLive.”
4. November 2001: TechTV laid off about half of 130-person “TechLive” staff.
5. April 2002: Laid off about half of remaining 65 “TechLive” staff members, canceled 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. shows, cut newscast to 30 minutes daily.
6. December 2002: Closed TechTV bureaus, which reported for “TechLive”; laid off about 10 people.
7. May 24, 2004: Goodbye, TechTV. Last daily “TechLive” show aired Friday, May 21; I, with most of daily staff, was laid off the following Monday).