When the Industry Bubble Bursts

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To all those whose gainful employment has fallen victim to this crummy economy, I’ve felt your pain. Twice.

My first layoff was in 2000, just as the dot-com bubble was about to burst. The well-established media company that hired me had recently merged with a digital music website and was suddenly poised to beef up the editorial staffs at its two magazines. I was lured away from a secure position as managing editor for Philadelphia Weekly by the prospect of working in Manhattan and a salary that, alas, couldn’t get me east of the Palisades.

Two months later, we were just getting acclimated to our overheated co-op apartment in North Bergen, N.J.—and me to my hour-long commute to a city whose skyline I could see from my backyard—when everyone old and new was summoned into the lobby of our Midtown office. A downsizing was already in the works, though I was told I had nothing to worry about.

After a month or so, while I was visiting relatives in Florida, I received a phone call from my boss: There was no need to come into work when I got back. The contents of my desk arrived at my home via UPS a week later.

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