A big story out of Florida is putting a rather chilling twist on the unemployment crisis. Erinn Alberts actually had a job with Digital Domain ... or at least, she thought she did. That is until she and her husband sold their furniture, packed their kids in the car, and drove all the way from their home in New Hampshire to Florida, where she was greeted with the news that the company behind Titanic and The Transformers was filing for bankruptcy.
The job Erinn had been promised was cut in the process, along with about 280 positions at Digital Domain's offices in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Now she's out of a job, 30 hours from home, and she and her husband have to try to figure out how to feed their three kids.
It's the kind of story that's so terrifying because it could happen to any of us, to anyone who follows the "rules" when it comes to job hunting. You don't just up and move until you have a plan, but they did. Erinn had a job, what seemed like a good job.
Both of the Alberts had worked for major media companies like MTV and Universal Pictures. The job as a production accountant with Digital Domain seemed to fit right in. The production company was going to pay her $46,000 a year. They even had a specialist assisting the family in finding temporary housing. Moving for a job, even moving a long distance like the Alberts, is not uncommon in this economy. You take a job where you can find it.
I feel for the Alberts because it seems they're another family victimized by a system that gives corporations the power to put profits ahead of people.
Digital Domain has clearly been having trouble. It listed debts of $214.9 million on its bankruptcy statement. And yet, they were hiring? They allowed their human relations department to extend the offer of relocation assistance to a woman, bringing not just her but a husband and three kids all the way from New Hampshire? That's callous and cruel, inexcusably so.
It never should have gotten this far. No company in that position should be hiring, and no potential employee should have to put themselves in such a risky position.
I'm sure the people at the top will be fine, of course. They always are. Digital Domain was able to sell its production business to Searchlight Capital Partners for $15 million, so the big guys will make out just fine. It's people like Erinn Alberts, her husband Aaron, and their three kids who are left to scramble because a company played around with people's lives.
If you can help them with a job lead, Aaron is sharing his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think of companies that hire people only to fire them because they can't keep the doors open? Should that be illegal?
Image via Nathan O'Nions/Flickr
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