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FBLA Exclusive: Greg Magnus Discusses Abrupt Lay-Off From OC Register

orabngeax.jpegIn the aftermath of the latest round of Orange County Register buyouts and layoffs, Greg Magnus, a former videographer was kind enough to answer our question, “What the fuck?”

His response? Magnus had gotten “no warning, no real notice” before he was laid off on Monday, and he had been “basically suckered into work on my day off to be let go.”

His full account follows:

Hey… There were rumors of another round of layoffs, but last I heard it was all good news: little or no layoffs in the near future.

Personally, from what I’ve learned, I was a special order. Others were approached and apparently volunteered. I was not.

On Friday at 11a, I — and a large group of other people involved in video at the web site — were invited to a meeting on Monday, Jan. 8 to “plan 2008′s coverage.”

I was scheduled to start 10 days vacation that Monday and told my DE [Deputy Editor] John Fabris via email that I wasn’t sure I would be able to attend, since I was leaving from San Diego later that day. His reply was “Darn. Do you think you can spare an hour?”

I had been at the Register nearly 2 years, and due to layoffs, promotions and restructuring had been bouncing around from department to department: online product desk, multimedia, and then photo, where video was being run out of. I worked in photo for about two or three months, covering news and shooting high school football game videos. Suddenly, without any notice or explanation, my paychecks started showing up in sports. I had been transferred and no one bothered to tell me. When I called a meeting to find out what was going on, my DE John Fabris handed me a new job description, basically telling me I now worked for sports and would shoot primarily high school events and supply content for a new product, myochigh.

I told them I thought it was a bad idea, that photo was handling video and that I should stay in photo. They said they would think about it. When I asked about it a few weeks later, they said I was staying in sports.

Back to the present: Friday I get the email, cover a high school basketball game at 7:30 pm. Later I’m called by one of the photo editors to see if I can be on-call for Saturday in case the big storm creates some news; I agree to be on call. Sunday I packed my bags and got ready for my trip. Monday I went to work early, talked to the photo editor to see if perhaps, since this seemed like a big video meeting, if I should once again ask about putting me back into photo and he said, “Why not?”

I was having a cup of coffee around 10a when my cell phone rang. It was John Fabris and he asked if I was in the building. I figured he wanted to talk to me about the meeting beforehand, but when he asked “Can you come down to HR room 128?” I knew I was basically done.

In HR 128 was John Fabris, Brenda Shoun and an HR woman I had never met. She said “I don’t think I’ve met you before,” shook my hand and then asked me to close the door. From here, details get fuzzy. I think John told me that due to “cost-cutting” measures I was being let go and today was my last day. The HR lady took over from there and talked about COBRA and holiday pay. They gave me a severance package folder and form that I did not sign.

So that’s it. No warning, no real notice, basically suckered into work on my day off to be let go. As far as I can tell, only a handful were let go. And, as far as I know, I was the only involuntary departure.

Of course, the ironic part is that now sports and myochigh video assignments will probably be handled now by the photo department, as they should have been all along. I was basically used during the heavy lifting part — covering more than two football games a week for nearly five months — and shot the majority of the video on the website; but since I was the “new guy,” and in my opinion — had the audacity to stand up for myself during a period of uncertainty, I was deemed expendable.

Oh, they had the meeting, by the way. It was basically to tell everyone that I had been let go.

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