On Wednesday morning, I woke up to the news of Autodesk restructuring, with approximately 13% of employees impacted worldwide. In my years at Autodesk I’ve been through this more than a few times, and it’s hard not to feel a little detached when you’re on a 6-month trip with your family. I decided to go into the Bangalore office, during the afternoon, to meet up with old friends and colleagues and to meet the team providing support for our development partners (whether dealing with programming questions or helping partners get their products into the App Store).
While in the office, I called into an All Hands call being held in the Neuchatel office – the timing just happened to work out, so I dialled in. During the call it was announced to employees that Autodesk had made the difficult decision to close our office in Neuchatel. Not being in the room it’s hard to judge people’s reaction to the news, although I’m pretty sure people were completely stunned, much as I was.
The news has since been communicated publicly – it was in Switzerland’s French- and German-speaking news within a very short time of the announcement, at which point the messages of support (and concern) started flowing into my inbox – so I don’t feel it’s unreasonable to talk about on this blog, especially as many of you will be curious about how it affects me. (It has since been featured in English-speaking news, too, if you prefer to read it there.)
The thing is, I don’t yet know… Switzerland has some curious employment laws that come into play during staff reductions of a certain scale: employees have a 2-week consultation period where they can propose alternatives that could help avoid the restructuring. While in principle this a good thing, in practice it means employees cannot be notified of their individual statuses until this consultation period is over. Which means we won’t know how this news will impact us, specifically, for a couple of weeks. The lucky ones will be able offered the chance to continue working for Autodesk from home or from another office.
From my own personal perspective, I mainly feel sad that – one way or another – I’ll be saying goodbye to so many close friends and colleagues. Autodesk Neuchatel has really been a family to me for many years (I first visited the office in 1995, started working there in 1998 and moved back there again in 2006), and it’s going to be painful to close this chapter. It’s especially strange to be experiencing this at a distance: I do feel a sense of detachment, but that can sometimes make the grieving process harder.
Anyway – whichever way the chips fall for me, personally, I can only be grateful to Autodesk for the years I’ve spent here. I’ve had amazing – even unique – opportunities to explore technology and its use for our customers, I’ve worked with incredibly talented people from around the world, and I’ve had the chance of a lifetime to make this trip with my family for 6 months. For all these reasons and many more I can only express my sincere gratitude to this great company.
I’ll continue blogging here, one way or another, until I know more about my future.