This past week at work was really somber. It kinda felt like the quiet stillness before a storm. Or the atmosphere outside a church before people head into a funeral. Hushed voices, eyes cast downward, a sense of impending doom and general uncomfortableness.
It’s actually been this way for quite awhile. When we all heard the news a few months back that NBCUniversal had brought DreamWorks, there was a period of shock, followed by a lot of questions wondering what that meant for all of us, some little jolts of excitement…
And then stillness. As we all waited.
There was a lot of speculation about what would happen to each of us individually. A lot of gossiping about which Departments we felt would get hit the hardest, and a whole lot of concern, sympathy, love and compassion for each other as a whole.
This is why I have sacrificed living 3000 miles away from my entire family for over 20 years. Because of this concern, sympathy, love and compassion this other family in my life holds. The people at DreamWorks, my surrogate family for all of these years, are some of the most genuine, caring, talented and loving human beings I have had the pleasure to share my life with over the years.
I have been through at least 15 major company layoffs over the years. Somehow I’ve managed to survived each one of them. I don’t take that for granted and also know that there was a reason I was meant to be there. I don’t think it was so I could become the best Producer or Production Executive or Special Events Director that the world has ever seen.
Nope… I think it was because I was supposed to cross paths and make lifelong friends with certain people along the way. And not just that; I think it was because I was supposed to learn and be inspired by people who don’t even realize I’ve been watching them.
I’m Facebook friends with a lot of my colleagues. And not official FB “friends” with many others. So I’m going to ask that if you’re reading this you’ll pass it onto some of those other amazing DreamWorkers and PDIers who are still there or left awhile ago because there is something I think it’s important they know.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU mean something to me.
You may think I wasn’t watching you. Maybe we didn’t know each other’s names. Or we didn’t work together on a film, or I was located in Glendale and you were up at PDI, but trust me when I tell you I watched you and I know you.
I watched how you built a culture that rivals every other studio in the industry. I watched how hard you all worked on every movie we’ve made together. I’ve listened to other people talk about you… your reputation, what you were good at, the things you made happen.
So many of us don’t realize the impact we have on other people just by being who we are in the world.
In the span of 20 years of watching these people, I learned how to be soft, when to be tough, how to delegate and how to own what was mine.
I learned how to fix a mistake and how to not make someone feel badly for their own.
I learned how to work relentlessly hard when we had tight deadlines and how to play full out when we were done.
I learned when to admit defeat on a project and how to bounce back from it.
I learned how to make others feel heard and how to make myself heard.
But the most important thing I learned along the way was how to have fun and not take it all so seriously.
Including what’s happening now.
Yes, is it sad that this is the end of an Era for the studio? Absolutely. Is it heartbreaking that some of us will be losing our jobs and be forced to find something else?
But you know what else… We’re all being given this amazing opportunity in whatever time we have left or with the people leaving that we have left with to acknowledge each other. And I mean, really acknowledge each other before we leave. To tell the people we have worked alongside with or reported to or mentored under what we’ve learned from them, what we admire about them and what we will take with us from knowing them.
And let’s not just do this for the people we feel most comfortable with, but with the people we never talk to. You know the ones we admire from afar but maybe think they are so much higher up than us on the corporate hierarchy ladder that we feel we can’t speak to them?
Or the ones we’ve watched from a distance but have never spoken to yet they’ve taught us something without them even knowing it?
Let’s acknowledge those people. Because as some of us leave, and some of us transition into new roles within NBCUniversal and some of us stay where we’re at, the one gift we can give each other to take the sting out of what is happening is that acknowledgement. It means so much to people. It means the world to know that in the time we have been of service to this amazing company, we have been seen by others, we’ve been heard, and we’ve mattered.
So let’s get moving kids… I’ll start.