Former IBM employee Larry Simpson
now works in the men's suit department at Boscov's in downtown Binghamton.Simpson is also a pastor at New Heights Ministries Church in Binghamton.
"I love them both," Simpson
says of his
has two Binghamton jobs -- one for a department store and the other, as he
puts it, for the good Lord.
"My full-time job is pastoring, at New Heights Ministries Church
in Binghamton.My second job is as a part-time salesperson for the men's suits department at Boscov's department store," the 45-year-old Binghamton resident said."I love them both."
worked most of his
life for a single employer: IBM
was laid off from a job in the accounts payable department in 1995 after 19 years, not long enough to collect a pension or retain benefits.
"It was very much a shock," Simpson
said."I am a family man with a wife and son.To be told after 19 years of service you are no longer needed, that was hard."
About 400 employees were laid off from IBM
again this week, and many are going through the same adjustment process that Simpson
went through five years ago.
While many of those former IBM employees moved away to pursue other ventures, Simpson
and a significant number of others remained in the Southern Tier, taking jobs that may pay less but they enjoy more.
began to adjust and evaluate his
options.A devoutly religious man and self-described lover of fine clothing, he
made the decision to follow his
instincts, which led him to work in pastoring and clothing sales, an unusual combination he
describes as "a perfect fit."
"Sure I miss the money, I loved that IBM job, but my life is much better now," Simpson
said."Pastoring is my heart."
In 1995, when IBM employees got the news of their cuts, many were devastated.A large number, already in mid-life, took the cue to redirect their careers toward more meaningful ventures.
was having serious stress-related digestive troubles when he
was laid off from IBM
.It is a condition that has since disappeared.
Laid off in December 1988, Jutta Brown felt her
life was disintegrating. She
was 52, almost ready for early retirement.Then the layoff came."It felt like the end," she
Instead, it turned out to be a beginning.After a year in school, paid for by IBM
as part of her
severance package, and a dissatisfying year working in the public schools, Brown fell into another opportunity.A lover of books, reading, people and community relations, she
got a phone call one day from a manager at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
"They asked if I was interested in applying for the job in community relations here and I got it," Brown said.
Today, at 54, she
earns about what her
daughter will make when she
has gone back to having two weeks of vacation a year, while she
had almost enough experience for five weeks at IBM
But Brown isn't complaining.
"I have a job with so much creativity," she
said."I mean I actually affect people's lives, and it is all about reading and books and people."
wakes up in the morning now, Brown said, she
can hardly wait to get to work.
"I want to emphasize that one of the reasons I stayed as long as I did at IBM
is the opportunities they offer," Brown said."I moved from manufacturing to education and into communications; I was writing and dealing with the community in the course of my career there.I was compensated fairly and I had a daughter, a mortgage; these things hold you.I needed the money."
Many ex-IBMers said they feel their relationship with the company was "a fair partnership."