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29 November, 2017

For my ESPN friends

For my ESPN friends: These layoffs today, because many friends who I worked with behind the scenes for 2+ decades are the ones being let go, are bringing up old feelings. I wanted to share a little perspective from the position of someone two years removed from the process. While it’s true that ESPN provides a good severance package and give you continued pay and benefits for a little while, along with career counseling, there is no preparation for the hardest part.

When I was let go in 2015 I wrote in a blog post “I'm not bitter, not yet anyway. I hope I never am.” The only time in the last 2 years I have been bitter is when being laid off lead to anxiety, instability, and fear for my family. It’s hard to look in your spouse and children’s eyes and tell them everything will be ok. 
It’s easy to believe it at first, given your experience and resume, but over time that wanes. The problem is, the longer you go without getting the next gig, the more that fear and anxiety can grow. That’s the hardest part. 
That’s the hardest part facing those of you being terminated today.

Maybe you had considered yourself a "lifer" but now you may have to uproot the family. That uncertainty wears on everyone, no matter how hard you try to keep things normal. It's frustrating too because the whole situation seems like it was avoidable. I can't tell you how many times I thought "This didn't have to happen." But it did, so you have to move on, literally and figuratively. 

Thankfully you can look to the numerous examples across the broadcasting (and other) landscape of people who left ESPN (by choice or not) who have done exceedingly well. You know dozens if not hundreds of them. Hopefully, that offers some solace and inspiration. 

It took me 2 years to find that next thing, but I found it. The journey is difficult and uncomfortable. No one can prepare you for that, but you are not alone. In every way possible, we got you. 


  1. Gus...Having been laid off before I would add don't burn any bridges on the way out...there is a reference might be needed or perhaps a re-hire.

  2. Thank you, Gus, for this post (I worked with you when I first got to ESPN on the TV news desk). I couldn't believe it when you were part of Purge I. I can't believe I'm part of Purge III. Actually, I can believe it, I knew it was coming. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I know that editing (or copy editing) isn't particularly valued anymore, so I may have to refocus and pick up something else. But I take comfort in your words here, knowing to expect the lows and hope for the highs (or maybe a middle ground, at least). Be well,
    Elaine Sung

  3. Sorry to read this Elaine. Wishing you the very best.

  4. Powerful, professional and full of potential and hope man. Way to embrace the suck and find a way to flip it