Sure sign of losing your job: Moving boxes arrive at your desk

The staff at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, or the Seattle P-I as it is also called, have known for awhile that they'll likely lose their jobs if owner the Hearst Corp. doesn't find a buyer for the daily newspaper.

A decision to either sell if a buyer was found, or to close, or become an online newspaper only was supposed to come Tuesday, but a story on the paper's web site Tuesday reported that no decision had been announced. However, some telltale signs are hard to miss in the building.

Staffers learned that boxes and bins are scheduled to be delivered to the newsroom this week. Some are for employees, or former employees, to take their belongings home, and other boxes are for notes that require shredding.

That sounds like a definite sign that you're about to lose your job: A moving box will soon be put on your desk by the boss.

Other signs that Seattle P-I employees are having to deal with include being told to file promptly to be reimbursed for their expenses, and that they can retain their cell phone numbers if they wish.

The company also renewed the domain name "" through March 25, 2010 with registrar Network Solutions. It was to expire later this month.

Some staff members have received job offers to work in the online department -- another strong hint that the paper will be all digital soon. Again, another sign that you're losing your job -- some people in your department are being offered jobs to stay on and you're not. Sad.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for those workers. I worked at a Northern California newspaper when it was being sold, and every day during the sale it was difficult to come to work and not know who your employer was going to be that day. Many people were jumping ship and finding new jobs as fast as they can. I waited around a year or so and was laid off.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at

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