It wasn’t a surprise, but it also wasn’t necessarily the easiest solution: my former employer World Radio Switzerland was sold by the public service, destined to become a local commercial station in Geneva. That change has happened, and the vast majority of regular news staff from the public service were let go.
Our station had a tough history–one better explained in person and over a beverage–but it had accomplished an impressive task of producing award-winning coverage about Switzerland, and educating Swiss and ex-pats alike as to how that idiosyncratic country works (or doesn’t.)
The staff of WRS was given about a year to prepare itself for the eventual sale. Some claimed our jobs would be secure until 2014, others, myself included, expected less. We lost our political reporter and news director right away, and others were looking at the door.
As my family had to begin to think about schooling for my child, and I had to focus on my dissertation for my MA, we made one of the hardest decisions we have ever made: quit, leave Switzerland, and leave Europe, after four years abroad. Shortly after we made this decision, and I gave my notice, the station’s sale was finalized and a timeline was in motion.
Staff had about three months before they would be laid-off, and the station and all content would disappear to be reborn as another kind of radio. It is not my kind of radio, but it didn’t really affect me; my plans were already in motion.
Readjusting to the USA, which I hadn’t visited in two years, has been difficult. It is even more difficult than when I returned from two months in Germany back in 2008. At that time I wrote this: “People ask if it’s hard to readjust after two months abroad. In some ways it is: the little German I know is now less useful, and I have to be careful not to use it without context. It’s weird not using trains and public transport, even walking everywhere. And it’s weird answering the question “is it hard to readjust after two months abroad.”