Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Newsletter Reaches Former Digital Workers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Newsletter Reaches Former Digital Workers

Article excerpt

When Jan Bunker traveled around the country for Digital Equipment Corp., she had little time to herself because col leagues kept inviting her out to dinner, movies and shopping.

She's no longer with DEC, but she and other ex-DEC staffers are trying to keep the culture alive.

Bunker runs a newsletter to help laid-off workers adjust after DEC hemorrhaged jobs in the early 1990s. They look to it to keep in touch and network - whether it's to help find a job, recruit customers or ask advice about starting a business.

"It helps make that bridge to show there is life after DEC - people say, `If Charlie can survive, so can I,' " she said.

A former colleague lays out the 10-page quarterly. Another ex-DEC staffer does the mailing; another is a legal consultant.

Marcia Donaldson, who worked for DEC from 1972 to 1987, edits the newsletter. She also helps old co-workers by referring prospective customers to them.

"You know where to go to find people who are the most trustworthy," she said.

Bunker said she gets calls from old DEC employees who want to know how to contact specific people. Other callers want the names of people who worked on specific projects.

"Part of the success of a lot of people at DEC was the ability to know people who could get things done," she said at the 250-year-old house she and her husband are renovating. "Just because you leave, it doesn't change."

Ron and Julie Chestna, who spent a combined 37 years at Digital, turned a wine-making hobby into a wine- and beer-making supply shop in Holden, Mass. They consulted with ex-DEC staffers before opening the store.

Chick Shue, who ran Digital's U.S. sales force before he left in 1989, asked 300 ex-staffers for seed money to open an Italian restaurant in Cape Coral, Fla. The DEC connection helped him get some of the $500,000 he needed.

"They knew who they were talking to. I knew who I was talking to," he said.

Massachusetts-based Digital, still the second-largest computer maker, began cutting staff in 1989. It reduced its payroll, now 60,100, by more than half because of a deep recession and its own failure to diversify into increasingly popular personal computers and other small machines. …

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