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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fears mount in the final days on the job at a closing plant

Jones remembers his last days at the plant, cleaning up and worrying about the future. Like other young employees in this interview series, Jones remembers feeling concern for his older coworkers who might have fewer prospects for finding a new job.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

What was the last day like?
The last days were dirty days because it was clean-up days. That's what we had to do, that was our job-- to clean up. We had to go down to the basement and clean up. There was so much water, dust and dirt. It was a dirty job. That's the way it was our last day. It was sort of an upbeat day because even though you knew this was it; it was a like a challenge to you, too, because you didn't know what tomorrow would bring. You also knew you didn't have to get up early and go to work, because there wasn't any work to go to. [laughter] It's just like anything else; if you haven't been laid off from a job, it's very scary. It's extremely scary. Even if you get laid off from a job and you've got another job, it's still scary. Because if you have been doing one particular job--for instance, for sixteen or twenty, twenty-five or thirty years--and then you have to change and start all over again doing something different, it's scary.
How about the older people in the plant?
I imagine they were terrified. For a lot of the people that's all they had known. That's all they had done. It's just like anything else; a lot of places will tell you we are equal opportunity employers. That means for blacks, whites, older people, but that's not necessarily the case. A whole lot of these people are maybe fifty-five years of age and they know it's going to be difficult for them to find jobs. Companies today have this mentality of we want people that can produce. We want people that are healthy. We want people that can be there everyday. It's just like anything else; when you get to be fifty-five years of age, you can't go the same pace as a man that is twenty or twenty-five years. I'm thirty-five now and I can't go the same pace as the guy who's twenty.