Employees of the Convergys call centre in New Glasgow, N.S., are still reeling as they absorb the news the operation is shutting down, a blow to the rural town still recovering from the loss of 500 jobs at the Michelin tire plant.
By the end of September, 300 jobs will disappear when Convergys shuts down.
On Wednesday, a day after the announcement, employees continued working but they said they’re still in shock.
“I was absolutely surprised. It took me completely off guard,” said Matthew Bernard.
He says his dream of buying a house and settling down are dashed.
“It's hard to find full-time work. It's looking more and more like I'm probably going to have to leave this town even,” he said.
Life has also changed for Gerry Crouse.
“I loved it. I looked forward to coming here every day. It was like my social work. I made a lot, a lot of friends,” said the nine-year veteran.
"I do have relatives out west if it comes to that. Right now I don't know."
Others worry about the impact on the community.
“I don't know what to think or where the hope is for this community at the moment. It's almost like there isn't any,” said Sharon MacKenzie.
There’s also concern at Acropole Pizza, home of the famous Pictou County brown sauce. Workers expect the Convergys cuts to cost them about five per cent of their business.
“There’s less money in the community which means people aren’t spending as much money. It just creates a domino effect for everybody,” said Drea Cougias.
But the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging fortitude.
“It's not the end of the world, either,” said Jack Kyte. “We have to be resilient in rural Nova Scotia.”
He says there are successful businesses in the area.
Meanwhile, the first 200 Michelin workers to lose their jobs will be off the job by the end of the month.
Another round of layoffs will hit next year with 300 employees being cut by June 30, 2015 from other areas of the plant.