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The sky was sunny but the mood was dark as employees came to work at WordPerfect on Monday - each wondering if his or her job would be one of the 600 local positions cut as Novell trims its forces worldwide.

"I'm scared to death," said Chantilly Park. "I'm in publications and they told us to be here at 8:30 (a.m.) in our desks and not to leave."Park said her fears increased dramatically when some of the managers she considered the most competent and "nicest" were let go last Thursday.

"We thought we had some idea of what to expect. But it seems very political, more than we expected it to be," said Park.

Blayden Thompson, who works in customer support, said he expects the day and the week "to be a wild one."

"They've kept everything pretty secret," he said, adding that no one really knows whether to relax or worry.

"It's been that way for weeks, since we've known they're cutting us back," he said.

Thompson said if he survives the layoffs, he figures things will get better.

"I'm not worried about pay cuts, no. In fact, compared to what Novell gets, we'll probably get more," he said.

Jeff Ascerson, corporate relations, said he doesn't know the specific timeline for the layoffs or whether it will be department by department or layer by layer.

Not everyone will get their bad news Monday, he said. The process is supposed to go on all week, with the biggest hits expected in communications, publications, information services, finance and human relations.

Kelli Tejada, Novell corporate communications spokeswoman, said already there have been "lots of calls asking about the employees" who will be available for other companies.

Six hundred will lose their jobs now and another 450 will probably no longer be working for Novell by February 1995.

The manufacturing and publications divisions are reportedly among the first that will be sold or set up as independent companies, with employees keeping their jobs within those divisions but cut from Novell's payrolls.

Four hundred have already been terminated in other areas of the country and overseas. In all, 1,750 will be shaved, leaving Novell with an employee roster of 8,000 worldwide.

The layoffs are an attempt to economize and restructure the company more efficiently, according to Novell's CEO Robert J. Frankenberg, who informed the employees of the layoffs last Wednesday along with third quarter earning figures.

Those figures showed a reported revenue of $489 million, up 13 percent from revenue of $434 million in the third quarter of 1993 but revealing a net loss of $4 million.