I did everything right. I worked hard, earned 3 degrees while working full time and was easy to get along with. I have 1 major issue and that is that I don’t suffer fools lightly. I’m really easy going and told I have a good sense of humor. Generally I deal with very smart people on a daily basis and I enjoy this part of my job. But sometimes when people cannot or will not acknowledge that they do not know everything even when presented with the facts infuriates me.
The first time I was laid off from my job I worked for a guy that I thought had it all together. He was a little younger than me and knew he didn’t have the knowledge or experiences that I had but he was smart enough to ask good questions and generally came up with some good suggestions. Then one day everything changed and I don’t know why. My yearly review was due and he called me in to his office. I sat down feeling pretty confident that it would be the usual “Exceeds Expectations” since I had just won a company wide efficiency award, just got back from training where I earned an advanced industry certification and had just completed a major project way ahead of schedule and below budget.
That was not to be. I was told that I had “communication issues” with members of senior management, I was difficult to get along with and I had let some deadlines slip on some major projects. I protested but I might as well have been talking to a wall.
The facts were this: The “communications issues” were from several years before when a VP wanted new equipment but then decided that it would not help him. This happened the first week I started working for this company like I said several years before. The other “communications issue” was when I asked a VP a question in a meeting that he was unprepared to answer. Instead of saying he would get back to me or something like that he made up some BS and I let it slide. I even thanked him for the response knowing it was BS. Later he told my boss that I was harassing the ladies in his office. He was the HR VP for pete’s sake. It was BS and never happened. The complaint about the harassment was not true and he could not get anyone from his department to file a complaint. Also this supposedly occurred a good 2 years before my review. So really I couldn’t understand why this came up. I asked but wasn’t given an answer that made sense. Then I questioned the “Missing Deadline on Major Projects” issue. The Major project was a major political football in the company. No one wanted to change the way they were doing things and some company VP’s went to the CEO and raised a fuss. Needless to say we were told to stop the project and it was acknowledged by my boss that it was not because of something we had or had not done but simple office politics. We had actually finished 90% of the project before we stopped. The other projects were all finished ahead of schedule.
I actually received a “Needs Improvement” on that review although 4 of the 11 criteria were “exceeds”, 6 were “meets expectations” and only 1 was “Needs Improvement” I was floored. He was supposed to average it out and it should have been an “Exceeds” When I brought that up he told me he could do what he wanted with the final rating. I had NEVER in my 25 years of working had ever received a review of “Needs Improvement”. 90% of my reviews were always “Exceeds Exceptions” or whatever the highest rating was. I let it go. If I had brought it up to HR it would have made it worse.
11 months later I was called in and told that the company was “Eliminating My Position” because they knew I was looking for a job (I was) and because I had production issues. I had no warning that I had production issues except for that review 11 months prior. I was not warned that I had “Production issues” nor was I warned to not look for a job.
I ended up in Unemployemnt court where the manager that let me go admitted that I was not a problem employee and that they let me go because I was seeking employment outside the company which by the way was not something that you could be fired for at our company. I got my unemployment since the company according to the judge “Did not have any reason to terminate my employment but in this state which is a right to work state the company does not need a reason to terminate your employment.” The company changed the reason to “Reduction in Force – Position Eliminated” and I was eligible for rehire immediately IF a position became available. I was not interested. My bosses boss was fired 6 months later when service levels plummeted in my old department. I found out later that over 20 people in my division were let go the same way I was.
2 weeks passed and I found another job through a headhunter. The job was a departmental management position and the company which was small didn’t really have a reputation to research but I was assured that the company was solid and the people that I spoke with were long term employees. I thought it was a great fit. I worked my magic just like I did at my 2 previous positions and saved the company a ton of money and came up with ways to save the company a ton more. The company’s vendors were ripping off the company by charging retail rates when we were buying in bulk. The people providing services were charging us for equipment that wasn’t even in the company and a service provider was really overcharging the company by 10′s of thousands of dollars a month. There were other issues that were covered up and there were management issues that management refused to address and pushed under the rug. This company was unethical to say the least. I felt slimy working there and yet on the outside it appeared to be a respectable business.
I went to work there on the first day and was given a list of tasks that needed to be accomplished over the next 12 months. I finished these tasks in 7 months and then proposed a new group of projects that would have saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars to my boss For the next month I answered phones and performed Customer support tasks along with my regular duties. The assigned projects were all finished and I had just proposed a bunch of new projects to the State VP’s, COO, the Comptroller, CFO and CEO. I was told “No” (actually I was told “Hxll No! by the CEO and COO. I never did understand where the anger came from because this proposal was part of a presentation to the executive board half of which had already approved the expenditures) on all these projects even though it was going to save the company millions and improve services drastically. As I said, I had already passed these projects by the CFO, the Comptroller and my boss and they agreed that these projects were great ideas. I was disappointed but just smiled and moved on. I never brought it back up. I just went back to my desk and answered phones for the rest of the day. That was a Wednesday. Friday we had Birthday cake. On Monday I was called in and told that I was being Laid Off due to economic conditions. I was given 2 weeks of severance and a Letter of Recommendation that stated that I was great employee, that I was well liked and that I was really good at my job. However the company was cutting costs because it was not meeting budgetary goals and my position was identified as not necessary at this time (Remember all my projects were completed). Several people were laid off at the same time so apparently it was a legitimate lay off. Anyway I was kind of glad it ended. Remember I felt slimy working for this company. It was not an immoral business like a house of prostitution but it was not exactly as good as running a payday lending operation.
So now I had been laid off from 2 jobs in 9 months. What could happen next right?
I was out of work for 3 months and finally found a job again through another headhunter. The job was advertised as one thing and told that it was another better thing. They liked my experience, education, training and answers to the interview questions. The job was a demotion, paid less but was still in my profession. I was thinking that it might be a long term position that would enable me to clean up my resume. The second day after I took the position my new boss quit. When he told me why he quit I was not surprised he quit. The job was terrible. He offered me the position and I told him I would do what the company needed me to do. but I really didn’t want it. It didn’t happen. The company was looking for someone with heavy experience in that industry and I didn’t have any experience in that industry. Like I said I have 25 years of experience in my field and multiple advanced degrees. The person they hired as my boss’s replacement didn’t have a degree one. He also didn’t really have any skills that were applicable to our area. He had a few years of experience in the industry and had been a manager at his last company. He also made less at his last job than I made at this company.
He came to work and I was moved to an area away from the main area. For 2 weeks I fully expected to see him come walking up and introduce himself. He never did. Finally one day he came up to my office and introduced himself. It’s not like I hadn’t tried to contact him. I called several times and stopped by his office but either he was not there or he was in a meeting. For the next 2 months I never saw him again. Then something changed and I got an email from him asking for me to stop by his office one morning. I knew what was coming. I was laid off again. I was told that I would get severance and a letter of recommendation. I received both but had to fight to get the severance. The reason given was that the company was cutting back due to economic conditions and in fact they had released several people but my area thought we were safe because there were so few of us. What the company did was to go find cheaper people to do our jobs and then laid us off. I had heard that those kind of things happened but had never seen it occur until now. The people they brought in were inexperienced and worked for a little more than minimum wage. Of course the company is really suffering but apparently they cut payroll by 50% which was their goal.
To sum up: For 23 years I had 2 places of employment. After 27 years I had 3 places of employment. 1 1/2 years later I had worked for 3 different companies in the prior 18 months.
I can’t blame any of this on immigrants taking my job nor directly on Obamacare but as a highly educated Finance Professional I can without a doubt blame it on a terrible, terrible economy that is caused by stupid policies that have decimated America. Unless we reduce the deficit and tax rates quickly, reduce the number of legal and illegal immigrants and rework Obamacare we are all going to end up “Laid-Off”.
Based on the Law of Supply and Demand, if there are just a few people seeking employment wages will go up to attract the best and brightest. If there are many people seeking employment demand for people will be lower and wages will fall. Right now we have many people seeking the few available jobs and companies are letting the well paid go and hiring the less experienced at half the pay. Simple Economics.
This post was submitted by Knowledge Worker - MBA.