Your Lies Cost Me Everything

Having worked in the telecommunications industry for a number of years, I’ve come to expect that layoffs are just part of the price for working in the industry. It’s a volatile industry where mergers, acquisitions and collapsing companies seem to happen on a daily basis. It happened to me a couple of times, but I saw both of those coming and quickly found new jobs.

It was after one of those layoffs that I took a job as a Regional Director (over both sales and operations) for a company in the FL panhandle. The job was a technically a step up for me and I was very excited to land it. I had run both sales and operational departments, but never at the same time. It was a family-owned company, where I knew the owners from a previous job and had been around a long time. It was also a place I wanted to live.

The trouble is that it required us to move from NC to FL. This meant my wife, who was a teacher, would have to quit her job. We’d also uproot our 2 year old son. We’d also end up selling the house and taking a pretty large financial risk by moving. So I was very careful during the interview process to ask about the corporate financials and I even went so far as to get a copy of their financials. Everything looked fine, so I took the job.

Once I got down there in late November, everything was just as I had hoped. I turned my team around quickly and sales started picking up. I kept my operations team busy and we were really coming together. Before my wife quit her job on February 1, I had a meeting with the owner to make sure that I was performing well, my team was exceeding expectations and the company was on firm financial footing. He said everything was great.

We had already listed the house, but with no takers my wife moved down with me on March 1. Again, before this took place, I had the same kind of meeting (though this time a bit more informally). After all, this was a big step – the moving expense, coupled with 2 mortgage payments (one in NC and one in FL) and eliminating one income was financially risky. I had to be sure that everything was good – and was reassured that we were doing beautifully.

On March 31, my team celebrated their best quarter ever. We had doubled sales and our operational efficiency was also up. When I got the call from the owner that he wanted to meet, I thought he wanted to celebrate our success. Instead, it seems that he had taken too much money out of the business and had cut costs immediately or have his bank loan called in. So he decided to lay me off with 1 weeks’ severance pay. In fact, he didn’t want to pay me the bonus I had earned for the 1st Quarter and decided to cut the check only after I threatened to sue him. He knew all about this back in January, but lied to me and even cooked the books on the financials.

I was dumbstruck. Needless to say, the financial consequences were terrible. We had to sell our house in NC at a loss so we didn’t have to go to foreclosure. Because I couldn’t find a job in FL, we ended up having to move again. We went through all of our savings and had to start from scratch all over again – after 15 years of saving and building towards the future, my wife and I had to start again with a net worth of almost nothing. Yes, I’m bitter…and I won’t ever forget or forgive you, Shay.

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This post was submitted by JT Clemens.

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