Was I Just Promoted or Laid Off?

I worked for a medical device company in NJ for 9+ years. 5 of those years, I have worked remotely (from home).

My husband’s job was relocated to NC. I approached all the necessary persons (i.e. manager, director, HR, Powers that Be, etc..) to ask permission for a new remote location. Permission granted. In the process of our move, our mortgage company had required a letter from my current employer stating that my “remote position was secure and my remote status would be honored”. Letter was provided by employer. We then moved into our new home requiring TWO incomes.

Eight (8) weeks after we are moved into our new home, packing boxes still being unpacked or tucked away for another day, I receive my usual morning telephone call from my manager. In this phone call, he said that he wants to meet with me in one hour and that he is forwarding a document for my review. I open the document within minutes of receipt, to find that it was a job description. With always new hiring going on, I thought I was going to perform a phone interview with a perspective hire.

In review of the job description, I became a bit confused. As the job description was MINE, but the title on the job description was a promoted level to what I currently held. Was this true? Was I getting a promotion? I did not imagine that remote employees could qualify for a promotion, and was told (by my manager) that remote employees were even taking up to 15% cuts in the company b/c they did not need to commute into the office or purchase clothes, and pay for lunches, etc. Side Note: ALTHOUGH most remote employees are putting in an average of more hours work time per week than their ‘in office’ colleagues, according to a recent on-line report (google it).

So I attempted to contact my manager to verbally discuss the questions I had prior to our “meeting”. I called once, twice and was up to the typical frantic number of once every five minutes before the hour’s end, with no answer. So “meeting time” has arrived, on the minute, I received a call from my manager. He then announced that I was on speaker and that there was a representative from HR in his office. At that time, based off of my manager’s tone, I realized “this is not good”.

The HR representative then(they opted to give me the most unintelligent and inexperienced one in the group of stellar HR associates [yes, “stellar” was being used sarcastically], to add insult to injury) continued with, “did you see the document we sent you…”

Well, in short, they were offering my OWN job to me IF I were to pick up my family from NC after settling in with 4 children, EIGHT weeks after our move. Anyone reading this story knows that they really were not offering my job back to me, they were simply just using whatever available red tape was available to their shortsightedness so that they did not have to ‘officially’ pay any severance by offering me ‘a job’.

Well, after welling up with tears and having my heart loosened from being stuck in my throat, I had to take advantage of them not being able to see my face, and then politely asked what my options were. After a bunch of “nothings” on the phone, I told them I would get back with my answer on accepting my ‘new position’. Of course, I used this time to talk to some legal sources.

I found out what they did was wrong, not only legally, but ethically, and that going to court was probably not an option due to the limitless funds that this company has to handle any legal issues.

After the news spread, some very good inside sources had contacted me from w/in the company to tell me how it really works and what the company is prepared to do even if they say a “bunch of nothings”.

After contacting the right people (don’t ever look to the HR Dept.) I then was able to get a fair severance, unemployment, and keep a great computer bag out of the deal (okay, it wasn’t that great).
Please know that I am not upset at this point. I have digested the pain and feeling of rejection pretty quickly. I have realized that things really DO happen for a reason.

I am now in a better place, with better people and am grateful for the experiences I have obtained from my previous employer. From the stories that I have read and the stories that have yet to be written, I have not heard of one company out that that really knows how to do ‘this deed’ with class. I suppose once you get to the point, where a company finds an employee is no longer needed, the company feel s that it really does not need to convey any respect or display any class. It is the company that handles layoffs with class and maintains a level of dignity for employer as well as employee that will be the company we should all be working for. “It isn’t the Why, it is the How”. Good luck on anyone reading this and know that there is a future after being laid off. Life is an adventure, enjoy the ride.

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This post was submitted by Michelle Gagliardi.

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