13 years down the drain

I used to work for a small family run Civil Engineering firm, just down the street from where I live. I had just completed 2 years of Technical Schooling to get the degree, needed to do the computer drafting job at the firm. This was my “mid-life crisis”… **LOL** A “chance” to get out of the dreary factory job and make more money… or so I thought.

First, a bit of background info…

In the beginning it was a nice place to work, with a “family” atmosphere and so close to home I could walk in the severe weather. However, during the past 4 years or so, the feeling was getting colder and colder. The brothers that ran the place were polar opposites of one another, one being upright and industrious [however timid and non-confrontational to the extreme], the other a total loaf and a major waste of skin. The reason for the chilling effect had to have been the fact the “good brother” was itching to retire.

During this time a “new guy” was hired to take over the company, and as it goes, at countless other firms, he started to “make changes”. It wasn’t long after this that the economy took a dump, and there was less and less work coming in. Every day the tension grew in the office and other co-workers were ousted one by one, with a simple impersonal form letter on their desk, or a quick “meeting” in the bosses office… some “family/caring atmosphere”, eh? Every Tuesday and Wednesday was the worst as everyone was jumpy and eyeing each other to see who was next… everyone jumped when the “all page” tone loudly rang thru the quiet office. All the while management was totally silent, so it was like a very long game of Russian roulette in the office.

My “boss” was a 27 year old smart Alec toady, whom had no problem knifing me to the “new guy”, behind my back. He was only there a total of 4 years at the time, but he kissed his way to the top very quickly. He especially was “pals” with the “new boss”. He ended up not passing the work along to me, in the normal fashion and he began doing all of his own drafting work. This, of course, made me look bad. So in light of this “situation”, the old boss, whom was due to step out of the door and “pass the reigns” in a few days, called me back to his office. He told me straight up, and without remorse, he “had to let me go”, due to no work. He would not even discuss the toady’s actions to cause this, and he was very matter of fact about the whole thing. In fact this was out of the blue, as there were no “meetings” on the “lack of productivity” ever before. So in the course of a few minutes I lost my job of 13 years and 15 days of paid vacation time. The old boss told me he’d hire me back in an instant, but we both knew it was a lie, as he would be gone in a few weeks and therefore have no say whatsoever in the company business.

Upon the news, I went back to my desk and started to load an old paper box. The toady soon showed up and acted “surprised”… it was the hardest thing to resist the urge to wring his neck on the spot, but I got out quickly before I lost it. In a way it was a relief really, the months of tension melted away. I pity the last remaining draftsman, as he now has to do the work to “replace” the 3 of us who were tossed out.

The sad part is I’m sure they won’t be calling me back, nor is there any other firms hiring. My job was dependent on development, building and construction. All of which has ground to a halt. It looks like I’ll have to go back to the factory again and take a 50% pay cut. I’ll be 45 this year, with no retirement account [had to cash it in to pay bills and remain afloat], no health insurance, and no life insurance. Oh yes, did I mention I still have 5 years of student loans to pay back yet?

My last hope is to start some sort of business on my own. Even thru all of this I look on it as an opportunity to make something positive out of this wretched situation.

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13 years down the drain, 4.5 out of 5 based on 12 ratings

This post was submitted by Mike .


One Response to “13 years down the drain”

  • ww Says:

    As I say on my radio show all the time, never buy into the ‘family’ atmosphere thing! Take it from my 22 yrs of experience at many many companies. I hope thousands of people are reading this, because so many companies give you that load of nonsense about ‘we are like a family’. Bottom line is the dollar, this is business… don’t EVER forget that. Save yourself a lot of heartache.. do not buy into the ‘we are a family ‘ work environment. Always stay professional, no matter how personal they act towards you and others.

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