I was a manager in our consulting department, part of a large, public, world-wide company build by acquisitions. One year I not only managed 15 people, but also handled a full set of projects, being about 90% billable (goal was 62%). I worked unreimbursed overtime. I earned an award. I was an “investment” employee. My reviews by co-workers were all glowing and high on the number scale. I met all my goals. I took care of little things and big things. I met business internal metrics. Then the economy tanked, and workload suffered, the pipeline dried up, thanks in part to Sales and Marketing folks putting all eggs in one or two baskets and neglecting local markets. Our local office depended on trickle down from a larger office, and we had little local client diversity. Sharing workload between offices quickly dried up along with the economy. My boss, who had enjoyed four years of getting to work late and taking Fridays off because I covered the office, called me in late September 2009 and said I was being laid off. My direct reports wished I stayed and he was let go, but my boss was liked by a regional manager. I had some idea things were heading this way, but surely not me, a person so dedicated to the company, liked by direct reports, and with really good performance. Do I regret not going around my boss and trying to outmaneuver him for the local manager position? I did at first, but then HE got laid off about a month later, and most of the remaining professional folks went part-time and are now being managed by a distant office. The whole thing just went downhill. Other offices have suffered the same fate. So, here I am, over 50, great at what I do, kids in college, and no job yet as of January 2010. I have never been unemployed before and I search every day, looking and networking. My only regret is that I didn’t act sooner to start looking for another job. My suggestion to all – always have a Plan B. Be professional where you work now, do your best, be loyal to yourself, and always be looking.
This post was submitted by Mark.