The Right Place at the Wrong Time

2012 looks to be a year with new beginnings as it already begins with one big end. I think everyone that gets laid off rests in a fuzzy “did that really happen” state of mind for a while after they get the ax. That’s certainly how I feel after being laid off just 2 days after my 2 year anniversary with my company. I also think everyone who gets hit in this position will be asking themselves the question to which they may never get the answer – “Why me?”

My first response after embarrassingly being escorted out the building was a strange state of acceptance. But as that day kept going I kept getting what could only be described as an instant pop bubble appear over my head that read, “You don’t have a job anymore.” Now, as the weekend comes to an end and I begin to realize I have nothing to wake up to on Monday. I remain very upset with the situation, as well anyone in this situation should be.

The marketing company I worked for gave me a few wonderful experiences I am grateful for which only makes the lay-off that much worse. After everything I’ve done, after all that’s been set up for me in the future… this is how it ends? This past summer I actually volunteered to work overseas for 3 months in a new client services role, different from my role back here in the states. The experience was amazing. The exposure within the company was overwhelming and I’ll always remember that amazing time I had.

When I returned I was placed back into my previous position but with the work my superiors were pleased I accomplished they had their eyes on me for something bigger once the moment came available. I was eventually approached about a special projects role I’d be filling when the time came but in the meantime my original role remained.

Month after month passed. No change. I’d ask, “Any updates on the new team getting started?” “No updates yet,” my future boss would say. As time went on I became a little humiliated each time my peers would ask me, “So when are they moving you over to something else?” Everyone expected me to move on from my original department and clearly noticed how nothing was changing. I remained content because some role is better than no role at all.

Then comes a Friday like any other. My future boss calls me as soon as I sit at my desk. As I walked upstairs I wondered if the time had finally come where I’d be deployed off to a special assignment. “Have a seat. We’re just waiting for ______ ,” he said. That’s where I got scared. This person worked in HR and could only mean Death was about to come walking in.

“The company is reducing staff right now and you’re position is being eliminated.”

“Okay?” I mean, what else could I really say?

All of the paperwork was then handed to me. The letter from the president, the separation agreement and a lot of other copy that you really wish you’d never have to see. I asked if I could sit somewhere and actually read it all since everything said to me was just mush due to my head saying a hundred things to myself. Cut back to me being escorted out of the building – As I said goodbye to my would’ve-been boss we shake hands and say our goodbyes. I saw in his eyes he genuinely felt bad about having to do this but either way the damage was done.

What ultimately sucks is trying to figure out the “why me?” answer on your own. In my case, the only explanation was since I was in a transitional role into a position that would inevitably be eliminated in a time of crisis they did away with it. It didn’t matter who filled that role at the time. I was placed in a role that would further my career only to fall victim to that role being eliminated. The infuriating fact of this problem is I didn’t ask to be placed in this transitional role. I could’ve easily been told due to the staff reduction we’re killing the new role and will be in my original/current position for the indefinite future. But did it matter? No. The damage was done therefore any bargaining was unnecessary. The department I was in had 3 new employees that were still in their 90 probation period. But what do they do? Get rid of the person that travelled to the other side of the world for them only to be done away with 5 months later. It’s not a question of laying off people that were less valuable than me but it is a question of me not having control of the fact that I was in a transitional role BECAUSE of them. If there were a term for this it would only be described as Corporate Entrapment – Being promoted to a role that did not yet exist but because it was expendable during hard times the person in said role is with whom they do away. Awesome.

I was looking forward to special projects, being deployed to other offices throughout the country to accomplish short-term missions. This wasn’t the deployment I was hoping for.

Just remember that after being laid off and you ask yourself “Why me?” you are rarely ever a name or a person. You are a position that a committee has decided they can do away with for the time being. And as much as that sucks the best thing you can do is take the experience you got while there and show it off elsewhere. Someone out there will see your value.

Because at this point, your career can only go uphill.

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This post was submitted by Andy.


3 Responses to “The Right Place at the Wrong Time”

  • econobiker Says:

    “This past summer I actually volunteered to work overseas for 3 months in a new client services role, different from my role back here in the states.”

    The “winds” of your workplace shifted while you were offshore and you could not pick up on it.

    “The department I was in had 3 new employees that were still in their 90 probation period.” and “I could’ve easily been told due to the staff reduction we’re killing the new role and will be in my original/current position for the indefinite future.”

    Probably those employees are either cheaper to pay than you or will be laid off also at the end of their 90 days.

    “I saw in his eyes he genuinely felt bad about having to do this but either way the damage was done.”

    Sure he felt bad but not bad enough to have figured out some way for you to have stayed. Or it was out of his hands for you to stay- ie your salary was too much or someone higher than him did not want you to move into the other roles.

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  • chris Says:

    Your situation sounds exactly like mine. I was a Process Engineer for two years. I thoughts everything was well. I knew the company wasn’t making the money they wanted to, but I thought we were getting by, and as one of the people that works at making processes cheaper, and develops processes to get new customers in, I was a little surprised when I was let go this morning.

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  • Zara Says:

    To you guys up there,

    I definitely don’t agree with what your companies are doing. I am currently reading this book Good to Great by Jim Collins. Laying off a valuable employee who can expand business is as good as driving the company into nothingness.

    I doubt your ex-company will survive future crisis, so it’s perhaps a blessing for you. You’re too good for them. Even if they survive, they won’t ever be a great company.

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