Oct 14 2011

Story from the Great Depression

This is not my story. It is my Grandfather’s. It has come to me via my father, in one of those “You think this is bad? I’ll tell you bad..” stories.

During the early 1930’s my grandfather was working as a truck driver for Coca Cola in central Kentucky. He was married with two infant children, my dad and my uncle. The depression was not only causing a tremendous loss of jobs, it was causing something we have not seen: deflation. Manufacturers were cutting the cost of their products in a vain attempt to stimulate demand. The only way they could do this was cut wages. My grandfather had his meager wagers cut in half, to a level that could not sustain his young family. There was no second job to look for – he was lucky to have anything, and grateful to Coke that he was not let go. The one consolation was that everyone else around him was in the same boat.

In a time before unemployment assistance and >25% unemployment, how did they survive? The money was just enough to pay the rent and for food for the children. My grandmother and grandfather survived for several years on a garden my grandmother grew in a small backyard plot. She had a green thumb that not only fed them but provided enough extra that they traded vegetables for other staples they needed. My father recalls a time playing in the garden that kept them alive.

Times eventually got better and my grandfather rose in the company and eventually retired as a VP. Still, until my grandmother moved into an assisted living center in her early 90’s, she always had a garden, always canned fruits and vegetables and always saved for a rainy day.

So when I think about how bad it is now, I guess my Dad is right, it could be worse.

We can survive this Great Recession.

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This post was submitted by Roger.

Aug 31 2011

Longevity Doesn’t Pay

All my life I have always heard that longevity in a job shows you are stable and looks real good on your resume’. Well, I am a stable person by nature anyway, so staying at the same job is no problem for me. The problem is the career path I chose. Actually, I didn’t choose it, I fell into it quite by accident.

Way back in 1982, I saw a want ad published by a recruiter for a dental assistant for $15,000. I inquired about it and when I had the interview with the recruiter, all she talked about was a job with Loyola Federal as a mortgage processor for $6700.00. I asked what about the dental assistant job? She said, “oh, that’s not available”. So there goes my start in the mortgage business. I was only 17 at the time and still living at home, so I was not pressed to make a certain salary. Anyway, fast forwarding to 2011, I made an observation. I never lost a job the first 14 yrs in the mortgage industry. In the last 16 yrs., I have been laid off 4 times. I have now been laid off for 7 months. I am a mortgage underwriter and my 30 yrs of experience apparently is meaningless in this crappy economy.

In my most recent job, 4 out of 8 people in our MD office were laid off a week before Christmas and only 9 days after the company Christmas party. Real nice, huh? The rest of us were gone when office was shut down all together, which was no surprise. Problem that I see is that in the first 14 yrs. I never lost a job because I would leave a job before it got bad enough for offices to start closing. I would say safe zone was 2 – 3 years. So I have concluded that longevity in a job doesn’t pay. Keep on moving..

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This post was submitted by Irene .

Jul 28 2011

Not A Fit For Racial Profiling…

When I am home for the summer it is always near impossible to find employment. However, I responded to a Craigslist ad for a seasonal job, and I got an interview. The interview was with the owner of the boutique, and she said that the job would last until labor day. I was upfront and said I couldn’t work until then (because of school) and she said that she would discuss me with the manager. I was hired, even after expressing doubts, but the owner assured me that she needed me.

So I work for two months in the retail industry. However, the boss is very difficult. For instance, she wanted me to circulate the overall store more, but also pay specific attention to individual (white) customers in the fitting room. I was also told to watch the Hispanics and Muslims (don’t know how you can tell what religion people are by their looks) because they were prone to shoplift. Now I know what she was doing was wrong, but I kept the job because I really needed money. It did become stressful to work though. The owner kept giving me tasks and then changing her mind and holding me accountable. However, I did everything to please her.

After two months, the manager called me in after a shift and out of the blue and told me I was being let go. The reason? I wasn’t a right fit. I guess because I refused to racial profile, I did not belong. I’m glad I’m not a right fit because I’m not going to school to be a retail slave. However, I was upset to be let go. Now my boss used to hold a Cabinet position with the state so she is well published. After doing some research I found out that she didn’t pay income taxes because she often claims losses on her business. Funny how someone can cheat the system! Well I am unemployed but I guess I learned my lesson about working for horrible people.

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This post was submitted by EC.

Jul 24 2011

“The company is very healthy…”

I work(ed) for a for-profit online university- part of an industry that has been under intense scrutiny the past year for various reasons.

About two years ago, a new CEO came in. The organization had been known at a regional level for being an amazing place to work. The culture quickly deteriorated upon his arrival. He was known for being quite the prick, had no experience in higher ed, and was the worst fit possible for the culture. Once the regulatory environment started to get extremely hostile, our enrollment plummeted due to bad press. This was when the CEO decided it was time to “get lean.”

One morning, we came in to find an email from the CEO titled “Organizational Announcement.” We were informed that roughly 10% of the workforce would be cut over the next two weeks (yes.. you read that correctly). Instead of just doing it, they thought it would be best to drag it out.

We all sat, not caring if we looked productive or not, for the next week. Our directors and managers had been telling us for months that the company was “Very healthy. We have no debt. Blah blah blah.” Any ounce of trust we had for leadership was tossed into the trash the morning we got that email. I honestly felt I owed them nothing, given how horrible they were handling the situation. I realized my department was going to get hit hard. The writing had been on the wall the whole time, but most of us had just ignored it.

After sitting on pins and needles a little over a week, the layoffs started. Your department would get an email indicating that layoffs had begun in your area. Your manager (if they hadn’t gotten the boot themselves) would come to your desk and ‘summon’ you to follow them to a room where butcher paper (yes… you also read that correctly) had been placed on the walls for privacy. An HR rep would be waiting for you with the response, “You have been impacted by the workforce reduction.” You got your severance information, and then you were escorted back to your desk by a carefully selected member of the HR team to get your things.

After several colleagues of mine had gotten axed, my turn came. I’m happy to say I acted with dignity and didn’t tell anyone to “Go to hell.” I gathered my stuff quickly, said a few goodbyes, and hit a bar a few blocks away. I drank a lot that night and commiserated with friends, mocking the company. It made me feel better while I wondered what I was going to do.

Now, (6 months later) I don’t look at my layoff as a bad thing…. It was just the kick in the ass I needed to get out of a (frankly) bizarre workplace that was wasting my skills and was horribly untruthful with the staff. I know many people who survived, and they say that the morale stinks as bad as an outhouse in the middle of the amazon. Notices come in weekly, and directors and managers are dropping like flies. Overall, it’s best thing that’s happened to me in a long time, and I love my new job. I’m doing what I always wanted to, and life is great! There IS life after a layoff!

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This post was submitted by starzyMN.

Jul 20 2011

Creative Micro Systems is a Load(of Sh!t)man

Oh boy! Here we go again! I got laid off from another small company trying to act like a BIG company:

Creative Microsystems, they build on-board truck scales. Loadman is the name of the product.

BOY! Is it ever a LOAD man, a load of s**t!

My job was to build the arm and fork boxes that record the weight of the dumpster that the truck picks up, also I have to build the cables to go with this system, the person next to me builds the meters that the arm and fork, record the weight information too.

When I started there, my trainer, a few months later he quit to go be an electrician, well with the 4 months training I got I took it and tried my best to fill his shoes.

Mind you I was hired as an assembler, not a technician to make this stuff work.

Anyway, I thought that Chris was my supervisor, I could not find him in the company for five mins. to ask him a question on when I got stuck, so I went to the next person up, Larry, his attitude was “why are you bothering me with this?”, I guessed that your supposed to figure this stuff out yourself… ok, with no training manual or accurate diagram of the boards on question, I plowed on the best I could, with no guidance, but a drawn up book I made myself from some old notes of which that book vanished.

2 people came and went of who I trained of what I was given the material to work with…. are you dear reader confused yet?

so then we got a 3rd person in, Peg, I trained her up to what material I had, in fact I made a copy of my book to give to her (mistake on my part never should have copied that book! I did that at Newton, once that got their “training manual” they terminated me) She went ahead and built the arm boxes and the fork boxes, she said she would build the arms if I would build the forks that they were too hard.

Sounds ok, she was having as many if not more problems with the forks, that I was having problems with, also I was building the cables, and putting together manuals on how this stuff works. Also I had to test the boxes, before we potted them.

With the potting material, some times you get a bad bach, well most of them were bad of which I made the stuff work, but wrote a note that the material was bad.

No help there.

Pegs and my work was shipped, my forks were fine, pegs arms were having problems, and came back, who got the blame? ME! Not Peg oh no, she would get upset don’t do that, blame someone who did not build that arm.

Now before you accuse me, I watched her like a hawk to see what she was doing right and wrong before we potted the arm box. They worked like a charm! And so did my work!


The installers must have messed some thing up bad out there, the stuff failed in the field, who got the blame? ME!

Because I got laid off was because of the problems with the fork boards (I got no help with them) Chris all he could do was give me a smarmy smirk and say some thing negative to “help me”

IE: I asked him “Could you please print me a few labels”, “I gave you those yesterday”, “let me look… no none here”, “If I have time I will otherwise I do not, ask Larry”

Nice huh?

There is lots more, but I won’t get into it

So I am laid off, and the production person they have left, cannot lift 50 lbs+ to build the cables, she is fragile, and she claims that she was hired as a assembler not a technician. I am in the same boat. they wanted an assembler. well the unemployment just shot up to 10.2% Thanks to Chris at CMS, HAPPY?

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This post was submitted by MFX.