Aug 12 2012

God’s way of telling me to work for minimum wage?


So I go into work today after walking on eggshells for the past few weeks, basically with the director telling me, “I am not threatening you or anything, but pull up your production numbers or you’re gone.” OK Then!!!

So the past few weeks I was not in the bottom of the production task list. The irritating thing Is I thought this was a better opportunity and left a position i was at for 8 years to start with this company. To top it off, I even got another car that was smaller and better on gas to handle the atrocious commute. So now I guess I have to sell the car!

As far as the title of the story, I have been in Real Estate and Title for the past 13 years. With the 3 times I have been laid off just dangling in my face, i think it’s gods way of saying to just work for minimum wage and try not to worry about it. But if you have kids and a mortgage, how do you pay for everything on minimum wage? Enough said.

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This post was submitted by Lauren Kaatz.


Jul 3 2012

A History of a Have Nots

I got laid off in 2008 from my last ‘real job’ because I worked for a real estate company and they closed shop. It’s been a string of temp jobs since – and nothing’s been promising. I always know when a meeting is gonna be my last by the prickly feeling I get between my shoulders – and the feeling is always right. Last temp job: I put sticky notes on the piles of papers I had to work on in the following week- instructions on where I was in each process – for no reason at all at the time. I left on a Friday and got an email that evening that I wasn’t needed anymore. The online job ads are phony and no one wants to bother to pick up a phone. I would even take contract work if it was straight from a company and not a temp recruiter. I’m not picky anymore – but my dream is permanency. It always has been.

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This post was submitted by JT Espinosa.


Mar 12 2012

Fired & Replaced by Neice of Boss’s Golf Buddy!

What do you do when an otherwise great boss blindsides you with the news that you are no longer an employee of his? Well I don’t know what others have done but me, I took the strong, silent route. Seriously. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather and I was sitting down when he told me. I don’t recall the exact words he used, but the tone of it was along the lines of, “Well you’ve been great to work with but you don’t have that much experience and well, we need someone who can take initiative here. So let’s just consider this your last day. Oh by the way, you owe me money for that dental cleaning you did on your own cat so we’ll just take it out of your last check.”

Let me backtrack a few steps: I’m a licensed Veterinary Technician who graduated in 2009. I got not one, but two new jobs at the same time. One was for my local humane society which, unfortunately did not have an opening for a vet tech. So I took an adoption counselor job, which I still have so obviously I’m doing something right. The other was a vet tech (part-time) at a small, and I mean hole-in-the-wall, vet clinic. It was a bit overwhelming between both jobs, learning new skills at two different positions. It’s tough enough starting one new job, let alone two.

Fired & Replaced by Neice of Boss's Golf Buddy!

Fired & Replaced by Neice of Boss's Golf Buddy!


I should’ve known it was going to be all kinds of bad at my vet tech job. When I first started I was told I’d only be given 3 days of training. I was given six WEEKS at the humane society, and that was only for a crappy adoption counselor job. Is there something wrong with this picture? About six weeks into my vet tech position I was pulled into the office by the doctor. He explained that he wanted to see me take more initiative. Apparently I had not been vocal enough about my desire to be trained and he wanted to see me just “jump right in”, as he put it. Never mind that this was my very first tech job and he and his employees weren’t exactly falling all over themselves trying to get me practical experience.

Fast forward five and a half months. I’d been slowly getting into the groove, trying to carve a niche for myself as a useful (albeit inexperienced) technician. I’d gotten used to the routine and though I still needed practice with a lot of things, I felt that over time I would get it bit by bit. Not so fast! One Friday afternoon (note that you should not let go employees on a Friday, when they now have all weekend to do nothing but scheme about ways to exact their revenge), I was called upstairs by the doctor. Uh-oh; by now I’ve learned it’s never a good sign that the doctor wants to speak privately. Guess I was right. I sat there as he told me I was being dismissed, hardly able to keep myself from bursting into tears. The only thing I could do was to agree with everything he said. He was right after all: I did need more training (and if his staff had been willing to do it we wouldn’t have needed to have that discussion). All I could think about as I left that day was the mountain of bills I’d been slowly chipping away at over the past few months, and how I’d surely be maxing out all my available avenues of credit yet again. Luckily I was still employed at the humane society so I had a bit of a safety net there.

Fast forward about a year. Right around the beginning of the summer I ran into one of my former workmates, a highly trained, experienced technician who, you guessed it, was let go from the same place I was. She informed me that as soon as I left, I was replaced with a person who knew the good doctor. How’s that for favoritism?

Fast forward (I know, AGAIN?) another two months and lo and behold, I meet the girl who took my job. WOW. How’s that for fate? She showed up at the adoption shelter where I work and when I saw her place of employment listed on her application she was only too happy to talk about it. Of course she had no clue I was pumping her for information. Turns out she is the niece of the good doctor’s golf buddy. She graduated at exactly the same time I did and spent the first year afterward down at Disney World. That’s right: DISNEY WORLD. She interned (translation- worked for free) at the vet hospital in Animal Kingdom. Here’s the best part – they didn’t even let her do anything technician related. She got to be an assistant, that’s it. So she had no more technical experience than me. In fact, I even had MORE because I’d actually been working as a tech for six months.

I guess now I don’t feel so bad but I still managed to lose out because after all, I am the one who got canned.

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This post was submitted by Jenn.


Nov 15 2011

HR Lays Off HR, Too

I’ve been reading a lot of these layoff stories and sense the exasperation and derision for the Human Resources drones who play an unsympathetic role on ‘the fateful day.’ I wince every time, because you see – I’m HR! But don’t worry, we cannibalize ourselves, too! Look at what we do to each other:

In Nov 2010 I joined a medical device company as a temporary contractor. They wanted to downsize their HR workforce across the world (I can already hear the cheers!) as part of an overall scheme to ‘hack-slash the bottom line because the top line ain’t growing.’ Of course, the agency recruiter who found me for the job just told me I’d be helping the company select and install new recruiting software. (!?) After a few days, I found out two pieces of the real story: 1) my job existed to help facilitate what was, after all, an HR force reduction, and 2) the incumbent for my role voluntarily left the company after just 3 months. They said ‘he missed his old job’ but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have the stomach for what he was asked to do. I didn’t either and thought about leaving several times, but I had an upside-down mortgage and a toddler to feed…

So, for the next five months, I interviewed various members of the HR team and documented their job duties and the processes they followed. (PS – if you are ever asked to document what you do for your job, YES, it’s a bad bad sign.) If they were halfway intelligent and curious creatures and flat-out asked me why I was documenting their jobs, I was told to say, “We’re implementing a software program and the information you provide will help us configure it correctly. The new software will help reduce your administrative burdens so you can focus on the more important, value-add pieces of your job.” What a sell, right?! I also had to help find and evaluate an outsourced firm who could do HR tasks at a lower price. Of course, I was given an open cubicle smack in the middle of the soon-to-be-affected HR personnel (one of whom was 7 months pregnant) to make these phone calls and evaluations…

Things were progressing – processes and duties were documented, an outsourced HR firm was chosen – when something dawned on me. I was very unpopular. No one in HR liked me and stage whispered about me in small clusters as I walked by. Obviously, my confidential “mission” wasn’t so confidential anymore – gracias, cube farm! I hated what I did and the people who worked with me hated me too. SNAFU. I also realized that these soon-to-be-affected HR people who stared daggers at me all day honestly thought that the HR force reduction was MY idea, as if I came in as a workforce efficiency expert/business consultant and suggested the whole thing. Senior management was encouraging this, and in fact, planned for it – “yes, blame it on the temporary contractor – that…that outsider! She’s the problem!” What a perfect scapegoat I made. Never mind that the reduction had been planned 12 months before I even started…

So of course, although I was slow to smell the scent of my own blood in the air, I was abruptly told by the VP of HR that my contract was prematurely ending (the crowd needed a sacrifice! the scales of justice needed tipping!). But would I please stick around just for a few more weeks and train someone else on how to manage and oversee the outsourced HR firm? A “someone” who was otherwise on the chopping block? (See how big-hearted senior management is!!?)

Sigh. Lesson learned.

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This post was submitted by HR Anonymous.


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.



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