Dec 23 2013

Fired 3 Times in 2 years…Is it me?

I did everything right. I worked hard, earned 3 degrees while working full time and was easy to get along with. I have 1 major issue and that is that I don’t suffer fools lightly. I’m really easy going and told I have a good sense of humor. Generally I deal with very smart people on a daily basis and I enjoy this part of my job. But sometimes when people cannot or will not acknowledge that they do not know everything even when presented with the facts infuriates me.

The first time I was laid off from my job I worked for a guy that I thought had it all together. He was a little younger than me and knew he didn’t have the knowledge or experiences that I had but he was smart enough to ask good questions and generally came up with some good suggestions. Then one day everything changed and I don’t know why. My yearly review was due and he called me in to his office. I sat down feeling pretty confident that it would be the usual “Exceeds Expectations” since I had just won a company wide efficiency award, just got back from training where I earned an advanced industry certification and had just completed a major project way ahead of schedule and below budget.
That was not to be. I was told that I had “communication issues” with members of senior management, I was difficult to get along with and I had let some deadlines slip on some major projects. I protested but I might as well have been talking to a wall.

The facts were this: The “communications issues” were from several years before when a VP wanted new equipment but then decided that it would not help him. This happened the first week I started working for this company like I said several years before. The other “communications issue” was when I asked a VP a question in a meeting that he was unprepared to answer. Instead of saying he would get back to me or something like that he made up some BS and I let it slide. I even thanked him for the response knowing it was BS. Later he told my boss that I was harassing the ladies in his office. He was the HR VP for pete’s sake. It was BS and never happened. The complaint about the harassment was not true and he could not get anyone from his department to file a complaint. Also this supposedly occurred a good 2 years before my review. So really I couldn’t understand why this came up. I asked but wasn’t given an answer that made sense. Then I questioned the “Missing Deadline on Major Projects” issue. The Major project was a major political football in the company. No one wanted to change the way they were doing things and some company VP’s went to the CEO and raised a fuss. Needless to say we were told to stop the project and it was acknowledged by my boss that it was not because of something we had or had not done but simple office politics. We had actually finished 90% of the project before we stopped. The other projects were all finished ahead of schedule.

I actually received a “Needs Improvement” on that review although 4 of the 11 criteria were “exceeds”, 6 were “meets expectations” and only 1 was “Needs Improvement” I was floored. He was supposed to average it out and it should have been an “Exceeds” When I brought that up he told me he could do what he wanted with the final rating. I had NEVER in my 25 years of working had ever received a review of “Needs Improvement”. 90% of my reviews were always “Exceeds Exceptions” or whatever the highest rating was. I let it go. If I had brought it up to HR it would have made it worse.

11 months later I was called in and told that the company was “Eliminating My Position” because they knew I was looking for a job (I was) and because I had production issues. I had no warning that I had production issues except for that review 11 months prior. I was not warned that I had “Production issues” nor was I warned to not look for a job.

I ended up in Unemployemnt court where the manager that let me go admitted that I was not a problem employee and that they let me go because I was seeking employment outside the company which by the way was not something that you could be fired for at our company. I got my unemployment since the company according to the judge “Did not have any reason to terminate my employment but in this state which is a right to work state the company does not need a reason to terminate your employment.” The company changed the reason to “Reduction in Force – Position Eliminated” and I was eligible for rehire immediately IF a position became available. I was not interested. My bosses boss was fired 6 months later when service levels plummeted in my old department. I found out later that over 20 people in my division were let go the same way I was.

2 weeks passed and I found another job through a headhunter. The job was a departmental management position and the company which was small didn’t really have a reputation to research but I was assured that the company was solid and the people that I spoke with were long term employees. I thought it was a great fit. I worked my magic just like I did at my 2 previous positions and saved the company a ton of money and came up with ways to save the company a ton more. The company’s vendors were ripping off the company by charging retail rates when we were buying in bulk. The people providing services were charging us for equipment that wasn’t even in the company and a service provider was really overcharging the company by 10’s of thousands of dollars a month. There were other issues that were covered up and there were management issues that management refused to address and pushed under the rug. This company was unethical to say the least. I felt slimy working there and yet on the outside it appeared to be a respectable business.

I went to work there on the first day and was given a list of tasks that needed to be accomplished over the next 12 months. I finished these tasks in 7 months and then proposed a new group of projects that would have saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars to my boss For the next month I answered phones and performed Customer support tasks along with my regular duties. The assigned projects were all finished and I had just proposed a bunch of new projects to the State VP’s, COO, the Comptroller, CFO and CEO. I was told “No” (actually I was told “Hxll No! by the CEO and COO. I never did understand where the anger came from because this proposal was part of a presentation to the executive board half of which had already approved the expenditures) on all these projects even though it was going to save the company millions and improve services drastically. As I said, I had already passed these projects by the CFO, the Comptroller and my boss and they agreed that these projects were great ideas. I was disappointed but just smiled and moved on. I never brought it back up. I just went back to my desk and answered phones for the rest of the day. That was a Wednesday. Friday we had Birthday cake. On Monday I was called in and told that I was being Laid Off due to economic conditions. I was given 2 weeks of severance and a Letter of Recommendation that stated that I was great employee, that I was well liked and that I was really good at my job. However the company was cutting costs because it was not meeting budgetary goals and my position was identified as not necessary at this time (Remember all my projects were completed). Several people were laid off at the same time so apparently it was a legitimate lay off. Anyway I was kind of glad it ended. Remember I felt slimy working for this company. It was not an immoral business like a house of prostitution but it was not exactly as good as running a payday lending operation.

So now I had been laid off from 2 jobs in 9 months. What could happen next right?

I was out of work for 3 months and finally found a job again through another headhunter. The job was advertised as one thing and told that it was another better thing. They liked my experience, education, training and answers to the interview questions. The job was a demotion, paid less but was still in my profession. I was thinking that it might be a long term position that would enable me to clean up my resume. The second day after I took the position my new boss quit. When he told me why he quit I was not surprised he quit. The job was terrible. He offered me the position and I told him I would do what the company needed me to do. but I really didn’t want it. It didn’t happen. The company was looking for someone with heavy experience in that industry and I didn’t have any experience in that industry. Like I said I have 25 years of experience in my field and multiple advanced degrees. The person they hired as my boss’s replacement didn’t have a degree one. He also didn’t really have any skills that were applicable to our area. He had a few years of experience in the industry and had been a manager at his last company. He also made less at his last job than I made at this company.

He came to work and I was moved to an area away from the main area. For 2 weeks I fully expected to see him come walking up and introduce himself. He never did. Finally one day he came up to my office and introduced himself. It’s not like I hadn’t tried to contact him. I called several times and stopped by his office but either he was not there or he was in a meeting. For the next 2 months I never saw him again. Then something changed and I got an email from him asking for me to stop by his office one morning. I knew what was coming. I was laid off again. I was told that I would get severance and a letter of recommendation. I received both but had to fight to get the severance. The reason given was that the company was cutting back due to economic conditions and in fact they had released several people but my area thought we were safe because there were so few of us. What the company did was to go find cheaper people to do our jobs and then laid us off. I had heard that those kind of things happened but had never seen it occur until now. The people they brought in were inexperienced and worked for a little more than minimum wage. Of course the company is really suffering but apparently they cut payroll by 50% which was their goal.

To sum up: For 23 years I had 2 places of employment. After 27 years I had 3 places of employment. 1 1/2 years later I had worked for 3 different companies in the prior 18 months.

I can’t blame any of this on immigrants taking my job nor directly on Obamacare but as a highly educated Finance Professional I can without a doubt blame it on a terrible, terrible economy that is caused by stupid policies that have decimated America. Unless we reduce the deficit and tax rates quickly, reduce the number of legal and illegal immigrants and rework Obamacare we are all going to end up “Laid-Off”.

Based on the Law of Supply and Demand, if there are just a few people seeking employment wages will go up to attract the best and brightest. If there are many people seeking employment demand for people will be lower and wages will fall. Right now we have many people seeking the few available jobs and companies are letting the well paid go and hiring the less experienced at half the pay. Simple Economics.

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This post was submitted by Knowledge Worker - MBA.

Feb 26 2013

Ad/Mktg/Digital Media Expert: Laid Off Twice in 18 Months

It’s hard to believe that I find myself in this position again after being laid off just over a year and a half ago. I work in advertising/marketing with a focus on digital media. I’m at the senior level after being in this field for 19 years.

When I was laid off of my previous job, my boss connected me to the agency that just laid me off. I was hired to lead the digital strategy group which was quite a mess when I took it over. I managed to rally the team, create process and deliverables that our clients were ecstatic about! I grew the team and gained the confidence of my peers and the company leadership – so much so, that when my boss left, I got a promotion to take over for her and to manage the technology team as well.

Sounds great so far, right? Well, a few months back, our incompetent finance director said we were off forecast (in a great part due to her misrepresenting the financials). The partners wanted the management team to cut costs – we did. We also cranked up the sales effort – but to no avail.

A couple of months ago, my boss from my previous job came on board to the agency I was working at. I was happy to work with her again, but warned her of the problems that were going on (too long to mention here). Within the first couple of weeks, she told me how well regarded I was amongst the staff, partners and clients.

From the beginning of her time with the company, she was stuck in financial review meetings. The upshot was that we were missing the mark by over $1M and that there would be a staff reduction.

I was asked to provide guidance on who in my team to let go. There weren’t any good answers – everybody was necessary and excellent at what they do. I made a recommendation and left it with my boss and the partners.

Well imagine my surprise, when I come in the next week and they decide that I’m the one to go. Even though I was the first person to successfully run the digital side of the business. Even though everybody loved me and thought I was great at what I do. Even though nobody could make decisions there without consulting me for my input.

I asked my former boss later why I was let go – the answer, “I made too much.” What a crock of sh!t – Well I don’t make it now. Now I have to find another job to support my family. I know I can probably find another job – but to what end? So I can get laid off again?

There has got to be a better way than these stupid corporations who don’t know how to manage from day to day.

I hope to find it.

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This post was submitted by Jay.

Oct 5 2012

Husband was laid off today and I have been unemployed since March 2010

Today I write this through my tears and my fears. Its happening, my husband came through the front door an hour earlier than usual. I knew, I just knew. He said, “They laid me off today.” I know understand when people say my knees buckled. I have been unemployed for over a year and a half. My husbands paycheck was barely making ends meet. In fact he just came back home after living in another state because it was the only job he could get. He was laid off from his previous job. This morning my biggest worries were the usual ones. How I was going to stretch his paycheck to cover mortgage and put food on the table. This evening that has changed to how are we going to keep our home and I hope the neighbors aren’t home when they come to repo our cars. I have never seen my husband cry over anything..but today he broke down and said this wasn’t how I thought our life would be at 52 and 51. We did all the right things, got an education, worked hard and still I sit here broke. We have 3 children and 1 grandson and I am ashamed to tell them dad got laid off…again. Thanks for listening…

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This post was submitted by Carol.

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.

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.