Jul 18 2014

New Girl Laid Off After Two Weeks…Cutbacks Kill.

I graduated college with a design degree on June 2012 and have been juggling part-time and freelance jobs since then, just trying to make enough money to live on my own. After spending hours on hours on end searching and applying and interviewing for jobs, I finally landed a full-time gig a year after. It was for a start-up company that has a lot of potential. They offered me a generous compensation with great benefits to match. I was definitely on the right track now, or so I thought.

The day after I got my first paycheck, I was given notice that I am being let go. Our company had a meeting that afternoon, with our CEO announcing we had to cut our expenses in half in order to get more funding (hmm? sounds sketchy right..) and that there would be lay-offs. There goes the first person in the room with a manila envelope… second person… third person… and then, me. Two weeks in my new job, and that’s it. I am a 23-year old professional, I shouldn’t have taken this personally, but I am also an emotional, fragile, disappointed, frustrated and stressed woman – so I broke down and cried to my female coworker. Yes, I did that… in front of my CEO.

Now, I am back at job searching again, hoping next time would be better.

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This post was submitted by Andrea.

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.

May 17 2013

Life as a Executive Chef

I was the Executive Chef for a private Hospital. Never in my life I thought I would be in this position. I was laid off with no notice, severance package or anything. I was making too much money. I have a family and no income. I can’s find a job anywhere and I feel lost. At one time I had everything and I’m close to be homeless. Years of experience and a strong resume is not enough. I have faith and I know everything happens for a reason but if I don’t get a job, I will end up on the streets.

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This post was submitted by Mac.

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.

Feb 22 2013

You put it on yourself!!

I worked for a bank as a mortgage loan underwriter/closer/processor/receptionist for 7 years. I took my job seriously, and frequently worked overtime. Another girl, who happened to be the boss’s best friend’s daughter, rose through the ranks of the bank quickly, becoming an AVP/Senior Underwriter/Closer in no time. She had seniority over me so it didn’t bother me so much, even though she was frequently out with headaches and other ailments. Then she got pregnant. She set her own hours, showed up for a few hours and left for the duration of her pregnancy. When she took a 5 month maternity leave, my boss did not hire anyone to cover for her; rather I was expected to do my job and hers. This required frequent overtime. I was stressed out, emotional, and very unhappy. Frequently I had difficulty breathing and also developed back and neck problems.

When my coworker (Kay) came back to work, she did so at 24 hours per week. Again I was working overtime to compensate for her reduced working hours, and again my boss did not hire another employee. Then I got pregnant. It was agreed when I returned to work that I would do so at 30 hours per week. Well, I tried to work 30 hours per week but my boss always asked to work more, which I did. Then Kay got pregnant again. I let my boss and Kay know that I could not cover another 5 month maternity leave, and that I could not put in overtime. Kay stated she would return to work after 3 months. My boss asked me to work 40 hour weeks to cover for Kay, which I agreed to, for 3 months only. Mind you, when my boss asked Kay to work full time while I was on maternity leave, she laughed in his face and said No way. So, Kay came in one day and announced she needed to take leave a month early, and produced a doctors note. My boss informed me my 40 hour weeks would be effective immediately. I worked overtime all summer to cover for Kay. Kay then did not return to work as planned, and extended her leave an additional month. I let my boss know that I was overwhelmed (volumes were through the roof, and everything was my job at the branch) and that I could not handle the workload. He had also hired another girl who was not working out. In the meantime, a NEW manager came in, and ripped the quality of my work. Mind you, I had received production awards for the prior two years, and rave reviews from my boss. I let my boss know a month before I was let go that I had agreed to work 30 hour weeks (my vacation time, sick time, benefits were all based on 30 hour work weeks despite the fact I averaged well over 30 hours each week) and that I would go back when Kay was originally supposed to come back. My boss informed me he would go to HR. On the Friday which was unbeknownst to me to be my last day, the new manager, Ashley, sat with me for three hours and informed me the central processors did not care for me, that we had gotten off on the wrong foot, but that I could “trust” her. Famous last words. My boss let me know he would “cry” if I quit, and that he was so sorry for how much he had put on me. I let them both know I was going back to my regularly scheduled hours.

The following week when I didn’t show up on Monday (which was not a regularly scheduled day for me), HR phoned and said nobody knew where I was. I explained the situation, and was told I put the extraordinary workload on myself, that it was all my fault, and that no one could believe I couldn’t help my team out. I asked what Kay’s hours would be when she returned to work, and was told it was none of my business, that it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me. I was asked why I hadn’t worked that Monday, and I said I hadn’t been scheduled for Mondays for about a year and a half, that I was scheduled for 30 hour weeks. I was then asked how well I communicate with my boss, who we shall call Denny the D Bag. He had clearly sandbagged me with HR. I was then asked if I would work 40 hours, to which I said no. I asked if the HR manager had any clue how much of myself I had given the bank for 7 years, and again was told I did not know how to set boundaries and that I put things on myself. According to the new manager Ashley who did not know me for more than a week at least. Denny called me up next to tell me to turn my key in, and that they were accepting my resignation. Now Kay works her 30 hours, another gal from another office gets to work 30 hours, and they hired another full time person.

“I am so mad at myself for all the extra overtime, time away from my family, for all the energy and effort I gave them. In the end it meant NOTHING.”

Denny even had the gall to send me a “Happy Birthday” greeting after it happened. I didn’t respond. Hopefully it will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to me, but I am incredibly resentful of the fact that Denny treated others so much better than me.

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This post was submitted by Rochelle.