The rollercoaster ride of the last year has had plenty of twists and turns, but the first cut was definitely the deepest.
Some philosopher or songwriter, probably once said that before we take a step forward we must take two steps backwards, so I wanted to take you back to where this nightmare all began.
(Did I just paraphrase Bruce Springsteen? Wow, I feel dirty.)
Anyhow, here’s the bumpy ride to the land of unemployment.
(Insert harp music for the flashback.)
One day, I was managing a staff of about 50 people, most of which were the highly motivated 20 or 30 somethings who were looking to find their place in life.
Most of our full-time employees were making barely above minimum wage compared to their colleagues in the industry, while most of our part-time employees were literally making barely above minimum wage.
Either way, this group was really happy to be working and it was all worth it, right? We were paying our dues and building a career.
We delivered results that were well above what anyone would’ve expected, especially when you consider that we were doing it with blindfolds on and hands tied behind the back.
As their manager, friend, and teacher, I was very proud.
Unfortunately all that meant nothing when business got involved. The company we had all called home for almost a decade was sold to a company that had a history of 1) buying, 2) stripping down and 3) selling at a profit.
No way, we were going to be different. We were going to teach the cheating boyfriend how not to cheat.
My wise mother of 79 years, said immediately after the sale that this was not a good thing, but I was too blind to see it or believe it.
Knowing that I treated the employees like people and actually felt their heartbeat, I was kept completely out of all plans for what was going to happen.
Day after day, week by week, month after month, my office was used more for therapy sessions than work. One employee after another would come in to discuss the rumors of our demise.
I was feeling more like Dr. Phil than myself, but I was honest with every single person who walked in. I told them I had been told nothing and that anything was possible.
For months, the upper management laid out a trail of poisonous popcorn to keep us going, like “just keep doing what your doing” and “nothing is set yet”, but behind close doors they were counting down to doomsday.
Through my own therapy sessions, I had learned, if you are going to create a make-believe scenario in your head, you don’t always have to create a doom-and-gloom one. Sometimes, there are happy endings.
Well, not this time.
After months of putting the group through the hell of the unknown, the ax fell.
A mandatory staff meeting was called and the group was fired -- with no notice. Wow, that sounds pretty clean and easy.
I guess it was for them. After all, they had been planning this massacre for more than four months.
Among the victims in attendance at the lynching was a 7-month pregnant employee who probably would’ve had more energy to find a job had she been told when she was 3-months pregnant.
Of course that would’ve spoiled the big surprise.
It’s not like Hitler sent out emails to say when he would be stopping by. That would’ve ruined all the fun.
There were fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters. A mother on maternity leave, husbands who had moved their families to take on this job.
Business is business and we all pretend to understand that, but to not give ANYbody, ANY notice was inhumane.
The new owners had every right to burn down the building, but to leave people in it to burn was were the line was drawn.
The bottom line was after decades of loyalty and countless hours of work, it all meant nothing.
Get your severance check and get out.
Oh -- and good luck with your search for employment.