Thursday, February 19, 2009

Story 2: "My Turn?"

By: 5 Months Along

We knew it was coming, but I never thought it would be me. Let me reiterate that, I NEVER in a million years thought it would be me. In the retail industry, layoffs were inevitable. But I had been with the company for almost 5 years and my fellow employees and I always joked "they don't pay me enough to lay me off." Apparently they do.

With the closing of several warehouses and call centers, the rumors started that the corporate office would be next. But somehow I thought our little brand (though it loses money for the company each year) would be impervious to the layoffs. We just seemed to do our own little thing and I thought they would never hit us.

But the rumors kept flying. And more doors were closing for meetings. HR threw an all-day "team-building meeting" which obviously turned out to be a "here's how we're going to layoff 20% of the workforce meeting." That meeting took place right outside my office. Who knew?
People started to take their personal items home over the course of two weeks. I thought that was so silly. Why would you prepare yourself like that? People started buying as much stuff as they could with their discounts assuming they would be laid off and would lose their corporate discount card. Not me...I just never thought it would happen to me!

So the big day finally came and needless to say, no one got any work done. My boss had been feeling like he was going to be laid off. He was at peace with it. I was not! The only reason why I had taken this job was because of him, and I couldn't imagine working there without him. My mom was in town and I was heading out to lunch with her (again, why did I need to stick around- I wasn't planning on getting laid off, remember?). She came in to the office and said hi to my boss and he even told her he thought his days were numbered....ugh, it was killing me.

So I get back from lunch and the slaughter began. First my designer...but I could rationalize he'd been with the company for 10 years (a big salary risk I assumed) and we were planning to move to more offline developments anyway. The an hour later, a buyer on my team gets hit (she was one of the big spenders taking advantage of her discount in weeks prior), then my boss. Ugh, the agony. Watching him pack up his office. I cried, but he assured me it was a good thing. Time for change. He assured me we would talk soon. Ugh. I called my husband in tears- "how can this be happening? I only took this job because of my will I manage without him? How am I the most senior person left on this team?!" Apparently that seniority wasn't going to last much longer.

My phone rang and I saw my VP's name come across the caller ID. I answered calmly "My turn?" I walked to his office with my head held high, assuming he was going to explain to me what kind of restructuring was taking place and what my role in that would be. Even seeing him in his office with an HR rep didn't tip me off that my career there was about to end. But alas, within moments he explained to me my position was being eliminated and walked me through the pages and pages of paperwork that I was going to have to sign in the next few days/weeks. Needless to say, I couldn't process any of it. I was five months pregnant and just lost my job and my maternity leave! In the "care package" was some information about the job placement company they were working with to help us in this transitional period. I laughed "Yeah, 'cause there are a ton of people out there dying to hire a five month pregnant chick." My sarcasm was not well received by the guy who had to layoff 50 people on his 40th birthday, nor the HR chick.

Oh well.

So off I went, escorted by HR, to my office to pack up my things. My assistant came with me to help and lament. With HR looming, I asked my assistant to follow up with someone upstairs about having some signage made for one of our collections and HR said "really, you don't need to worry about that." Come to find out, the chick who would have made those signs had been laid off too!

The phone rang and it was my boss:
"Hey, I told you we'd talk soon!"
"I just got laid off."
"Shut up! Seriously?"
"Yeah, HR is in my office right now, can I call you back?"

On my way home that day, I called my husband "Love, I just got laid off," I explained, kind of laughing. He said "Let me get this straight, you called me 20 minutes ago in tears because your boss got laid off, now you call me laughing to explain you got laid off?"

Shock works in funny ways, doesn't it?

But every story has a happy ending, and mine is no different. Now I get to focus on growing a baby, lunching with the ladies, and traveling the country to see friends and family before the baby arrives. So I lost my income? What can you do about it? Blog, I guess....

1 comment:

  1. Hi all!

    I newly minted pink! I got my slip today and it's funny that about 2 moths ago, I had put together a plan as to what I would do if i got laid off.

    Well, I don't know if it's shock or not, but I didn't cry or anaything, just said "ok then". Somehow, I feel free. That's an odd emotion right now, I am just taking it at face value. it is what it is, and I am moving on to something else - whatever that may be.

    I am glad to have found this site. Somehow, i feel that only fellow pink slips can really understand how I feel right now.