It has been an unsettling couple of months at my place of employment. My company’s success is dependent on the construction industry which has been decimated by the recession. Last year, two separate rounds of pay-cuts, layoffs and expense reductions were implemented. I wrote about them here and here. Our company’s 2010 budget was prepared with the anticipation of Obama’s stimulus monies kicking in mid-year; just in time to pull us out of this recession. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Two months ago, after draining the company’s life insurance policies of all eligible borrowings I asked my boss, “What is plan B?” I thought he was holding back when he said, “There isn’t one.”
He wasn’t holding back. There wasn't a plan B. Instead I’ve had to endure two months of meetings in which every possible scenario has been tossed around. I never would have anticipated how political and dysfunctional this process would become. Managers and employees alike are pouting; pointing fingers, saying things like, “I’ll fire so & so if you get rid of Bob.” “I’ll get rid of Bob if you reduce Susie’s hours she can’t possibly have anything to do.” “I can’t reduce Susie’s hours she is a single mom” (plus she is my girlfriend)… Then there is Mary the receptionist who refuses to answer the phone when Susie is at her desk because she doesn’t think she has to and on and on and on….
Thursday, I was told I needed to eliminate a position in my department. I had until the Tuesday after Labor Day to decide who. I and my boss would be responsible for doing this person’s work. (While I was on vacation in early August our HR manager the FOB (friend of the boss) took my place in these meetings and I haven’t been invited back). I flat out refused. I offered to reduce everyone’s hours to 32, but no way am I eliminating another position. This is ridiculous all three of the employees in my department are busy. Despite sales being down, payroll checks still need to be issued, cash and sales need to be posted and bills need to be paid not to mention the hundreds of collection calls we need to respond to each week.
I started a job search…but I’m not too hopeful. My friend Jess says it will be impossible to find a new job in this economy. Last week, I sent out two resumes. One turned out to be a scam. The other is looking for someone with five years of public accounting experience which I don’t have, so I probably don’t have much of a chance. The other interesting jobs I’ve seen are for contract positions. Next week I’m meeting with a recruiter. Jess has advice on this as well, “Good Luck! I met with him years ago and the only thing he did for me was make me feel small. He said things like, “I see you don’t have this and I see you don’t have that.”
Friday morning I was up early feeling guilty for refusing to let an employee go. I started thinking maybe I should reconsider. Plus, I knew our HR manager was firing (not laying off actually firing) someone on Friday; a six year employee who has repeatedly been warned about his sloppy paperwork. He has a wife who doesn’t work; a one year old and a baby on the way. In addition, he incurred an enormous amount of medical debt when a daughter who didn’t make it was born premature two years ago. I couldn’t help thinking do they have to. I’m not familiar with this employee’s work, but I can’t imagine it is so terrible they have to fire him. And why didn’t he try to improve.
Then while driving in I heard this song on the radio: Michael Franti’s, “Sound of Sunshine” and for a moment, one brief moment, I experienced an interlude from all the drama. Enjoy: