Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year To Me


I have become unemployed.

After 20+ years at my place of employment, I was let go this morning.

I think I'm somewhat in a state of shock. I didn't expect to work there forever, but I expected to at least be there for the next year or two.

The owner, a man I'm grateful to for my 20+ years of paychecks, decided to retire. He is 70, so the loss of my job due to something like this was not totally unexpected. What was unexpected was the way in which I received the news.

Yesterday, he let the five of us full-time employees know that there would be a company meeting this morning. The way he said it to me did not sound like it would be something good being announced. I thought that he might be telling us something to do with our employment ending at some time in the future, so I braced myself for that sort of announcement. I hoped for something more pleasant, but given his age, and the general downturn of business for us lately, I thought that it would be bad news.

I had no idea it would be this bad.

He did, indeed, decide to retire. But the good news, as he told us at the meeting, was that he was selling the business to another person. Operations would continue. I won't go into the other details discussed, but it seemed to me that the worst was that some adjustments would have to be made and perhaps I wouldn't be able to be as free and easy around the office as I had become accustomed to; maybe take on an additional duty or two of some sort, some small cutback of hours or perks.

I was really pleased for him, actually. Why shouldn't he have some time to enjoy things and not worry about business? He works hard.

Then, after the meeting, he asked me to come into his office. Again, without going into a lot of detail - I was told that, as part of the sale, payroll and staff needed to be cut. And, of the five of us, I was the payroll and staff cut.

I conducted myself with all due dignity. I told him that I understood his position. I thanked him for putting bread on my table for 20+ years.

What really hurts is that I went back to my office and found my computer locked. I had wanted to grab a few small personal things - mail, photos, music files, writings - and perhaps put them onto a flash drive. No. Standard business procedure to lock an ex-employee's computer.

As though I were not to be trusted after 20+ years. That was cold - and unnecessary. I hadn't created a scene. I had pretty much thanked him for everything and told him how much I understood his position. And then I was told that I couldn't come back on my own to clear out my things, that I would have to be accompanied. And my computer was locked.

That will stay with me. It makes my final thoughts concerning the place not as pleasant as I would have liked.

That's the news for today. I may be away from this space for a while, or maybe I'll post something every day as I sort through my feelings. I don't know. My life has suddenly become much more unhinged than it was yesterday. In any case, as I said to one of my co-workers before I left, I always land on my feet. By the grace of God, that has always been the truth, so I do expect life to continue...

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. I am unable to access my usual e-mail address as of right now. Please feel free to use these addresses:

sullivanjames229@aol.com -or- suldog@zoho.com



55 comments:

Craig said...

Ugh. That sucks.

Been there, done that. The last time I was 'let go', they actually let me continue using my office and phone for a month, to get my job search started. 'Course, that was a much bigger outfit, and they whacked a third of us all at one time. Still, they didn't have to do it, and I'm still grateful for it.

I definitely understand your ambivalence. That was a pretty cold way to treat you (and I guess I don't understand why he had to cut you as a lovely parting gift, instead of letting the new owner figure it out for himself; but what do I know?). But you know, fifteen years after the fact, I mostly remember the friends I made while I was there. I've never had anything like that since. . .

I've long since stopped keeping anything personal on my work computer, but word to the wise, I suppose. . .

And I have every confidence that you'll land in a good place. You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you. . .

Ami said...

I'm sorry. I've been there too. Dumped off with half the staff, instant loss of health benefits and paycheck. Sucks.

Sending good thoughts your way. Hope that everything works out well and quickly.

Jackie said...

Hits me like a ton of bricks, Jim. Can't imagine how you and Your Wife are feeling, but I want you to know that you have the prayers and love of your friends. I'm right here...and will do anything I can to help. I mean that.
Love,
Jackie

GreenJello said...

Love and prayers to you both. Not a fun way to end the year. :(

Brian Miller said...

dude. i am sorry. i have sadly been there....and shock is probably right, as that is what i felt when it happened to me...know you are probably full of questions on what comes next but think it through...there are positive aspects if you can find something that will make you happy for the rest of your work time...

Uncle Skip, said...

Gee, Jim, I'm really sorry.
I found that sorting through feelings online can be tricky... but it works when you have a lot of friends here.
About the only thing we can do is offer moral support and prayers. But, believe me that helps.

joeh said...

That really sucks...fortunatly you are very talented...so there's that...

Just in case i'll throw in a few prayers along with all your other many friends.

Buck Pennington said...

"Sucks" is a mild way to put it, but words tend to fail at times like this. I'm REALLY sorry you were laid off, and the timing? Once again, no words. Twenty years is a long time... you'd THINK the owner would have been more considerate.

Joanne Noragon said...

I am sorry; the story makes me sick to my stomach. Let's believe the new owner insisted on the ending. You will be behind a desk soon, we're all rooting.

Hilary said...

Oh Jim, I'm so sorry to read this. What an utterly miserable way to treat you after so many years. I understand procedure but all of that should go out the window when it's been a loyal, trustworthy employee such as yourself.

I will keep you in my best thoughts, my friend. May something wonderful come your way soon.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

CM - Words can't express how sad I feel. Of all the people in the world YOU do not deserve to be treated like that. Bill and I are here for you in whatever we can do and, of course, we will be praying like the dickens. I hope this turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous said...

c/m - P.S. I have most of your stuff on my computer, so feel free to try to download it.

Anonymous said...

My god child worked for a company 10 years right out of high school, he was a whiz bang of an employee did everyting, and boom they let him go he could not touch his computer, walked from the place like a common thief. He had a big temper he kept it low. He got his last paycheck from them, it was real short, I accompanied him to the place he called his second home, like I was his mother, they could not look him in the eye he wasn't leaving the premises without his money he earned. Plus he left a nice jacket the secretary got it and kept it locked up. I stood up after all that bullshit and said well bad news will travel in this town a lot faster than good news, the place knew what I meant. I thought you are all a bunch of cowards and bull of crap, I had a big smile on my fact, acted like we were crazy happy, left the premises..Saw the jerk who owned the place in another city, I yelled hello and acted like he was my best friend, what a yahoo, he ran for cover right into a closed door nearly broke his nose and left wrist..He so deserved that, companies who dishcarge people after they use them up no matter their age or anything are going to get their Karma..you just don't treat any human being the way my god child was treated.He found a much better job & has gotten raises and they treat him like a wonderful human being that he really is!~~~~~~~~~ Gone is the day companies know how to treat the people who make them rich, gone! happy freaking new year..This USA has gone in my opionion to hell in a handbasket, men can no longer get jobs, women graduate from college faster and are in professions, guess when you get married and your are professinonal you will marry someone who will stay home and co-parent and raise the youngins!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CLR said...

Jim - I am so very sorry about this. I read it completely stunned. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Let God be your refuge and your strength.

OldAFSarge said...

I'm sitting here stunned, completely stunned. How could they do this? Bad, bad news my friend. Thoughts and prayers are with you, let us know if we can help, Suldog. This truly sucks.

Lowandslow said...

That is really rotten, Jim. The callousness of some people just amazes me. I could never let someone go at the holiday time of year. And to kick you in the teeth like that, just out the door you go.... *shaking head*

Count on prayers and best wishes from me, too. Hope you find something (even better) soon.

S

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

At least it was done face to face
I knew of a company that used Western Union to notify employees when they were terminated

I would be willing to bet one of the conditions for the sale of the business was your old boss had to do the dirty work... and lock down your computer

That won't make the pill any easier to swallow, but don't under any circumstances start moping around

BTW - won't you need the time off for Jeopardy?

I read somewhere that for every door that closes, another opens

I'm pretty sure I might have even experienced it more than once

lime said...

damn, i am so sorry to hear this news. i can certainly understand why the locked computer and being accompanied to clear things out left a very bitter taste in your mouth. it is my sincerest hope that you will find something else both suitable and satisfying very quickly. big hugs and many prayers.

Bear Walker said...

I wish to add my prayers and condolences on the loss of your job. When a job is part of your life, as is 20 years time, it is like a death. New lives can be scary but I honestly think you'll find something suitable and things will work out. Who else has such a fan club like yours?

I'll be sure to send lots of positive vibes your and The Wife's way.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry, Jim. Don't blame you a bit for the bad taste in your mouth. xoxo

Suldog said...

My sincerest thanks for all the best wishes. To be clear, I wasn't kicked out the door with a sneer. It was a shock about the computer, and having someone present while I collect my stuff, but overall I am not angry; just sad. And that will pass. I've been blessed to an inordinate degree in my life. I have no doubt whatsoever that I shall continue to be so. I said it here (and you could read it again, if you wish): Everything Gets Better.

http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com/2010/10/everything-gets-better.html

Eddie Bluelights said...

So sorry to hear you experienced this Jim. It happened to me 5 times before I went self employed.

Best wishes and hope you find something really good in the new year.

May 2014 be a Happy New Year for you and yours.

PS Thank you for your kind comment on my last post

Brenda Nowicke said...

It hurt my heart to read what happened to you. I lost my job in 2009 after 28 years of being told how great my work was. The owner had the audacity to die, and the new management team wanted to "go a different direction." Oddly, they gave me three months notice and I performed my normal duties up to 5:00 my last day. My prayers are with you.(I am Barb of Longhollow's sister.)

Cleary Squared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Hayes said...

Even though it sounds like you knew something was afoot, this still had to come as a shock. I'm so sorry for you. Twenty years is a long time and you deserved better treatment. I'm a firm believer that when God closes a door he opens a window so I'm sure you'll make lemon aid out of this bitter experiences. Enough sap! My motto has always been: They can't fire you if they don't know what you do. No one knows what I do so I feel pretty safe. In spite of this, I do hope you have a Happy New Year.

Jeff Laws said...

That sucks. The one time I got let go, I got escorted out by 2 people. It was embarrassing but I was allowed to collect my things. I took my sweet time getting everything and I made them wait.

I do hope you land on your feet, try to have a good New Year.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Well damn...that really sucks! I am so sorry...I will definitely be praying for you! What a rotten way to start the New Year!!!! Yuck!
That would have left a rotten taste in my mouth as well. My brother had similar thing happen. Sorry....and sorry he was so inconsiderate.
Be well and best wishes!
Hugging you
SUeAnn

Brighton Pensioner said...

A bugger of a way to end the year, Jim. But here's to a brighter 2013.

messymimi said...

There was no reason they couldn't help you get your stuff off the computer. That was mean.

Praying you get a better place right away.

Shammickite said...

I'm afraid it's the new way of the world. It doesn't matter that you have worked there for half of your working life, when it's goodbye, they just push you out of the door with very little ceremony and a locked computer. So sorry to read this. It's pretty shocking. But you are a resilient chap and I know you'll find that open door.... it's out there somewhere.

Paula Wooters said...

Wow... just, wow. So sorry to hear this. You certainly exited with class, though. I'm not sure I could have done the same. May the new year offer you new opportunities that will provide the peace and serenity you deserve.

3GKnight said...

Good luck in the new job search Suldog. If it brings you my way, the beers are on me.

Kat said...

Well, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, huh? GOOD GRIEF. Such impeccable timing.
I am so sorry. That SUCKS. Sucky. Suckage. :(
And I am not a fan of the way it was handled either. Procedure be damned when you've worked there for 20 plus years. Dumb.
But you handled it very well. I am a big fan of NOT burning bridges. You just never know.

I am sure you will land on your feet. Everything happens for a reason, and all that crap. But it is true.

Sending you all my good thoughts, prayers, and fingers and toes crossed that something spectacular lands in your lap and makes you happier than you thought possible!

Juli said...

Crap.

Well, I could say something really inspiring here, but it would be nothing you haven't already heard.

Instead, grab yourself some cake, and relish in the fact that you don't have to go anywhere in the snow storm tonight. You can deal with the rest on Monday.

Suldog said...

Again, to everybody, thank you for the best wishes and prayers. When my ship comes in someday in the future, we will all party at my palatial estate in Beverly Hills. Does everyone like pheasant?

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Oh dear Sully, this was not what I understood from that which you posted on FB - This is an awful way to treat a loyal employee of 20 plus years - I have had a similar experience this year, as my last employers of 25 years (almost), the Government, didn't even furnish a reference for my new employers. Jim, I'm sorry, this isn't about trading what happened to me, is even worse than what happened to you, it's just about saying, sh@t happens, try not to take it personally if you can; this is more about what's happening to them, rather than how you have been as an exemplary employee... I know you are strong, brave, intelligent, loyal, loving and an incredible man. This experience will not take that away from you. Ever. You are bigger and better. Do not read this as bitter and beggar, which is what my fingers first typed ;) I know you will be strong and survive - p.s. I have pheasant in my freezer, they are plentiful hereabouts in my small corner of England - Would you like some posted to you and the Mrs at your palatial abode, just saying... :)

Jazz said...

Sully. I'm so sorry. Everyone has said it so well, there's nothing I can add...

Tim King said...

When I was laid off from my job of 14 years, it was April 1. (A slightly more fitting occasion.) That was also due to the company being sold.

More accurately, it was effective April 1. I actually had a week to clean out my office, archive personal files from my computer, and clean up everything for whoever tried to sort out everything after me.

I don't get that. He trusted you enough to keep you on for 20+ years, but not enough to let you clean out your office? The words that come to mind I cannot repeat in polite company. But I've heard of similar things at other companies, usually big companies, though, with egomaniacal bureaucracies that demand such measures, for fear that anyone there might actually be treated like a human being to whom you might not want to burn a bridge. (Ugh.) I hope that you're not taking it personally. It's just a stupid, idiotic thing he did (probably because his dickwad lawyer told him he had to, because he's afraid of something not looking good to the new owner), and not any reflection on anything that you brought to the table.

-TimK

BTW, if you ever run your own business and hire your own employees or contractors, remember this, and refuse to let your lawyer, your accountant, or anyone else run your business for you.

Barbara Shallue said...

I am still in shock over this. And it drives me crazy that you were treated this way after all that time with him. You've spoken highly of him here on your blog and I'm beginning to think he didn't deserve as much credit as you gave him. I realize in corporate America, that has become the norm. My husband has watched so many co-workers be escorted out as if they were criminals that it keeps him on edge, wondering if he's next. But as I've already told you, you are an amazing person of many talents (you already knew that) and I know God already has a door ready to open for you. I have a feeling the best is yet to come. Wishing you tons of blessings in 2013!

Sarah said...

Jim...so sorry to hear about this. Can't believe your computer was locked - that is actually kind of shocking. Best of luck and let me know if you need a recommendation - I enjoyed working with you in my short time at THAT company.

Rebecca said...

Ugh, so sorry to hear about the layoff - and even sorrier to hear about the way they handled it. Sadly, that is one of the reasons why I've always believed in never getting too emotionally involved in my work - I never took it home with me, didn't stress over people who didn't like me or vice versa - or gave 150 percent because unfortunately, at the end of the day - we're all disposable. :( As a small business owner, I operate the complete opposite and always think of my employees. We've kept people we didn't "need" because we didn't want to cut them loose. Maybe not brilliant business but eh, it didn't kill us financially to keep them on so why not.

I think it's so unsettling that they didn't even give you the opportunity to clean your office and computer! I don't understand any logic that would prevent you from taking the time to take things that might have been personal, albeit on business property - but still, you aren't being fired for criminal activity!! :(

Best thing to do is just let it roll...change is good, even when we don't necessarily see it at the time. This might end up being the best thing to happen to you when you reflect upon it a few months from now -even with the disappointing way in which they escorted you out...

Absolut Ruiness said...

That's huge Jim! I'm surprised and awed by the fact that you took it so well. I was sacked on phone while i was getting ready to leave home for office. I couldn't vent my feelings and just sat there stupefied by the news. I hate that they didn't allow you to clear your personal e-belongings. They are as much if not more important than your coffee mug which they let u take. It shows a serious lack of sensitivity. You will be in my thoughts today. Hold the fort Jim.

Maggie May said...

Oh Jim...... I've only just got to reading this and I'm so sorry. I don't suppose there is a good time to be told that there's a redundancy coming up but to be told at Christmas and the New Year is a real bad time. To lock your computer without warning is really awful and must make you feel that the 20 yrs you put in amounted to nothing but I hope you'll get a really good reference.
I hope that 2013 will find you another better job . Lets keep hoping and praying.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

sandyland said...

oh crap !!




This happened to my son 2 years ago and although not in as special and beautiful a place , he is in a much better job- too stressed but better,now is the time to examine in life what you really have always wanted to do ..

I am very very sad at the way the goodbye was parlayed . Am I to understand the others are staying, that must sting but oh well it means God has better things and life lessons to learn and experiences to happen. I did not used to feel that way . My womanhood in your case manhood was threatened and I felt less of a person and not really appreciated- Just not true took me 60 years to learn--things will probably get worse before better but they will. I have $6.00 you can borrow,,Cheer for Notre Dame and try not to let their smallness affect you although I know it bites hard....

sandyland said...

Talk about a curve ball..I was once met at the door and said goodbye to after work but I have always gone on to better things. You love these people ;they are your work family -It's the space of it - the closeness and camaraderie is difficult I think. I talked to a woman yesterday a dear dear friend ;she looks awful , unhealthy, and in a job she hates,.How can people do that daily ? I do not know - make me laugh on facebook is your new job and here I am facing a daunting year in every way possible health, finance , well being scary

Carolina said...

Oh shit! I'm so sorry for you (and your wife) that you've lost your job. What will you do? (Jeopardy and writing sprung to my mind immediately of course.) When you've told us about your work, it was clear that you really loved your job and enjoyed working there. I'm so sorry that they had to let you go and that they did not give you the respect you deserved when you gathered your stuff from the office.
I'm convinced things happen for a reason. You don't realize it of course, but you probably need time to write your bestselling book that will be a box-office hit.
I do hope you'll be able to enjoy all your free time now. Life is too short to worry about futile things like 'how do I pay the rent'. Everything Gets Better!!!!!!!!!!!

Thinking of you, wishing you and your wife all the best for 2013!

Big fat kiss,
Carolina

Craig said...

Oh, and I will say that, the last time I was laid-off, I actually wished that I'd taken a couple extra weeks off before starting my new job, just to relax and decompress and enjoy the time off, before heading back into the salt mines. . .

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Okay, now I'm caught up on the details. I agree with whoever it was that said it probably wasn't your boss's call . . . either his people or more likely, the new ownership.

Either way, it's still a shitty thing to do.

Ericka said...

well, that sucks.

i left the company i moved to chicago for (the first time); it was completely my idea, i gave them nearly a month's notice and left on such good terms that i have a standing job offer to come back. last year, when i moved back to chicago, i participated in the christmas cookie exchange, for the first time in four years. when i came in with my cookies, the front desk guard came around to hug me hello and then told me that, as a former employee, i had to be escorted by hr to the conference room to exchange cookies. corporate policies these days are utterly absurd.

Three Hundred Sixty Five said...

Oh, Sully. I wish there was something that I could say that would make you feel better. However, my husband has been through this sort of thing several times, once when his company was bought by a German company where he experienced a similar situation. You'll be OK. Lean on Your Wife, she will help you. Accept the help of your friends. Know you are loved!
365

Daryl E said...

sux ... it just really sux ... i however have faith in you and i know you will turn this lemon into lemonade ..

Janet said...

Jim I am so sorry to hear this. The locked computer was totally uncalled for and just rude. But you are amazing and talented and great things will come to you.

Kerry said...

Hi Jim.
I've been away from things for awhile and just came back to check up on you. What a crappy way to lose a job. I was pink-slipped once, but it wasn't this ugly. jeeeez.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I must confess that my mom filled me in a couple days ago on your employment situation and my jaw hit the ground. Not even knowing the details I was shocked that you were let go after such beneficial work over the past many years. Now to read this I'm hurting for you my friend. Seems oddly over the top for an employee who has been nothing but grateful and hard working for so long. And I hate to say it but new hot-shot types who come in and let go of the quality employees sit around wondering why numbers are down for years in a row, why everyone takes 2 hour lunches and leave an hour early and why people walk out the door after only being employed for 9 months. Things are so different in today's world.

Can you get in touch with one of the IT guys to retrieve your personal stuff? I'm off to read the rest of the saga, hang in there my friend and you will land on your feet as you said. xoxoxo

The Broad said...

Dear Sully, I feel so terrible for you. There is no 'nice' way to lose a job, but this way was beyond 'not nice'... You are, however, so talented and such a fine writer and broadcaster that I would think you will come out of this better than ever. I've been out of the 'loup' in bloggy land since before Christmas and have only been catching up today. My brother was let go in his company in November. Never mind that he was one of three people who started the business back in the 80's. I raise my glass to you and wish you the happiest and most successful of New Years. xo