Archive for January 13th, 2016


A Door Is Closing… Where’s The Next One?

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

I was officially notified on Monday (the 11th) that my position at work had been eliminated and that I was being laid off. My last day of working for my employer will be at the end of next week (the 22nd)…if…

if what?

…if I can’t find another position within the company between now and 60 days after my last day. During this time I’m in what they call a “preferential rehire status” which means I can be hired into another position without any special conditions. My application for any open positions will be considered before they look at established employees who are just looking to move into a new job. Or at least, that’s what I’m being told. In the past it’s taken as long as three weeks to hear back on a position I’ve applied for; I applied for four positions in the last 24 hours, so we’ll see if it’s any faster now that I’m in this “preferential” status.

When I met with my manager to discuss this, I received assurances that the decision was not based on a lack of work, or my job performance, or through any fault of my own or of anyone else on the team. It was good to hear that I hadn’t done something to cause this to happen.

My job position may have been eliminated, but the work hasn’t gone away. Someone still has to be around to do the things I do, but it won’t be me. Instead, a seemingly forthright gentleman located in a Central America country will be picking up the work…and I’m spending my remaining days on the job training him. All I can promise is by the end of the two weeks he’ll be able to find where things are and have a rough idea of how things work. I can’t really pass along the intuition I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had, and the techniques I’ve developed for solving the unique problems that come with the job. Some of those come from being on the same client account for 15 years, and based on the photo I’ve seen of my replacement, he was probably in middle school when I joined the account. I’m not saying he isn’t talented – not by a long shot – but in a team as small as the one I’m in, sometimes long-term experiences can be critical to keeping the work moving. But, I suppose the folks who came up with this layoff plan didn’t think about that…

In the meantime, while I’m looking for another job I’ll be getting severance pay, which is a good thing. What they’ve offered me is pretty decent compared to what I’ve heard some people were given in previous layoffs. It doesn’t beat having a full-time job with full benefits, something I’ve enjoyed for almost all of my adult life, but it’s better than nothing at all… especially when you have things to pay for like a mortgage, utilities, car payments, groceries, a kid in college, etc. But, I suppose the folks who came up with this layoff plan didn’t think about that either…

So, what exactly did the folks who came up with this layoff plan think about?

Numbers. Strictly numbers.

Numbers, as in how much does it cost to have an employee in the U.S. to do the work compared to an employee in a Central American country to do the work? I don’t know the details, but my guess is the cost of living down there is significantly lower, and given the age of my replacement he’s probably at a lower wage level and benefit costs than me (at least I would hope so!). Looking at those points alone would be plenty of justification, especially if you multiply that by the thousands of employees that my employer plans to lay off in the near future. The savings in terms of numbers would be substantial - millions upon millions of dollars each year once you roll in all the ancillary costs like benefits packages.

And just to add some extra points to ponder, consider this last little tidbit: Remember that “if” I talked about back at the beginning? Well, there’s another part to it: if I am unsuccessful in being hired for another open position by the end of those 60 days after my last day, their current layoff rules say I can never work for them ever again.

Never, like I don’t exist.

While I was searching through their open job list, I saw hundreds of open positions. Imagine for a moment that there was a large pool of people who are trained, willing, and able to take on every single one of them… but they can’t be hired because they used to work for the same company just a few years ago. Seems like quite a waste of valuable resources available for the picking. But, I suppose the folks who came up with this layoff plan didn’t think about that either…

So, now what? Well, as I alluded to in the title of this entry, the door to my old job is closing, and as the saying goes another door should be opening. I haven’t seen it yet, but I sure hope it opens soon…and I hope that whatever is behind it is better than what I’m being asked to leave behind.