Tuesday, August 18, 2009

After the lay off - Day 1

First thing - Corporate America Sucks!

Now that I have it out of the way I can move on. I'm trying desperately to be positive but it's just day one so I think I am allowed a portion of bitterness. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the opportunities I was given at The Corporation over the last 15 years, but I made those opportunities a success. After developing, implementing and managing a nationally recognized Community Involvement program and developing and founding a unique internal employee crisis foundation, I'm downsized - let go - RIF'd - laid off - or whatever the latest buzz word happens to be. Not only that, my entire program was cut. That is the worst part.

I am 50 'ish' and without a job. Now what? Oh and let's not forget ... I'm a woman. God forbid. Where do I start? Of course I didn't get the same deal as the execs that were let go..oh wait..there were no executives let go. Only the worker bees. Same story different day. My biggest worry, and it is so timely, is insurance. I carried the insurance for both my husband and I. Now what? Thank you President Obama for extending unemployment benefits.

What I am hoping will happen with this blog, which is totally foreign to me, is to let you in on the journey of Re-inventing Kate, and perhaps take in some comments and advice from all of you. Constructive comments and advice please. I will take you through my emotions of being let go from a job I created and loved, and quite frankly, was very good at and hopefully will conclude with my getting a new and brilliant job.

It is a difficult process looking for work at this time in history - my own as well as the United States. I have a great network and we'll see how it goes with that aspect of the re-invention. I'm looking forward to this time because maybe for the first time, I can be whatever I want. My kids are grown and doing well. So now it's my turn to be what I want. Not so easy when you want what I want. What would my dream job be? I would like to be the right-hand person for a wealthy philanthropist like Warren Buffet, Oprah, Bill Gates, Bono, whoever. They can send me all over the world developing and implementing programs, and creating relationships to change the world. I'm more of a 'broad' than a lady so I can handle myself pretty well in any situation. Has to be the 99% Irish in me. I'll tell you more about myself as time goes on but let's save the juicy stuff for later.

I have been preparing for the lay off since The Corporation hired a new VP in my department. You know the type - told you what you wanted to hear, agreed with whoever was in the room, liked all your ideas so much he thought they were his own. This type is in every corporation. I made the mistake of standing up to him and he didn't like me. And he didn't like the fact I was smarter than him. He's young. A great example of moving up through the ranks too fast and not earning your stripes or any respect from employees. Definitely not a leader. He did a good job of minimizing my duties and making my life miserable but I wouldn't budge. I'm not a quitter. My job was bigger than me. It was about the employees and the community. After several bad quarters in a row and the old CEO retired - he directed me to build the Community Involvement program - I knew I was not long for The Corporation. We were heading back to the Milton Friedman way of doing business. Back in the day it was the way to run a successful business, not so much in today's climate. The Corporation's customers are all heavily involved in their communities and are asking for community statements with request for proposals. There are social indexing companies out there who are constantly on the look out for companies who say they are good corporate citizens. They better be able to prove it or ratings go down. Corporations can ignore this issue for awhile but it is the citizens of the world who are demanding it and it is filled with emotion. The majority of those who purchase stock want to invest in a company that is not only making good profits for their employees and shareholders, but is doing good things in their communities and the world. Especially the younger generations. I've read a lot about what motivates each generation and it is fascinating. Better watch out X'ers - there are only 46 million of you, but there are 76 million of the 'Y' generation and they are determined to make a difference in the world. So my advice is corporations better start preparing now. The Corporation is going backward. Wait until the economy is better and the war for talent really begins.

When I was told I was stunned. Really, I didn't know how to react. I had 15 years of stellar performance reviews, recognized in the community as a leader and with employees, sat on a national Leadership Roundtable with Boston College for Community Involvement and developed Standards of Excellence for the profession, had copious speaking engagements, have the highest certification from Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship from the Caroll School of Business, created lasting partnerships with community organizations, helped non-profits with strategic planning for The Corporation, did PR for the company, attended events the executives couldn't make time for, or didn't want to make time for. I was the face of The Corporation. ( My friend Peter said I was the heart - thank you Peter.) Oh yes, and I was Mrs. Santa Claus for 13 years at The Corporation's Childrens Christmas Party. I'll really miss that part.

So, I was stunned. I cried like the girl that I am, but not because I was mad, because I was thinking about the people I would miss. Well, I would miss most of them. The guy I mentioned above - I wouldn't miss him. But one out of over 500 is good right? Okay there are about 10 I won't miss.

The Corporation was becoming something I didn't like. Gone were the days when employees were viewed as assets, now we were numbers. In this economy corporations have taken on the role of bully quite easily. They know they have us captive in our comfortable prisons of health insurance and steady income and if we don't conform, we will be dismissed.

I understand business and how it operates, I'm not a fool. I am well versed in the art of business. I know at times there has to be reductions in head count but really? We all know it is mostly a time to get rid of those employees who managers and VP's don't like. To cull the herd of the weak. There are several people in my previous department that don't have a damn thing to do and couldn't do it if they had to, but they keep them. That is fabulous business management. Not to mention how much tribal knowledge is lost.

I know I have a few sour grapes but not enough for a case of wine, just a couple of bottles, but will rise above all of this and help others who might be going through the same thing. We 'Boomers' have to stick together. I'll also let you know about unemployment, depression, writing a resume, interviews and hopefully at the end we've Re-invented Kate. Of course I'll wrap in my views on Corporate America and give some insight if I can. I believe the best revenge is success.

I invite your comments, questions, advice, whatever positive affirmation you may have.




  1. I am sorry to hear that the Corporation claimed another good person - what a lousy thing to do to Mrs. Claus.

  2. I love you Kate! I'm so glad you were there for me the day I was let go, I only wish I could have returned the favor. I would very much like to meet you for coffee or lunch (or maybe even a drink or two) sometime. I only had 8 years under my belt but I know how you feel about missing people. That's the hardest part. I will be praying for you and your new self. :)

  3. Kitten! welcome to the "after I" club. Membership is exclusive (and growing). We are all much better humans after detox from the I influences. I'm now in a similar situation from Microsoft - position elimination! Oh well ... I've developed muscles for this trend and you will too.
    Let me know if you need so volunteer work - Spokane Fantasy Flight would LOVE to see your elf face again!

  4. Momma,

    You know you're awesome. I like and believe that there is differentiation between authority and real leadership. Just 'cause you're in charge doesn't mean you're a leader.
    I love you.

  5. Hi Kate!

    Them's are bastards for sure! Whenever I tell hubby that I miss working for The Corporation he replies, "This is the new Corporation" He had his vp refer to employees as "butt's in seats".

    I hope they turn around too or hubby finds something better. Like you will - now that you have the opportunity to look with a bit of a financial cushion and the time to do it.

    Take care and good luck! I will be stopping by.