Friday afternoon at about 2:30, my boss called me, and in a very chipper and upbeat tone, he asked me if I had a moment to stop by his office.  When I walked in he was on the phone with another colleague, so I sat down and waited.  He finished the call and got up while simultaneously greeting me in a happy manner that matched his phone call to me.  He walked over toward the door and that’s when the color left my face.  Based on what he said in our staff meeting earlier that day about the company’s financial situation, I knew he wasn’t closing the door to tell me I was getting a raise.

He continued to tell me he had bad news and right off the bat told me that he was laying me off.  I didn’t even know what to say or do.  I just sat there clenching my teeth hoping that the tears welling in my eyes would not start streaming down my cheeks. 

He assured me that it had absolutely nothing to do with my performance and that it was merely an issue of numbers.  Our monthly billings are over $120,000 less than this time last year.  This issue is something that the company has been dealing with for quite some time.  More talk about how he had to make cuts somewhere otherwise the entire company would start going down.  He reminded me that the client I worked on while my colleague was on maternity leave had glowing remarks about my performance during that time.  He had already spoken with that colleague of mine and told me how she fought for my job and how this was not an easy decision for him to make. 

I said very little during this whole event.  I had so many things just spinning around in my head that I couldn’t put any of them together.

His extremely generous (note sarcasm) severence package?  Two week’s pay and he’ll continue my health insurance through the end of August.  I mean, yes, I am appreciative of that, but still. 

He told me that he would be happy to give wonderful recomendations for me and would talk to some people in the industry that he knows.  I know he would give good recs for me, but I am doubtful about him talking to others – he forgets things easily, but perhaps I can send him an email in a few weeks if I haven’t heard anything from him.

He shook my hand an thanked me for all my hard work.  I left, went back and sat at the desk for two minutes and then walked directly into my colleagues office, closed the door and cried.  She told me how hard she fought for me.  How mad she was about this decision.  How it’s ridiculous that he is getting rid of the co-account manager on the most profitable client in the office. 

I took an hour to clean up my desk, pass along things that I needed to and her and I left at 3:30 to go to a bar for a couple of beers.  I only spoke with two other co-workers before I left.  I just had to get out of there.  I emailed everyone else, most of who were probably clueless until they saw my email.

At the bar, we continued to talk about how ridiculous htis was.  There were other things he could have done before this.  He could have frozen my 401k benefits, he could have reduced my salary.  Heck, he could have frozen 401k benefits or asked the entire staff to take a 5% paycut across the board.  I can pretty much guarantee that my salary isn’t enough to save the company from the situation it is in right now.

Also, how about my colleague who took me to the bar is the only account manager that has been there longer than me.  If this wasn’t performance-based, then why was I the one to go when I have been there for almost three years?  What about the account manager that started 4 weeks ago?  Why couldn’t I take his account and him have to leave?  He doesn’t have any specific background in his client’s industry, so he has no leg up on me.  Ugh.  Of course, these are all the things I thought about after I left.

In the meantime, it wasn’t more than 30 minutes after I talked to my colleague that she emailed someone she knows asking if she had anything.  She was unspecific, but asked for my resume.  My boss doesn’t want to tell our biggest client the truth about my lay off.  He wants to spin this positively to the client, but my colleague refuses.  She’s telling them the truth, and will ask them to keep an ear out for me.  We’re both pretty sure that the client will be unhappy about this change.  This means the client is going from two people working on them, to one person.  How is that positive?

I’ll file for unemployment, and everything will be ok.  I hope.  L promises we’ll be able to make it work.  That maybe this is a good thing because I’ve been wanting to get out for so long now.

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