It was like being at a cocktail party. One moment, I was standing there with my favorite drink in hand, deep in conversation with my colleagues; the next moment, the rug was yanked from beneath our feet and our worlds came crashing down. The bosses shut down production, and herded us into a mass meeting like a bunch of sheep. A few co-workers heard rumors. Others saw the worried looks on the faces of management and they rushed back and forth between each other’s offices, and knew something was brewing. It did nothing to prevent the shock.
“As you all know, we have struggled to stay afloat for the last two years. Operating costs are up and our clients are operating on tighter budgets. They are purchasing less. This affects our bottom line. We have to look at ways to cut costs. As a result, we will be closing down this office and moving operations down to our office in Memphis. You all are the backbone of this company. We have been the number one sales force in the company for seven consecutive years and it’s because of your hard work and dedication. You’ve been loyal to the company, and we appreciate you. We will be closing our doors on April 30th. We have a team in place to help you in your job search. We want to make sure you can a smooth transition to another position.”
I pretty much tuned out the rest of the speech at that point. I laughed a little at the word “loyal.” I didn’t think that work existed in the corporate world anymore. I saw several people crying after the meeting. A few people approached the CEO after his speech and shared a healthy portion of their minds. The CEO listened, red-faced, biting his lip and nodding. He understood that he just told two hundred people that they no longer had a job, while he was being transferred. He didn’t dare respond in anger and frustration. I went back to my desk and prepared to go home.
My co-worker Brenda approached me, “Lisa, are you going to be ok?” She looked worried. “You’re a single parent and have two in college don’t you?”
“The twins started this year. But I’m fine. I’m actually excited!”
“Yeah. Brenda, I’m not worried about this at all. I never came here expecting this company to finance the rest of my life. I have some money set aside, so my bills will be taken care of, and the way I look at it, this is my opportunity to pursue my dreams. I can go back to school, and open up the Physical Therapy and Training center I’ve dreaming about for years. Brenda, the way I look at it, God has never left me in a position where my needs were not met. He’s not going to leave me now. I have options. The loss of this job is not the end for me.”
“Wow, Lisa! That’s great! I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m five years away from retirement. Who is going to hire me?”
“Brenda, don’t give in so easily. You have options too.
Brenda nodded her head, but said nothing. Tears started rolling down her face. Thirty days seemed very short. She wasn’t seeing her options. We hugged and I told her it would all work out in the end. I was sure of it.
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall