Well, the first two months of the year turned out to be a complete shitshow.
Actually, the first 25 days of January were just fine. There was even vegetarian haggis for Burns Night. It’s better than it sounds, really.
But then the 10 minute meeting happened.
Pro-tip: when you and most of your department get a request for a short meeting bad news is on the wind. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the bad news I thought – that my department would be undergoing to some minor cuts to full-time staff due to one of our directors moving out of the group at the beginning of January.
It was actually worse. Oh, so much worse.
The Chief Marketing Officer at LargeFinancialInstitution, where I have been on staff since 2019, decided that my group was “too expensive” and that he would be eliminating approximately 70% of the staff positions (40 out of 57 people), including two of our three directors and our Vice President who has been with the company for her entire 21-year career.
To say it was a shock is the understatement of this barely-legal century. Why such a shock, you ask?
LargeFinancialInstitution declared a profit of over $4B in Q4 of 2020 and ultimately went on to declare a profit of nearly three times that for 2020 overall. Yes, you read that right. That’s billion with a capital B.
Needless to say, that 10-minute meeting extended to 25 because, as you’d expect, when people are told they are about to lose their jobs in the middle of a K-shaped recession caused by a seemingly never-to-end pandemic they have questions. Questions like:
- When’s our last day?
- Will there be severance?
- Where can we get information about continuing healthcare coverage? (oh, so urgent in the middle of a fucking pandemic, this one)
And the CMO had no answers. None whatsoever. Neither did the HR representative who sat mute on the call.
Let’s not point out that LargeFinancialInstitution has a 42-page PDF available on its Intranet to cover just such situations, a PDF the HR rep should have been prepared to direct us to immediately after the meeting but no, we had to sleuth that shit on our own.
The worst cut of all: fucker didn’t even have the courtesy to brush his hair and put on a dress shirt. We got what looked like post-workout hair and his best Nike hoodie.
The only thing he could tell us at the time was there would be jobs posted by COB Wednesday and we were welcome to apply for those jobs. Oh, but wait, he did answer one question: Would we be competing with outside candidates for those jobs?
The answer we got was no, only with other internal candidates. The answer we got was either wrong or a lie as at least three of the jobs ended up posted on LinkedIn at least two weeks before the close date for internal candidates. Of those 19 jobs only 6 of them were even vaguely related to what people in my group do. And, bitterly, none of them were in my specialty area.
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks updating my professional portfolio, polishing my resume, and meeting way more strangers than I ever wanted to meet under pressure. One of my soon-to-be former colleagues describes it accurately as “dating, only not optional.”
And here’s the thing: Searching for a job sucks. It sucks at the best of times. But it especially sucks when companies aren’t sure if they need to hire but put job postings out there anyway, and leave them up long after they’ve made an offer to a candidate.
I’ve had some really great experiences this round – most companies have gotten the idea that a robo email saying they received your credentials is the bare fucking minimum they should be doing – and I’ve had some really shitty experiences – like the recruiter who kept pinging me until I told him to go away. Seriously, who texts someone after they’ve been sent to voice mail after calling twice in 5 minutes?
The layoff experience…It’s not my first time at the layoff rodeo. The only thing Large Financial Institution did right was give us a month’s lead time to telling us our last day was in mid-March.
But that’s a story for after I’ve collected my severance check.