April 21, 2004

Some Things We Don't Get Over

I love Dream Job.

I mean, I love the company, I love the type of work I get to do, and I love the fact that I have a job-it wasn't so long ago that I was in the pit of despair, facing unemployment and the end of the life that I had been leading.

But even though I am happily in another place, it doesn't mean I have forgotten and let go of what happened with Company X. It's been almost 5 months since I lost my job there, and I still hate them.


I was walking through the corridor of one of the London offices of Dream Job the other day, balancing a cup of Starbucks coffee and trying to punch out a text message to Best Friend with my other hand, when I saw a woman walk by. Something about her made me stop short, and I struggled to think of if I possible knew her, and if I did, from where.

It hit me-she had been a consultant with Company X in their glory days years ago, and that's where I knew her. She was let go two year ago, but before that we had worked together in a product offering of Company X hamsters to a corporate giant in the UK, and I remembered her as being a bit of a battle axe. That, and I remembered her having a thing for Mr. Y.

Small world.

I strode over to her desk. "Susan?" I asked, feeling stupid.
"Yes?" she asked, looking up.
"Maybe you don't remember me. Helen? We worked together on the hamster deal? I took over Mr. Y's position when he left it."
"Oh yes." she said, lips pursed together. "I remember you. What are you doing here?"
"Well, I work for Dream Job now. I work in the gerbil division. You?"
"I work in the hamster management office." she replied pertly. "It's amazing how people in the rodent business all meet up again and again."
"Indeed." I replied. "Especially the Company X rejects."
With that, she turned her defroster off. "I am NOT a Company X reject." she said stiffly, swiveling around in her chair to face the laptop.

Hmm. Seems she's not over it, either.

Later that evening Mr. Y and Lloyd were surfing the Company X website, and they went to the jobsite. There, posted on the jobsite, were over 70 jobs, a great number of them in the division I had just left.

70 jobs. They got rid of 60% of their work force, and as soon as their stock price starts going up again, they start hiring. Over 60,000 of us lost our jobs, and we are not allowed to go back to Company X as we signed agreements preventing them from hiring us back until after 2 years have passed. I know it may sound like sour grapes, but there is not enough money in Company X to ever tempt me to go back again ever.


And I mean it. I want to take all 60,000 of us and present us to Company X. Look at us! I want to say. Look at how many jobs, lives, families, and marriages you ruined. Are you happy now? Recruit away.

Mr. Y and I took a walk.

"Helen," he said. "You know those jobs Lloyd and I were looking at?"
I nodded.
"Well, there are 5 jobs listed to be filled. And it's the job you used to do."
I felt it crush me in the chest like a ton of bricks. "So it's true, then." I said softly. "They did just want to get rid of me."
He took my hand. "You know they cut you out of seniority." he said nicely. "And anyway-shouldn't it make you feel good to know that they need to hire 5 people to do the job that just you did?"

Ah. The glass is half full side. It felt slightly better, but it still didn't hide the bitter biting nastiness in my mouth that came from losing my job. It doesn't make me feel better to know that they do need people for the work I had been doing. And above all, it can't erase the coldest, darkest time in my life, where I watched the snow and sat in the cold-unwashed, uncaring, and hopeless. Yes, my life is much different than it was, and yes I do owe Company X for the experiences and the opportunities-but it doesn't give me back the past.

I may never forgive them, but I will settle with forgetting.

I wish I could just get over this.


PS-Happy 30th birthday to Kaetchen! Welcome to the 30 Club, darling!

Posted by Everydaystranger at April 21, 2004 06:49 AM | TrackBack

Amelia-as long as they're not nightmares, I say dream away.

Ozone-I do indeed think we worked for the same company. I hope you make it out ok there-sounds as though the coast is clear now. :)

Posted by: Helen at April 22, 2004 10:51 PM

I don't get it! You came to that company looking for a job and you left the same way...so what's the problem?

Once a coworker asked me if I were loyal or felt loyal to ... and I said that Loyalty cost X more per hour...I was there to get a check. I never expected more than that and I doubt that they, any of the "they"s ever were stupid enough to expect me to be "loyal to them...Loyal to the idea of a check, on time and in exchange for labor, yes... But past that? No Way! "Man against man. God against all!"

Posted by: passenger at April 22, 2004 02:39 AM

I am pretty sure I still work for the same Company X you did. I call them Viking Boat. I am in the Plano site though. not many jobs here but we are taking on alot of contractors. It's a paycheck these days, not a career. I have yet to come across anyone who regrets being let go by the Viking Boat. You are in a better place.

Posted by: ozone ferd at April 21, 2004 11:06 PM

I don't quite understand how one can be angry with a faceless corporate entity. It's a business, not a person...but hey, there are stranger things on heaven and earth...

Posted by: Courtney at April 21, 2004 09:42 PM

Hate is too powerful and the only person you are hurting is yourself when you expend that much energy over someone or something that does not care nor have any inclination that you spend so much time thinking of them, hating them.

Yes...I know when you put in everything you have only to be slapped aside stings. But you can't let is consume you. You are not that job. That job does not make up your character, your persona, your reason for living. They have moved on...

You have such a bounty of goodness right now...get rid of the hate, Helen.

"It's not that easy.." Yes. It is that easy.

Focus on what you have not on what you don't have. Focus on how much better things are now. You are experincing a new life, as you put it, embrace that and let go of those who didn't care enough to embrace you and your talents. They absolutely are not worth an OUNCE of your time, thoughts or energy. You are only disservicing yourself. And you deserve to enjoy what you have now. When are you going to let yourself know that?

You know I think you are a dear...please Helen...let Company X rest in peace.

Posted by: Serenity at April 21, 2004 08:03 PM

It was quite the hot dream, our three bodies intermingled... let's leave it at that.

Posted by: amelia at April 21, 2004 06:36 PM

Situations like this are what karate classes are for. When you learn that terrifically exciting jump-spin-kick combo, think of Company X.

Thanks for the BDay wishes, love. I'm having a pretty decent one!

Posted by: Kaetchen at April 21, 2004 05:58 PM

You owe it all to the bean counters at company X. I've been in the same position.. I can't stand it but its the same with every corporation you go to.

Posted by: pylorns at April 21, 2004 05:28 PM

Was it a good dream though, Amelia?

I am trying so hard to just get over Company X-but make no mistake, Rob, Dane, Simon, Karen, Donna and Amynah-I have no doubt that NO company cares anymore.

Jim's got my feelings though-screw the fuckers.

Solomon-the 4000th comment was from Paul, of LIght and Dark.

Posted by: Helen at April 21, 2004 05:09 PM

Let go of the pain and the anger, let them be a leaf in a river and watch it flow downstream. You will feel lighter.

And by the way Helen, you and Mr Y were in my dreams last night...

Posted by: amelia at April 21, 2004 04:29 PM

"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." --Calvin Coolidge

I agree with Mr Y, they honor you by posting 5 ads for your position. Replace your anger with this honor and be thankful that you do not have to continue to be controlled by their lack of business integerity and loyality.

Just some thoughts from an old....

Posted by: greyheadedstranger at April 21, 2004 03:16 PM

Great picture. You are really cute.

Posted by: Tee at April 21, 2004 02:53 PM

I agree with the way Rob terms things. Company X probably just has very BAD senior management who don't know how to make wise decisions. Then, when they overhire and the stockholders want answers, they freak and lay people off. It has nothing to do with you personally hon. It's a the simple fact that the majority of upper management is just plain dumb and they get to make decisions that not only affect our company, but affect our lives.

Posted by: Amynah at April 21, 2004 02:05 PM

You have to let it go. My only advice is to watch for this kind of trend with dream job, and to get out before it happens again.
Holding a grudge is like injecting yourself with poison, and waiting for the other person (or company) to die. Don't do it, but don't forget either.

Posted by: Donna at April 21, 2004 01:55 PM

You have to go through it to get through it. Look at it this way. They really did you a huge favor by letting you go. Look where you are now. You are in a much better position, in a much better company, and in a much better state mentally than you would have been if you had just stayed. They made you push to get what you really deserve. TO BE HAPPY!

Posted by: Karen at April 21, 2004 01:50 PM

Whether those guys were idiots or not is hard to say. Unfortunately the days of Company/Employee loyalty seem to be over.

Forgiving often benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven. Not forgiving can harbor anger, bitterness, resentment, and a whole slew of other unhealthy emotions or feelings. I say unhealthy, because those emotions have a negative impact on one physiologically.

I say forgive them. They were doing what they thought was best for the company as a whole; that's their job. You did your job; they did theirs. The alternative may have been for ALL employees to lose their job and never refill those positions (if they went bankrupt). Harboring ill-will or unforgivness (I'm not sure that's a word, but you know what I mean) doesn't change the past or help the present.

By the way, who got comment number 4000?

Posted by: Solomon at April 21, 2004 01:44 PM

What Jim, Rob and Dane said. In my industry there are certain companies notorious for cutting whole departments, only to realise 6 months later they actually wanted to be in that business so they go out and pay high salaries to attract a whole new team. It is no reflection on the previous employees. It is a reflection of the short sighted stupidity of management.

The good news is that like you, most people I know who've gone through this end up in better jobs and/or places, especially because they find companies that actually value them as people rather than "human resources."

Posted by: Simon at April 21, 2004 11:36 AM

Wow, did they screw up. That really is straight out of a Dilbert strip. Panic cuts, forced waivers that prevent them from correcting errors and then paying five times over to correct the inevitable errors.

Serves the fuckers right.

Posted by: Jim at April 21, 2004 11:26 AM

Surely you've read the Dilbert strips that deal with downsizing? They fire everyone to make the company more efficient and then hire them back as consultants to do the jobs they used to do.

And lets face it (I say this with full appreciation of the fact that your job is, for the moment at least, the keystone of your life) the world of corporate HR is fucked. Most large companies don't know what the heck they are doing when it comes to dealing with employees. So far as Company X (and I should imagine even dream job) are concerned you guys were / are just numbers on a balance sheet.

If they can save themselves a couple of mil by sorting that sheet a different way then so be it, they really don't care that the figures they've just adjusted reflect actual lives and careers.

So anyway, the point (and there is one honest) is forgive / don't forgive, forget / don't forget; what matters most is you're well out of there and are hopefully a little better prepared for dealing with the occasional corporate shit storm that will rain down from on high.

Take care


Posted by: Rob at April 21, 2004 10:47 AM

Helen, you know a bit about my job history, I was checking out Monster for jobs awhile back, and came across a listing for my old job, along with a huge number of listings for jobs that they had just laid people off from. Common stuff in a company thats doesn't know what its doing.

This has no reflection what so ever on you dear, its a glaring neon sign of bad management. If the compnay looked for 2 seconds at what it cost them to train your replacement versus what it would cost to have kept you there until things picked up, the layoffs would have been much much smaller. It is probably costing them 2 to 3 times your salary to hire and train each replacement. It seems the corporate world has grown into thinking on a quarterly basis, and assuming that people are replacable, they have lost sight of the fact that people, in most industries, are far and away your most valuable asset, its sad, but its a reality. One of the things that really pushed me out the door was a meeting in which one of the upper management pinheads anounced that they were reevaluating staffing demands on a two week basis. That right there told me just how far down the road they were capable of seeing, far to short for me to want to be involved. That management style is like trying to drive a car by opening the door and looking at the white line going by. I know it was seriously tough on you, but thank fate for getting you out of there when it did, and then thank yourself for going out and getting Dream Job.

Posted by: Dane at April 21, 2004 09:37 AM
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