Friday, October 15, 2010

The Last Email

After receiving news of my termination, I returned to the conference room with the HR Director where I had left my purse and laptop.  I indicated I wanted to log out of the computer before turning it in to her and she acquiesced. Right at that moment, an email arrived from my dear friend M.  I didn't not read it, only replied "I just got fired! Talk soon!"  because I felt someone should know what was happening since they were taking my only means of communication, my cell phone.

M. just forwarded the message to me which was the last one to arrive before I left the building and thus the first one anyone reading my email afterward would see. First a bit of background:  I recently read this article by Dan Erwin regarding 7 behaviors that keep women from getting ahead: Dan Erwin Article.  It suggests that women do not take up enough space, nod too frequently and fidget too much.

The message M. sent and to which I replied was an invitation she received to a business conference: The Spirit of Leadership: Reawakening the Feminine To the email she added: 'I don’t know how I got this, but I think they’re going to say “Take up a lot of space, don’t fidget, and stop nodding!”'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top 10 Things To Do When You Think You May be Fired.

If you work in an office and think you may be fired, being prepared for what will happen can make a big difference. They will take your computer, office access key and cell phone, usually immediately.  I learned most of this the day that my company laid off 200 people. 

Being in IT, I was expected to be part of the assembly line where we collected their office equipment.  It was very difficult, to say the least but it helped me to remain calm when it was my turn.  Do these things immediately, because things can go downhill rapidly and you may not have time later.

10 - Copy any personal files from your business computer to a flash drive and remove them.

 9 - If you have a company cell, save your contacts. Consider getting a personal cell.

 8 - Keep a printed list of your most important phone contacts and keep them in your purse or wallet.  

 7 - Export your Email contacts to a file and email it to yourself.

 6 -  If you primarily use your work email for personal things, get a free email account and use that instead.

 5 -  Forward any important personal or performance related email to your personal account.

 4 - Clean up your email, Inbox and Sent Items too. Remove anything you wouldn't want your entire management reading.

 3 - Update your resume.  It's a good exercise to remind yourself of your own value.

 2 - If you have the means to do so, consult an attorney.  It's just nice to have someone on your team informing you of your rights.

 1 - Remember who you are and that you will survive this. 

Other suggestions:  

Social networking is a great help when you suddenly lose your job because it allows you to quickly get in touch with others that can help you find a job .  If you don't use Facebook and LinkedIn, consider setting up an account now.

I like to have a mantra for just these instances.  A few weeks ago I noticed a Psalm written on a post it note at someone's desk:  "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"  That definitely gave me pause for thought and carried me through a rough time.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Note: This is not legal advice and some of these items may be in violation of your company rules. Use your own judgement.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm back! And unemployed!

Friday I lost my job.  Well, it didn't go missing, I was fired, or, as my mother put it, "invited by my employer to seek other employment".  The idea is understandably a little tough for her to palate.

The phrase that comes to mind about the whole ordeal is "bitch had it coming".  I didn't really, but over the last few months I also did not exactly duck my head down meekly when things were awry.  One never really expects to be fired from any position but I must admit I saw this coming in the past few weeks particularly. Lest my former employer come looking for me (not a stretch, I swear!!!), I won't go into details now but let's just say I won't have any problem getting up and looking myself square in the eye in the mirror each morning moving forward.

It was very satisfying to realize later that I didn't actually react much while it was happening.  No tears, no anger, no strong feelings at all to be honest.  I did smirk a bit.  I've seen this happen to others so many times before and that I doubt I could ever truly be caught off guard by this type of thing.  Most vividly I recall the day my mom picked me up from school and said her job had been "abolished".  The sheer stress and also anger on her face was alarming.  It was a political thing and Mom had four mouths to feed besides her own.  Nothing I will ever experience could rise to the level of evoking that kind of job-induced strain.

My friends have been grand.  Friday night some made a pact that I would not go hungry.  One confirmed later that drinks are included.  People have been so supportive that there hasn't been a  moment to wish things were any different. Today I rose with a smile to greet the day hours earlier than usual instead of struggling to convince myself to trudge onward.  I've got a great deal of motivation and exciting plans that can now take top priority.

Best of all, I want to write again.  So I'll be around.  Cheers!