I had just been let go from my job. I was standing in a small room where my now ex-boss was addressing a group of employees who had also just been let go, almost 20 in all. My mind started racing. All I heard was things like “downsizing” and “restructuring”. It was February 22nd. 18 months ago to the exact day I started work at this place. Only my second real job out of high school after I spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. I looked around the room at all my co-workers, many of whom had become friends over the last year and a half, I wondered how someone could make a decision like this without thinking about the people affected.
There was Jesus Ramos, or “Don Chuy” as he was affectionately and respectfully called by everyone at work. A 65 year old immigrant from Mexico, he worked 60 hours or more every week, starting at 4:00 in the morning and going until all the work was completed. He’d been with the company since 1992. They gave him a measly $3,000 severance package. Other employees, myself included had pregnant wives, still others already had children or they had sick parents they were helping take care of.
Our Regional VP announced the decision and directed our questions to our SoCal based HR manager, who directed our questions to our division manager who told us to ask the VP. The VP who since announcing the decision, had closed himself inside a windowless office. Everyone paced about the parking lot asking each other questions, no one really having any answers. Because everyone in our chain of management was giving us “corporatized” answers all the employees came to me with their questions, of which I had no answer for.
The toughest part was watching all the other employees, my colleagues and friends, wonder why? Why did we shut down when we were so busy? Why did we shut down when we were doing $150,000 a month in sales? Why didn’t we know ahead of time? Why??? Chuy at 65 years old can’t go get another job. Ruben, with a baby due soon, needed to find a new job ASAP.
This is all sucked so much.
I would be able to do something else, whether it was starting my own company, or going to work for one of my customers but what about all the other employees? And honestly, how did corporate know whether or not I would find something else? The VP said that if anyone wanted a transfer to another division he would make it happen. What the other employees didn’t know though was that it would NOT be a “transfer”. Today we were all terminated. Any future employment with the company could not be guaranteed. But it sounded nice for the VP to say I guess.
I drove around and met with all my customers and let them know what happened. They were as much in shock as I was. Now our competitor would be the only player in town. They’d be able to destroy this market and jack up prices. It wouldn’t be good for anyone.
I spent the better part of this week planning out what it would take to start my own company and compete in this market. I want to be able to help out these guys who were laid off to no fault of their own. However, after lots of research I would be taking a pay cut to do that and the people I first need to take care of is my wife and three kids.
At the end of the day the way our corporate office handled the situation was horrible. There was no apology. No explanation. Just a decision. I guess I can’t fault them though. They’re one of the largest companies in the nation. It’s disgusting but it’s life.
At the end of the day everything happens for a reason. Life is made up of seasons.
One door closes and another opens.
This was the best job I ever had but I realize now that God was using it as a preparation ground for me. For now I’m going to enjoy spending extra time with my boys and my wife.
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:28 (MSG version)
On to the next big thing!