Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Yeah, d@mmit, I gained three pounds. Know what's funny? I'm more upset about that than about losing my job. How is that possible? Well, with losing my job, I could see the axe about to fall. With the three pound weight gain, I have no explanation. I know it's water weight and it's not even close to that time of month. So when I weighed this morning, I was, like, WTF?
I'm an extremely intuitive person and I knew I was screwed when they put me on a performance improvement plan 90 days after my date of hire. I had already gotten most of the grief out of my system and launched a quiet job search. So when my boss set up a monday 4:30 pm meeting two weeks in advance, I knew what time it was. The meeting went like this:
Bad Boss: "How are you coming along on the eight goals I set for your 60 day performance improvement plan?"
Me: "I've made progress. I will brief you on my progress for each goal." I start to discuss my activities and the progress I've made.
Bad Boss: "Sounds to me like you're making progress. Still I'm concerned about..." (starts to bring up things that do not appear on my performance improvement plan.)
Me: "Here are the strategies I've developed to address those items." I start to brief him on my plan and philosophy. I read the expression on his face, so I pause and ask the magic question: "Do you see me here in 30 days?"
Bad Boss: "I don't think you're going to make it."
Me: (Pause) "Then let's discuss my severance."
At that point the conversation shifts to negotiations. I negotiate two month's severance pay. Bad Boss looks like he's going to cry. He asks when I want my last day to be (seriously???) I tell him, "Today."
I handled myself calmly and professionally. I don't cry, complain, argue---none of that. It's not for him to see because my response is the only thing I can control. Besides, I had been there less than a year and the pay really sucked considering the scope of the job. Bad Boss offers to help me find another job, says he's willing to make some calls and be a reference. My only response is, "If you need an independent contractor--call me." I extend my hand, look him square in the eye, and shake his hand firmly. Who knows, he might have to call because I made a conscious decision to wrap up three projects and submit them the day AFTER our meeting. I'm the only one with the online userids and passwords to all three projects. Without my information, they can't access the work.
When I walked out of the office, I was surprised to see that they had sent most of my co-workers home. Probably because they thought I'd go off on everybody and create a scene. I must've been a major disappointment. I joked with a former co-worker as he helped me carry my boxes to my car. I told him that I had enjoyed working with him and that I knew that God was not going to give me any more than I could handle. When I pulled out of the parking lot, my co-worker/friend/Soror followed me. We drove and parked in a lot about two blocks from the job. I got into her car and it was only then that the tears started to flow.
When I told my family and friends, about losing my job they were like, "How did you figure out what was happening?" I told them, so I'll tell you. Here are the classic signs:
1) You are no longer "in the loop" on decisions
2) You are not even "in the loop" on decisions affecting the department you run
3) You have a major philosophical difference with your boss about how your job is to be performed
4) Your boss starts to avoid you--no small talk, no feedback positive or negative, no response to your emails
5) You are blamed for things that are beyond your control
6) You get little or no credit for your ideas or a job well done
7) A co-worker with major power in the organization is openly competing with you
8) You have a conversation with the office pariah about the organization's dysfunction and discover you agree with them more than you do with your team
9) The organization is a bad cultural fit. In my case, the overt religiosity within the organization made me uncomfortable---and I'm a christian.
10) Your subordinates and your boss start breaking the chain of command
So now, for the first time in decades, my entire future is a blank slate. I have NO idea where I will be working or living a year from now. The changes in my life are happening so rapidly, my head is spinning. Before I can start filling in the blanks, I'm giving myself a week to lick my wounds, hold pity parties with my friends and family, and just feel sorry for myself. After that, I'm launching my job search. I am actually thinking about going into business for myself. I'm getting tired of Bad Bosses and Crazy Bosses.
The only thing that's keeping me sane is my faith in God and my SP program. Okay, so maybe I can't control losing my job or finding three pounds, but I CAN pray and maintain my eating and my exercise habits.
Onward and Downward.