Recovering After You’ve Been Let Go

Last year at this time I was let go from my job, and it was the first time in my career that had ever happened. With the change of the corporate division president, it was decided that the company would no longer pursue launching their product in the US automotive aftermarket, so no marketing = no job.

The Writing on The Wall

In June 2016 when our consumer marketing strategy was presented at corporate headquarters, our then division president did not approve it, so it was only a matter of time before the proverbial other shoe would drop. I spent the following eight months filling my time with busy work scrounging up possible private label customers – not marketing.

At the end of February, my boss had the courtesy to tell me that I was being let go that morning, so I started to empty my desk and pack my things. Within 15 minutes I was sitting in a conference room with the president of the finished lubricants division and HR. I was offered a very fair severance package, and with that I was quickly whisked out of the office with my box in hand.

What Next?

The are natural phases that you go through when you’re terminated. Shock and/or Disbelief, Sadness, Anger and Resolve. Everyone deals with each of them differently. Some phases last longer than others. Bottom line is – there is no right or wrong way to recover.

After the initial shock wore off and I shed a few tears, I was mad. No – I was really pissed off just thinking about the steps that had led me to the ranks of the unemployed. So much of it was out of my control, and I had become a casualty of a change in leadership and triggers that were never pulled.

Regroup and Move Forward

I spent the month of March regrouping, updating my resume and taking the dog on long walks. I started canvassing LinkedIn and Indeed.com regularly, with a goal of applying to three jobs a day. I was a little nervous that the Houston job market was still recovering, because I wasn’t seeing a lot out there for my experience and skill set.

The key is patience. Easy to say, harder to practice. Know what you’re willing to accept if offered a job, and stick to it. You don’t have to take the offer if it doesn’t meet all of your defined needs. Salary, benefits, office hours, company culture, distance to the office, expected travel, etc.

Know what you’re willing to accept if offered a job, and stick to it.

I was fortunate because I didn’t have to wait too long to arrive at the next stop on my career journey. A month to the day that I was let go – I started a new job.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation where your position was eliminated or you were simply let go? How did you deal with it? How did you recover? Do you have any advice for someone going through it today?

Originally posted on my LinkedIn page.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/recovering-after-youve-been-let-go-marlena-solomon/

Does your work evaluation matter, or is it a filed formality?

Companies have evaluations because there is a need to measure the growth of the employee from year to year. The exercise of self and manager evaluation takes place at the end of the year at my company. I outline my goals, accomplishments and challenges, and also have the opportunity to assess my manager’s efforts.

Pae-gi – “The determination to succeed in his/her work.” Employees are expected to strive to be equipped with Pae-gi. Company leaders are to discover and develop those with it.

 

 

Evaluation is an exercise in voicing your opinion “professionally”

This year’s self-evaluation flowed easily. I was hired to lead marketing for the launch of a branded company in 2015. My managing director presented the launch strategy at headquarters this summer, and our focus changed from brand launch to private label business. If you know private label, they market their own brand, so supplier marketing isn’t needed.

In my evaluation I explain the change in my role, and outline my current responsibilities. I describe my efforts, plan execution, challenges and obstacles. Then I rate my company satisfaction and provide opinions or suggestions for the team/company.

My self evaluation takes a couple of days to complete from start to finish. After I write my initial thoughts, I go back a couple of times to edit myself before it is ready to submit. In other words, I start by being very to the point, and then upon review I censor myself and make it more “professional”.

Manager Evaluation – Critique or Assessment

My manager evaluation is currently open on my computer. It has been for two weeks. Do you approach it as a critique or assessment? Is there as difference?

According to dictionary.com, to critique is the act of passing judgment. Assessment comes across as friendlier. “An evaluation of one’s abilities and failings.”  (British Dictionary)

The majority of the evaluation is by rating. Categories include:

  • Passion on work
  • Affection/Trust on employees and clients
  • Responsible for his or her actions
  • Challenge for higher goals and breakthrough
  • Pursue Innovation Change
  • Moral Ethics and Differentiating Personal/Work

Write-in sections address the manager’s strong points, developmental needs and overall opinion.

Does it really matter?

Evaluation is a balancing act. A good or poor review can impact potential for pay raise and bonus. I toil over how to articulate my thoughts in just the right way. It doesn’t do any good to just point out the negative. You want to give opinion that will hopefully inspire improvement.

I find myself questioning if any of it matters. If you see no action as a result of providing your opinion, you wonder if it was read. Or was it read but your concerns didn’t make the priority list, and it was filed in the “black hole of paperwork” on someone’s desk?

How do you approach your annual evaluation? Have you seen any change as a result of your input?

When Giving a Little Can Mean A Lot

Giving comes in all shapes and sizes. We give what we can, when we can. Some times a little can go a long way.

Giving a little

Monday the most important question of the morning was “Where to go for lunch?” After tossing around a few restaurant options, my friend Mayra and I settled on a Freddy’s down the road. Soon after we got our food, a young couple came in. Looking a little disheveled they were carrying backpacks and sleeping bags. I saw in her hand she held a cardboard sign that said, “Just hungry.”

I know that every one has a story about the circumstances that have lead them to that place. The place where you have no other choice but to ask for the help of a stranger. I watched as they patiently waited in line and then approached the counter. I couldn’t hear what she said, but I could see her movements. The girl behind the register stepped away, and they stepped off to the side. I could only imagine the cashier said to her, “Let me talk to my manager.”

Count your blessings

Earlier in the day, my friend and I were talking about our many blessings. A good job, healthy kids and family. Our problems are small compared to others.

I stopped eating, put down my burger and reached for my debit card. How could I possibly continue enjoying my hot burger and fries knowing someone standing 10 feet away just wanted something to eat. After standing at the counter for a bit, but the girl didn’t come back to the register. So I stepped to the other side where the food is served where at least five employees were having a pow wow.

“Hey,” I said to the manager in the group. “I want to pay for two meals for them.” I told him I didn’t need them to know it was me who paid for their food. He thanked me as I handed him my card. The cashier told them they would get a meal, and just seeing the girl’s joyful reaction was worth the whole $17.62 it cost.

Freddy's meal receipt
How much does giving cost?

Timing is everything

I don’t believe in coincidence. I don’t often give to pan handlers on the corner, but I was meant to be at that restaurant when those kids walked in.

As I glanced at them waiting in a corner booth for their food, I realized that they are around the age of my own kids who are 19 and 22. I have no idea what their story is, or where they are headed. In the end it doesn’t really matter.

Give what you can, when you can, and when it feels right. It’s not about getting a pat on the back. But a small gesture of kindness can mean a lot.