You're Fired! Part 1 – I Never Saw It Coming
So my day (and it truly became MY day), started that cold, gloomy December morning. It was only 10am but I had been at it since 6:30am. I had just printed out my report of activities and open projects list, and in walks Mr. HR and Mr. Manager. Mr. HR does not make eye contact but immediately sits across from me. Mr. Manager, smiles … ah yes, that smile. Funny, how you selectively remember certain things on those fateful days. As I proceed to pass the reports to each of them, Mr. Manager slides his copy back to me, and says, “We won’t be needing this today” … AGH, turns out, it is my Pink Slip day.
It was December 2008, a typical cold, gloomy day. It was a Thursday. As the BUM (business unit manager) and designated Move Captain, I supported a 200+ group of employees, who were being relocated to offices. Not new offices, but certainly refurbished, and certainly much smaller. Not everyone was happy about the situation, but then again, how many people actually like to move? The move was tomorrow … all under control, she says, as she pulls her hair out, strand by strand!
Add to that angst the fact that I still had to manage, support, supervise and generate normal business activities, ay yay yay! But ok, I always said I was (and still am, I might add) a skilled multi-tasker. Thankfully, I always try to see the humor in any situation, especially the more stressful ones. So yes, this is fun … and will keep saying it, and eventually believe it. Bottom line: I had a job … oh how naïve one can be at times, or maybe it is just plain denial. Either way, ignorance, at times, is bliss.
And so my story goes (and a cliché) … I am preparing my project status report in anticipation of my weekly meeting with the group’s manager. Oddly enough, an HR representative had recently been attending these meetings. Why, do you ask? (I know I did) … well, ahem, says Mr. Manager, we want to make sure the move goes seamlessly especially since you are managing a number of other important projects. What? Guess he forgot I was the point on a number of internal acquisitions in the last year. Add to that, every group was no less than 90% functional on their start day. Here I am a (dynamic – tongue in cheek) bilingual lawyer with years of experience in project and risk management, human capital administration, technology, compliance, as well as supervisory knowledge (ok, ok, tooting my horn, but if not me, then who?). So you now ask, who is she to question senior management? For those who know me, and those who will (or not), you know I did! N.B. see the writing on the wall.
This was a season of financial strife (I think that should have been my first line of this chapter (lol)), so morale, and especially business was not at its peak. My endeavor was to make it possible to survive each business day with a sense of accomplishment and hopefully leave the members of my team with a smile and a sense of satisfaction (don’t you wish more managers thought and acted that way?).
However, this firm, and this Manager did not see it as such. Thanks, for all your help, we appreciate your service, but given the present state of the economy and our business in particular, we have decided to let you go. Fade into numbness, shock, sadness and humiliation.
Please tell me about your “Last Day.” … we all know you remember it very vividly – how different or similar was it to mine? P.S. Does anyone know why it is Pink? Just curious.
Stay tuned for OERamz’s next article “Your Fired! Part 2 – Making a Graceful Exit”
Orietta E. Ramírez (pen name OERamz) is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in The Bronx, and presently calls home in Dutchess County, New York. Pedagogically, her claim to fame, as she puts it, is that she shares Cardinal Spellman H.S. as her alma mater with the distinguished Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fordham University with Vince Lombardi and Steve Bellán, first Latin American to play Major League Baseball, and with Geraldo Rivera, another Brooklyn Law School alum. A first generation Chilean-American, she is a dynamic bilingual lawyer, employee relations advocate and project manager, with experience in human capital administration, audit and risk management. While leveraging her legal and compliance background as an HR partner, she incorporates her expertise on projects and in business relationships with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as talent management. She is an avid reader and includes salsa dancing among her extracurricular activities, and is always open to all that is intriguing and challenging, which offers new opportunities for thought.