Starting the year with a shock

In the first two business days of the year, three of my wonderful women friends called to say they lost their jobs as a result of the recession. C. was an executive at a major bank, M. worked in Human Resources for a nonprofit that does world-changing good, and J. was in sales with a huge global packaged goods company.

Their severance packages range from one year's to one month's salary. All were valued, top performers. Two are firmly over 50 and one is in her
early 40s.

J. says, "This is a blessing, really. Maybe it's the push I need to develop my other interest into a business." (She builds musical instruments, and is continually refining her skills.) M. says, "I'm in shock, I need a few days to regroup. I loved this organization." C. says, "I'd like to work with people with different values."

Here comes the job-search drill: the boards, recruiters, professional network, and then interviews, waiting, decisions such as, should I take a job to relieve financial pressure or wait f
or a better fit? Exploring options, perhaps joining a consulting firm or reviving a freelance career.

I'm guessing some of you, or your friends have received the same news. The packages aren't as generous, as companies are nervous about their survival (whether warranted or not.) The mood is sombre, the opportunities evasive, the cushion of savings flatter.

I'll post follow ups on the trio. At the moment, we're meeting for coffee, and I'm just there for them.

Another person who's "there" is the owner/teacher at my local yoga studio, who has quietly initiated a Pay What You Can option for the many classes she teaches, to help people in these times.

Sheila Cullen, I am grateful for your caring and compassion.


Susan B said…
We went through such a long period where companies had trouble finding good, qualified employees that they hung onto them for dear life. These are definitely different times. We've already been told that we will not be able to hire replacements for employees that leave or are promoted.

Personally, I've set up an additional, aggressive savings plan this year. I'm on contract, but you never know.
Duchesse said…
Pseu: That's smart! Two of the three friends work for companies who are showing a profit. Wouldn't reduced hours or job sharing be a better option than losing their talents?
WendyB said…
Ugh. I feel bad for them. And for me! I just lost three potential customers. Here's hoping they get back on their feet fast :-)
materfamilias said…
As you show, Duchesse, even those of us who don't suffer the direct effects of losing our jobs are affected by watching friends go through this -- I worry about my kids, as well, for whom, as Pseu points out, so short a while ago seemed to be in a climate where good employees were recruited and there were efforts made to hang on to them. How quickly things seemed to turn.
Sorry to hear about your friends - though I hope that it is the motivation to do things they've never done because of the security of having these jobs, and that they flourish from the experience (terrible as it is).

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