State of the Unemployed Union

Gain & Loss | October 26, 2009

Nearly one year ago I lost what was the best job I had ever had. I was an assistant for an independent portfolio management firm, working in a team of three assistants who served five managers. My job could best be described as three jobs in one – Information Systems Management, Administrative Assistance, and Customer Service. The pace was fast, the days varied, and the tension ran so high we had an in-house blood pressure machine. I loved every minute of it.

 Let me take you back to the beginning. I had been with a small trust company for a couple of years when it went out of business. I had enjoyed a great relationship with my superiors and co-workers, loved the work I was doing, and had hoped for a long career with this company. Instead, I ended up helping the company close up shop after its sale to a bank.

 This loss left me feeling all right, actually. I was satisfied with my job performance and confident in my skills. I had interviewed with several companies, optimistic that my next position would be the long-lasting professional relationship I had been waiting for. Two short months later I secured a job assisting the branch manager of a life insurance company.

 Six days into that job I received a phone call from an owner of one of the other companies with which I had interviewed. He asked me to come in for a second interview. While I was thrilled with the invitation, I politely declined, indicating that I had already begun employment with another company. He persisted, telling me that they had been hoping to offer the position to me during that second interview, describing to me the compensation package in detail. It was an offer I could not refuse. I accepted immediately.

 The following day I signed and faxed the acceptance letter for this new position. All I had to do was wait to hear back from the hiring manager for my start date. I held my breath and continued my workday at the life insurance company as normally as possible.

 On the morning of my eighth day at the life insurance company the hiring manager called me just as I was leaving for work. My start date would be the following Monday. I told him joyfully that I would see him then. Then I solemnly went to work what would be my last day at the life insurance company.

 About two hours into the day I requested a private meeting with the branch manager. I don’t know whether he suspected anything as he was busy readying for an out of town business trip. He closed his office door, we sat down, and I gave him my two week notice. He said he understood why I had accepted the other position. I had a family to help support and I would have been a fool to refuse the compensation I had been offered. However, he did ask me to leave immediately, as he would have to quickly replace me. I packed up my things and left smiling, knowing that I was looking toward a better future.

Eight months into this new job, two of the owners asked to meet with me privately. They immediately got down to business. I was a wonderful person, they explained, and they really liked me, but economic conditions dictated that cuts be made and they had to let me go.

 My head spun. I cried openly. I had loved that job with all my heart. I liked my co-workers, had the respect of my superiors, loved the clients, and enjoyed the work I was doing. This was supposed to be “the” job. The company I would grow with and eventually retire from. But it was not to be.

 This job loss, unlike the previous two, left me in a deep depression. I felt lacking in every respect even though my bosses had told me that they really liked me. It wasn’t a decision that they had wanted to make. It had been coming on for some time.

 I had been suspicious for several months. The market was spiraling downward, banks were failing, and clients were scared and pulling up stakes. I had access to the reports containing assets under management data. I saw with my own eyes the effect the economy was having on this wonderful company. I even expressed my concern to one of the owners three months before I had been let go and he assured me that the company was doing everything possible to maintain itself, that they had seen down times before and never cut personnel to stay afloat. They held the family together, battened down the hatches, sailed the rough seas together until those seas calmed. I had no need to worry.

 So I didn’t worry. Then reality hit and I was out of a job. I immediately updated my resume and references. I posted my updated resume on every online job search site I could find. I signed up with several staffing agencies. Each assured me that my skills and qualifications would grant me a new job soon. I had great skill to offer and my references were excellent. “Don’t worry. You’ve got what employers are looking for right now.” But there were no phone calls. No requests for interviews.

 My depression deepened. I would get the kids off to school and go back to bed. Watch television and answer online job ads for two hours and go back to bed. I sat on the couch for three months until my husband made me join a gym just to get me out of the house and into some sort of routine.

 I kept on keeping on, but the phone did not ring for months. Working out regularly at the gym, however, did begin to ease the depression. Nearly one year later I am still unemployed. But the phone has recently begun to ring.


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1 Comment »

  1. […] a post called Gain & Loss Nearly one year ago I lost what was the best job I had ever had… Eight months into this job, […]

    Pingback by - user-generated content about the economy » Blog Archive » One year unemployed – Part II — December 14, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

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