It is almost the end of the first quarter of 2018. January was the month of “new year, new me”, New Year’s Resolutions, just saying ‘No’ to sweets, tobacco, and just saying ‘Yes’ to exercising, eating right and on and on. January was also the month of restructuring, downsizing, role eliminations, displaced, laid off and whatever other corporate jargon companies use nowadays to dismantle the balance of human lives. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts over the past few months related to mass layoffs and the fear of not knowing if you might be next up on the plank.
In 2001, I was an intern in the IT department of a pretty well-known company. One morning just a few weeks into my internship, I was greeted with the word restructure. I went throughout my day as normal but I started to see boxes being carried around, office chairs moving from cubicle to cubicle, folks huddled in corners and others folks in the breakroom with concerned looks and a few tears in their eyes. I didn’t know what restructure in the corporate context meant but nothing about it sounded fun.
By the end of the week, several desks were empty. I was sharing a desk with a team member who was out on leave. He was displaced by the restructure so his desk became mine for the remainder of the summer. After a few weeks the huddles dissolved just as quickly as they had formed and it was business as usual. By the end of the summer, I had forgotten about those folks that were once there but then gone. I did wonder what came of them but based on the restructure conversation that my then manager had with the other interns and I, the folks would be setup with workforce agencies and could even apply for other positions within the company not to mention they would be compensated for some of the weeks they would be without employment. Didn’t sound bad at all.
It has been a little over a year since I lived through my restructure and I am in a reflective mood. I was never afraid of losing my job. I was very competent in my role as a Program Manager and I knew that I could walk into any company and kick ass. This isn’t me being cocky this is all confidence because I know my worth. It took a while for me to really feel comfortable at a company and in a role so much so that I wouldn’t feel the least bit of shade if an employer decided to downsize. The one thing that I felt and still feel is disappointment with how the leaders of my last company handled the communication and professionalism surrounding the job eliminations of roles within the company. During my exit interview, I shared a letter with the HR representative explaining my displeasure. Checkmate!
When decisions are made in large rooms with people in suits there is no way for them to understand the crippling affect their decisions have on their employees. Babies are still being born, life threatening diseases are still being diagnosed, college tuitions have to paid, and families need roofs over their heads.
Yes, life goes on, but lives are impacted.
Layoffs are sometimes the last resort for companies but no matter the initial disturbance that led to the decision, this type of situation should be handled with care. I think the company that introduced me to restructuring did an okay job of handling such an uncomfortable situation, however, my last company…not so much.
My advice to those of you who have recently found yourself without a job or those of you who are waiting to hear your fate: Remember that God placed you in your particular situation for a reason during this season.
Learn from it.
Grow from it.
Don’t get stuck.
Remember that you are enough.
Walk in confidence knowing that God is simply taking you on a detour. Enjoy the scenic route and when you’re done get back to work!
Doors may be locked. Windows may be boarded up. Don’t become fearful, just grab a sledgehammer and knock down a damn wall. Create your own path and when you’re done bring a bunch of Fierce folks with you!
You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.