Hope and Faith

I had an interesting conversation this morning with a young man who used to work for us. He thanked me, initially, for believing in him; in placing him in a position, we gave him hope. He said that our finding him a position made him look at things a little differently; for the first time in a long time, he saw that people do care about others, and that he now had a way he could start to take care of his family again.
Then, he told me that he was downsized from his position last Friday and I couldn’t help but feel the devastation in his voice. He had spent the better part of the past year paying off bills, saving a little money, taking care of some personal issues, and preparing for his family’s future; and now this, effective immediately. Get your things and you’re done; leave now. What a terrible way to end something that you thought was so good? I understand the ‘safety and security’ reasoning behind it, don’t get me wrong, but where is the humanity in treating your employees like that?!?
I had no words of wisdom to offer; I don’t think he was looking for that. All I did for him was listen to his story and let him know I would do what I could to help him out. I tried to offer hope, but ‘hope’ won’t pay his bills right now. It could, however, help make things a little easier.
I’ve been working on (and off) this entry all day and have not come up with a good story or anecdote on how to lessen his pain, nor do I have a solution or resolution for him. I’ll still try to find him another position; I gave him my word I would do what I could for him. But, if I don’t find a position for him, I do hope he finds solid ground to land on. I know he will do well. He’s motivated, honest and hardworking. He knows who he is; he’ll continue to be true to himself. Maybe at the end of the day, that is what it is all about.

2 thoughts on “Hope and Faith”

  1. Remeber Linda, when one door closes another one opens-but don’t always look for the door-it might be a window, small, not so obvious as we would like. You know this to be true.

  2. The problem is that no matter how gently or humanely an employer cuts staff, it is always a blow to the recipient of the bad news.

    I was ‘downsized’ in September, during what was then what many hoped was the worst. My employer was visibly upset at having to dispense the bad news. You could really see his discomfort. He didn’t want to do this, but as he said, it’s always HE that has to do the dirty work.

    In his effort to ease the shock, he offered a generous severance as well as a brief continuation of my insurances (always company paid in full) so that I could have any issues immediately addressed while still being covered.

    He said he would sign anything, talk to anyone, and do anything he could to help in my future endeavors. He praised me for my work and dedication, made it clear this wasn’t “personal” and wished me luck. Genuinely.

    He waited until most had already left for the annual softball game so that there wouldn’t be “onlookers” in an already depressing and uncomfortable situation.

    Then he said I could have a beer or two (on hand for the game) while I packed up my belongings, organized my work area, fought to get the office key off my key ring, etc.

    He left the office before I did.

    I guess my point is that the news is never able to be dispensed in a way that isn’t devastating. When I got home that night, with nowhere to go on Monday, I probably felt the same despair as I would have had he been less caring about the separation.

    Losing a job is losing a job. Fear of not meeting the bills, where the next job is, etc. doesn’t change whether you are ‘let go’ admirably or with a cut and run mentality.

    But the way it was done left me feeling good about the company, my contribution to it, the people and the way they treat folks. It doesn’t change the immediate circumstances, but it alleviates the pain of being treated poorly in addition to losing a job.

    It doesn’t create “hope”, but it also doesn’t pour salt into an already painful wound.

    Linda Mason

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top