Thursday, January 04, 2007

Starting the year off wrong

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! Unfortunately, it hasn't been very happy for us so far: Lori went in to work Tuesday morning, only to find out that she had been laid off from her job, a job that she had held for slightly over three years.

Lori was told that she was being let go because the company was not turning a profit. For a firm that takes its workers and their families on ski trips, hosts lavish Christmas dinners and apparently just gave some of its senior engineers five-figure holiday bonuses, this explanation sounds a bit suspect. More likely, Lori was let go because the company was beginning to focus itself away from the type of work that Lori was doing, and Lori, not being an engineer herself, was no longer of utility to the firm. Lori is not aware of any other employees being laid off besides herself.

We understand that business is business, but the timing of the layoff - right after the holidays and, rather coincidentally, right before Lori was apparently supposed to get a promotion and a raise - as well as the nonchalant, almost-chipper manner in which she was informed of her dismissal - leaves a rather bad taste in Lori's mouth. I'm not particularly impressed, myself; there are a lot of people I've gotten to know over the past three years for whom I've suddenly lost a great deal of respect.

If there is a silver lining to this, it's the fact that Lori did not particularly enjoy that job. Traffic impact analyses and signal timing warrants were not the types of things she thought that she would be doing with an MBA in marketing; an interesting set of circumstances led her to that job, but it was not a place she really wanted to be. She found the work boring and stressful and had been looking for other opportunities more suited to her skills and desires even before she was let go; now she can devote all of her time to finding said opportunities. There was, as well, a "cliquish" nature to the staff that annoyed Lori and there are a few people she will not particularly miss.

And, to be honest, Lori could probably use a little bit of time off right now.

Her layoff came with a meager severance package (two weeks' salary and company-paid health insurance though the end of the month), and she will be able to file for unemployment benefits. However, the unemployment benefits she will receive are just a fraction of what she was making, and her income represented almost half of the household intake. It's too early to panic about our financial situation, but needless to say it would be good if Lori found new employment sooner rather than later.

I'll keep everyone informed; please think good thoughts for Lori in the meantime.

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