Wednesday, September 10, 2014
To My Loyal Readers
A local nonprofit organization hired me earlier this year to serve as its development director. I was interviewed by two women – the executive director and associate director – and received a call later that day asking if I could come back in the next day to discuss salary and start date. After working for myself for a long time – and juggling the need to secure clients with the need to do work for said clients – it was a genuine relief to land a “regular” job. Although I’m experienced and capable, it’s been challenging in recent years to compete with younger, better-educated, willing-to-work-for-less individuals for the finite number of jobs in my area. So Anita and I were very, very happy.
Two days after I started I was summoned into an emergency staff meeting and told along with my new colleagues that our executive director – one of the two who had hired me – was no longer employed by the agency for reasons that I won’t reiterate here but weren’t good.
I was fired shortly after she started. No two weeks notice. No severance. Not even a “thanks anyway” as I recall. Done. Five or six of us were let go unexpectedly that day and I’m told a few others were set adrift in the days that followed.
I knew the organization was financially insolvent. I knew I wasn’t bringing in the kind of cash we needed – yet – and the board probably directed my new boss to make hard decisions and take drastic measures to avoid shuttering the doors. So I tried not to take things personally and immediately fired up the Employment Search Machine again – it had barely cooled – and assured Anita that this was just a small setback. I promised her that we’d be able to keep the new van we had just purchased and that I’d land on my feet somewhere real soon.
Weeks later, I’m still looking – when I’m not taking calls from banks and creditors demanding payment and threatening to make things worse.
I wish my last employer knew about loyalty. I was compensated every two weeks while I was there, of course, but I wish my commitment would have worked in my favor when it came time to decide who would get the axe. (They filled a new position a few weeks later so there must have been a few dollars stashed away somewhere.)
I’ve tried to be loyal to friends, family and employers in the past. My record isn’t spotless but I can sleep at night. (Actually I can’t right now, but you know what I mean.) I stayed at one job for eight years and another for over 10. I enjoy the unwavering loyalty on which we can count from our parents if we’re lucky. And nothing’s more loyal than my two Maltese pups. So I still know what loyalty is.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope it’s just cynicism. And I hope there’s someone out there who values loyalty enough to consider my skills and abilities and put me on their payroll. I bet many of the 9.6 million other jobless Americans out there would love to prove their loyalty to an employer too.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.