Aug 12, 2008

Dear Economic Climate,

Dear Economic Climate,
You have shattered my self confidence.

The trickle down effect of economics has left no industry, no agency untouched by the current climate, resulting in the all-too-often round of i'm sorrys, we can't keep yous, you've been let gos. Despite the frequency of these occurrences, I struggle to admit the truth of the matter- I WAS LAID OFF. It's an embarrassing admission, and no matter how competent or capable the individual who suffered the tragic fate is, he or she was somehow dispensable.

Until this point, I've only been able to admit in this blogosphere that "the ThomasArts gig didn't work out."

Here is my tale of woe ...

When Matt was hired by Goldman, he confessed to them a desire to return to NY. Should an opportunity arise with them in Manhattan, he'd gladly relocate. One short month later, amidst wedding planning and full-time employment at ThomasArts - Matt called to tell me we would be relocating BACK to New York (something I had asked for, and even made him promise we would eventually do). Truth be told, the news came as a bit of a shock to me. I'd grown to love Salt Lake-
Mazza mujadara
nights at 24-hour with Val
sitting on the porch with L
long walks through scenic Sugarhouse
a very comfortable job as a PR Manager at a place that let me wear SWEATSHIRTS to work
skiing, hiking or camping to my heart's desire ...

None the less, I told ThomasArts that I would be leaving 2 months from that time. Surprised and disappointed (I'm a pretty good employee, or so I thought) they asked me to stay on board and work from NY. I declined for a myriad of reasons.

The next day they returned with a generous offer, one that I couldn't pass up. They had become my best friends and family. I could still come to Utah to work. I could attend the company Christmas party. I was finally doing PR work, which I loved - and was even seeing a bit of success at. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity and so it was decided that I would open the New York office of ThomasArts. Based on this plan, Matt and I made honeymoon schedules and found appropriate housing. We counted vacation days and pennies to cover our needs.

Fast forward to June...

Performance reviews with my supervisors have been scheduled. The wedding is fast approaching, and my plate is overflowing with to dos. I'm moving back to New York in 2 days. The stress is unbearable and I'm unable to sleep through the night. *see earlier posts* Coworkers notice my state of disaray and tell me I look like hell. I cry at work cause I'm stretched too thin.

Despite this all, I receive glowing reviews, praise for the work that I've done, a promotion, a blackberry, a bonus check and a raise to cover costs in New York. I'm thrilled- elated even. And 3 short days later, the floor falls from beneath me.

My cell phone rings. I answer it. It's the kind and caring CEO of ThomasArts, calling in person to let me know that despite my contributions to the team, they can no longer keep me on - I've been laid off. I start to cry. I can't stop. He keeps talking, but I cant listen. I'm too consumed trying to control the sobbing breaths and wondering what Matt and I will ever do without an income for the next 2 months. I don't know what I said. I don't remember what he said. I kept crying. Two days later, more employees are regretfully released. I'm still crying. In the company of good friends I sit on the couch, eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream in my pajamas displaying the worst of attitudes towards everyone and everything.

At the time, it seemed wildly unfair. Why the promotion, raise, blackberry and praise - only to be yanked away from me less than a week later? Clearly they thought I was a valued team member- so one of two things was occurring...

1. They were letting me go knowing that I deserved to stay (NOT FAIR)
2. I was lied to point blank at my performance review and I wasn't the "rising star" they said I was (DISHONEST)

But the truth of the matter is, I had to be let go. It made sense. How can you justify a NY office when you don't have clients paying you enough to support it? Our CEO was devastated to let his team members and family go, but in the end, it is business. The financial and immediate effects of my lay off were evident but I wasn't at all prepared for the underlying emotional effects that later manifest ...

Suddenly I was filled with self-doubt- one phone call and I fell apart.
I questioned my abilities to perform tasks.
I questioned whether or not I was, in fact, a hard and capable worker.
I questioned my skills and abilities.
I questioned myself.
My ego took a blow, which I think it might have needed.
Perhaps I had become a little inflated. Perhaps my self-confidence was a little too confident. The parting with TA felt a bit like breaking up with my high school boyfriend - the only difference was I didn't drop 6 lbs. this time around.

Before I was "WONDERFUL," now I was DISPENSABLE.

I started being "safe."
I applied for jobs that I knew I was overqualified to do.
I shied away from trying things I might not succeed at.
I cringed at going back to the gym and running, after a month's hiatus, knowing I would only be frustrated by my regression.
I almost passed on Gibson Dunn because I was afraid I couldn't do it ...

And the truth of the matter is, I haven't come to terms with it quite yet. I know that everyone's brother or cousin or sister-in-law is suffering the same fate as I. The recruiting agency I worked with said they are inundated with resumes and candidates looking for employment - sometimes up to 200 emails per day from individuals needing work. The numbers and facts don't change the way that I feel - disappointed in myself for not being valuable enough to keep. Luckily, law firms are fairly sheltered from economic storms, and I don't foresee a future firing. (but really... when do you ever see that coming?)

So, economic climate, I hold you wholly responsible for the shattered ego I suffered post lay-off. Had you remained stable, TA clients would not have slashed their budgets and I would never have been let go. I demand another incentive check that I might use for retail therapy to lift my spirits (and perhaps your current state). You know where to send it.

3 comments:

Liz said...

Ah, Noelle, I'm sorry to hear about your job. I can see how that would knock you for a loop or two. Keep your chin up. Something amazing is probably just around the corner!

Jake and Jenna said...

you are a wonderful person. it will all work out, as it always does

Shannon C. said...

I'll also need a check to pay for the damages of not being able to work with you anymore! I miss you!!