08 January 2009

The End...?

Well, as luck would have it, I'm now apart of the news. I was effectively laid-off on Monday from my job as a recruiter with the 14th largest bank in the United States. Times are tough, even for a well-run bank, and when they have to start making capital saving cuts the hiring slows way down. That effectively rendered my job useless.

I wasn't the only one cut. In all there were 16 of us across the footprint that were eliminated. It's the same story as just about anywhere-some were new hires like me and others were veterans with over 20 years of experience. In the end you know the company didn't do it based off of performance-either the employee or the company, since BB&T is still one of the few profitable banks-but rather because of all the mistakes made by other institutions that are now raining down on the economic machine as a whole.

BB&T is a great company. It was probably the first company in which I saw myself working there for many, many years and hopefully progressing through the ranks to only better myself and the company. I knew when I accepted the position that I would not want to stay in it for longer than 2 years at the maximum. But I saw it as a “foot in the door”, an entrance into a world I knew I would enjoy and one that, at the time, felt relatively safe. So, in the end I decided that this was the place for me. I actually started to decorate my desk (something I have only done once before) and started to branch out looking to make friends and connections that would help me in my career progression. If I saw an opportunity to better the Company I presented it to Executive Management. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t just here to collect a paycheck; I was here to work.

I think it showed too. My direct report would constantly send information for me to research. I got the impression she valued my opinion, knowing that I would tell her it was a waste of time and resources if the product was similar to what we already had, or I would put together a well-reasoned argument as to why this product would benefit the Company, both immediately and in the future. Now, this didn’t always mean that they would take my advice and run with it. BB&T doesn’t work that way. Instead, it meant they listened and would agree (sometimes) that the product was good-even if they couldn’t justify it at the moment.

Monday, January 5th.

I woke up after getting the first good night of sleep since before the move-which was before the holidays. I felt rested and revitalized. I was able to spend time slowly getting ready, sending a few pre-work emails to friends, a couple of Tweets on Twitter, update my Facebook status and read the Winston-Salem Journal. My son was in an extremely good mood that morning, having rested well too. I came into work with the outlook that 2009 was going to be tough, but that I would be able to really concentrate on things and hopefully make a huge difference. I was in the kitchen getting my second cup of coffee and my manager asked if I had a minute. “Of course! What can I do for you?” Then the train came barreling down the tracks and ran me over. I was laid-off. I was told that I was to be here until Friday the 8th or I could leave that day. I was given a 4 month severance package and told that if I wanted to look for other internal positions I would be partnered with a recruiter to aid in the search.
I decided that if there was a position that I would be reasonably qualified for currently open within a specific geographical location I would stay until Friday. I looked. There was. So, I set up appointments with the recruiter and continued to busy myself for the first three days of the week. I continued to come in wearing a suit and tie, and was always at least 15 minutes early-not that I was ever really late. I thought that if I presented myself as one who was willing to still work for the Company, even though I was officially laid-off, my presentation at the next interview would be even more favorable.

Thursday, January 8th.

Now, it is Thursday. My desk is clean. My hard drive has been erased of all items. My Outlook is barer than it was when I came on board. I ditched the tie and coat today, but still shaved. I have one more appointment with a Senior Manager at 10:30 a.m. and then I am left with nothing to do. I will talk to my recruiter one more time to today in order to set up a standard of communication regarding my search once I leave the office on Friday and then I will patiently sit at my cubicle for the rest of the day.

Friday, has the extreme potential to be short. My wife and I commute daily to work together, and I have already informed here that I will be driving separately just in case. My nerves are starting to get frayed. I have people constantly stopping by my cubicle looking to see “how I’m doing” which is getting old very quick. I know they mean well, but the repetition is nauseating. It also doesn’t help my nerves. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep up the fa├žade of: “I’m good! How are you?” always so cheerful, always full of hope.

If the truth were to be told I’m scared to death. We just moved into a house (rental, but still…), my son is only 5 months old, my wife is in a job that cannot support our lifestyle alone, I have two car payments, credit debt and student loans. I was going to sit up last night and watch TV, but then I realized I’d be all alone and my brain would have the time to think with undivided attention on all the negative possibilities. I went to bed at 9:30 p.m.

The only thing that does keep my brain occupied is my son. He’s a joy. He has no clue what Daddy is stressing about and personally doesn’t care. He smiles every time I walk into his view. He coos and even attempts to say, “Da-Da” His mouth makes all the motions and noises, but it ends up sounding like, “blah, ba”. It’s cute and I congratulate him all the same. But when he’s not around I worry about him. I want the best for him and the total lack of income the best will not come.

I am now writing this at work. I’ve been on Twitter all morning and I’m going to start going through my Facebook tonight. I know jobs are rare these days, but I’ve got to start the networking thing PDQ (=Pretty Damn Quick) in order to provide for my boy. In the meantime, I intend to update this blog frequently. I originally had no clue what to blog about, but it would appear a reason has come about. So, going forward you will start to see blogs about what I am doing to search for my new career. Feel free to comment, critique and suggest. Who knows, maybe this will help someone else out in the end.

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