Life changes. This is one of the caveats of, well, life. As corporate America is re-shaped through lay-offs, cutbacks, corporations who decide to cut losses and expenses by reducing workforce and lessening company liabilities by reducing tenured employees thereby reducing 401k contributions, etc., I have decided to share my story, and maybe provide some hope for those in a similar predicament.
Although I realize my situation is unique, I say that everyone who has experienced any form of corporate America has unique circumstances. The experiences taken can be used for personal gain, regardless of specific circumstances of the individual.
As I was working for corporate America, earning profits for shareholders, bonuses for upper management, etc., getting older all while getting poorer, the large retail pet specialty store for whom I had worked for 2 years as an inventory manager and customer service specialist suddenly replaced the store general manager.
The man who was recruited as the new GM was not qualified, nor did he have the skills to manage the store, the very knowledgeable pool of employees we (myself, and the staff of highly skilled and qualified managers) had cultivated over the years realized this, but being professionals, accepted the fact that he was our new "leader."
He came in with the attitude that since he was there, everything was OK now. He did not follow policy or procedure, and had no desire to do so. Or even learn P&P. When we (the management staff) would attempt to adhere to company P&P and standards, we were told it was his store now and it would be his way.
Let me say that I agree with this philosophy. To a point. Having worked in management most of my adult life, I say that when you assume a management position, especially as a new hire, you must come in authoritatively, and without questioning yourself. He had this down pat. However, it is also necessary to draw on your experienced management staff to learn. Especially when changing from one industry to another. His old industry was office supplies, and his new industry was animal products. A very different sector indeed, as now, you deal with people and their pets. Their family. Their kids. Any pet owners reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
His shortcomings were not limited to failing to learn and adhere to company policy, he was inappropriate in his dealings with employees. There were more EEO violations than I can count. Racial slurs, general demeaning actions to employees that should never occur. One example; one of my co-managers who had been with the store for 4 years, and was of Hispanic origin, spoke with a bit of an accent. One day he had a disagreement with her and asked her: "Do you speak English?" Totally inappropriate.
There are countless more incidents like this, but I'll spare you the details. You get the idea.
Long story short, there were several of us managers who did not "click" with this new GM. After many difficulties, corporate contacts were made to express concern with the direction he had taken the store, failing to adhere to policy and procedure, even to the point of placing live animals in danger. When corporate officers decided they were happy with the direction he was going (despite lower earnings and a substantial decrease in customer satisfaction scores) it became obvious what I had to do.
On the day I provided my notice to resign, two other managers decided to resign as well. After working my remaining time, I exited this company. I moved to another city in Texas where I live now. My plan was to move here and apply with the same pet specialty chain and work under different district leadership.
I learned that I was considered ineligible for rehire. When I attempted to ascertain why, I only met with red tape and side stepping corporate nonsense. All I was told was that I can not work for this company again. No reason given.
I know very well why. Because I did not bow down to the new general manager that was hired, and when I chose to resign, he took it personally. I tried to help him through the learning curve, the culture of his new environment, but he was not receptive. He had what may be called God mentality. As a result, he arranged it so I was ineligible for rehire. I still have no idea what he put in my personnel file to cause this situation.
Nor do I really care.
And so begins my job search. After many applications and no call backs, I began to wonder what the problem was. I had a friend call my former employer for a job reference. As expected, they reported to me that I was ineligible for rehire.
Needless to say, in this climate in America, if you are not eligible for rehire by your last employer, then you are considered not eligible for hire by anyone. Even the smallest company. So I effectively became unemployable, overnight.
So what now?
All is not lost. In my next article I will write about how I took the experience I gained from this corporate giant and turned it into a positive experience.
If you want a hint, see my bio.