Recently in Losing a Job Category





1.      Getting laid off from a job you like due to no fault of your own.  Really - it's a 21st century rite of passage.


2.      Getting stopped for a (minor, very minor) traffic violation and attending traffic school - you'll be much more aware of bending the rules when you have "points" on your DMV record.


3.      Vote - it doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you know WHY you are voting for them.


4.      Take care of a pet - even if it is just a friend's pet - for at least a week.  You'll get to experience the unconditional love of a living thing and won't have to obligate yourself to the long term commitment if it turns out you hate it.


5.      Go on a trip to a country where you do not speak the language and don't hang out with the other Americans.


6.      Work in a customer service/wait staff /retail job - you'll never be rude to those service industry employees again.


7.      Baby-sit kids for a whole weekend - again...they don't have to be YOURS, just see what it "feels like" to have another human being depending on you...


8.      Volunteer for an entire day - pick any cause and go with the intent of paying it forward - when it's not all about you it feels great afterward - don't just take my word for it.


9.      Assemble furniture from Ikea or any other big box company - it can try the patience of even the most Zen-like person - and teaches you to at least read directions in life when they are available - following them is another subject.


10.  Get dumped by someone you are crazy about - ask for pain?  Yeah, pretty much.  It teaches you a lot about being a better friend, not taking others for granted and that the heart is a very resilient body part.


Dear Camille,

I have a real dilemma at my part time job - a market research company.  I used to make about half my income there, but things have really slowed down.  I just happened to go into the office last week and there was a focus group going on - the job I usually handled.  I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My two work friends there were very upset. They didn't know whether to tell me or not and didn't know if I had been asked to work the focus group. I have tried emailing the boss, but he doesn't respond to me. What do you think I should do? I'm such a wimp but I'm afraid bugging him and calling him at this point will just make things worse.

Wimp in Walnut Creek


Dear Wimp,

I feel your pain.  You know it is over, but you aren't ready to let go. First, I recommend you try to disconnect emotionally from this part time job.  From all the drama. 


If the "project" work you have been doing is in a lull or even gone forever due to changing business needs, (or hiring the boss's neighbor friend in your place) find something else and appreciate the work you had with them.  You can't make them give you work...they owe you nothing, so no need to take it personally. 


Use the experience and move to a new pasture.  Give the boss a phone call tomorrow and if he is not here, leave a pleasant message and call again in 2-3 days.  Let it go...sounds like it's over.






Dear WorkMinded,

"I'm being fired, just two years before I qualify for full vesting in my company stock. I am nearly certain that this is a calculated move and am wondering what my options are..."

Getting Screwed Outta my Options


Dear Getting Screwed,

This situation is a common one...and I have to say that it is even more frustrating when you have been working toward a longer term goal.  The first red flag waving my way is that "getting fired" suggests that you have not performed to standard or you have stepped over company regulations in a serious way. If this is the case, your options are very limited. 


If, in fact there is a layoff of multiple positions, your first stop is at the HR Department.  Express your concerns...feel them out and see what their response is.  Now listen carefully...Don't go in loaded for bear! Go in with a calm and respectful attitude.  If you don't have one of those at this point, wait a few days...and don't sign anything yet! 


Next, you can try to negotiate at least a partial vesting.  If they're not responsive, it would probably be a good idea to consult with a labor attorney.  Don't get your hopes up though, most states follow "employment at will" regulations meaning you can walk away at any time and so can they.  The bigger picture is that you have to be a good "leaver".  The word will be out on the street if you get difficult and your chance at getting stock vested somewhere else in the future will be slim.