Losing my job after 30 years and starting over
Losing a job is never easy….
Losing a job – a very personal post, a year in the making. This is my story of what it felt to lose a job of thirty years and what I learned about myself along the way. I learned that I am not indispensable and that I am hire-able and most important, how my family stuck together in time of need.
So It begins
In March of 1987, I answered an Ad that was posted in a magazine called The FLYER, people my age that grew up in Miami might remember this magazine that was delivered every week to our mailboxes. Do you remember the Flyer? I answered an ad for an Office Clerk at an Import/Export company in the Airport Cargo District, in the 80’s the flower industry was a booming industry. I called the Office Manager and scheduled an appointment. I was 21 years old going on my first real job interview. I mean I had worked for my brother’s before but I don’t consider that real work as I don’t remember ever getting a paycheck. They will be mad if they read this part as I am sure they probably would say they did pay me. I was interview by the Comptroller of this Import/Export Company. The gentleman was very nice, funny and made me at ease, he was very relatable although he must have been in his 30’s. That same afternoon I got the call with the job offer, I accepted the offer at $4.25/hr.; can you believe that the hourly pay for someone with no degree was that little during the 80’s? OMG! How did I survive!
This was my first grown-up job and I was excited. I spent the next 30 years of my career life in that Import/Export industry. I was lucky to have mentors throughout my employment at this company including my boss. Whom I will always be thankful for the opportunity. Although at times I felt unappreciated, overworked, overwhelmed and would come home to tell my husband how much I wanted to quit, I never did. It was just talk as I thought that I would be retiring from there.
Well that certainly changed on February 2017 when my boss walked into my office and said “I have something to tell you, I sold the business and the new owners are taking all the employees too”. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as somehow, I always thought that I would be retiring from this company. I just never thought of my boss as old, he was a workaholic so when he gave me the news I was surprised that he would actually retire but he did. Or so I thought.
We had two months to get all of the company matters before the company was to move to its new address. I guess I wasn’t worried because I was confident that I would continue to manage the other two companies along with my boss and that would be sufficient source of income. I guess I should have known that something was up when in the month of February which happens to be close to the end of the produce season which was the industry we were in, he brought in an acquaintance that we both knew very well to so call “help me” with the bookkeeping of the other companies we managed.
As we were getting closer to the move out date, I still had not gotten a definite answer about the other two companies that he managed. I would continue to ask him face to face and via email and he was evasive in his answers, no, better yet, he never gave me an answer. Could it be that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings? I will never know.
Let me be clear, I was not upset because he sold the company, he can do what ever he wants with his company, although, I cared a lot and kind of took care of it as it was my own, because I was a devoted employee. But being let go without an explanation, kind of sucks. I was in the dark about the future of the other companies, was I going to be part of them or not, just give me a freaking answer. In the meantime, I was to train that new hire and show him everything I had learned in the past 4-5 years, basically, unknowing I was training my replacement. I was and still Am upset that after 30 years, he couldn’t look me in the eyes and tell me “Maria, I decided not to keep you as an employee for the such and such companies”. In the dark until the end. So, after many sleepless nights, I made the decision, for my own piece of mind and well-being, that I would be resigning. Having to resign from a company that I truly enjoyed working for and a company that allowed me to give my family a better life was a difficult decision to make as I was not sure how this decision would impact my family’s livelihood. But such is life. I know that some of you may not agree with my decision to resign, but I was not about to spend the next year or so side by side with both my deceitful boss and the one who took my job. No freaking way! This amazing individual who I called my Boss for the last thirty years was no longer amazing to me.
“One bad deed can erase a multitude of good ones”
He accepted my resignation, which I only turned in out of courtesy and documentation as I could have cared less whether he accepted it or not, at this point I wanted nothing to do with neither one of them. My last day was to be April 30th going to work was difficult as we were not speaking to each other, so on April 22nd I emailed him asking if he needed me to finish out the month and check out his reply below :
“The last weeks have been uncomfortable for both of us and it may be
Less stressful if I just have whoever needs assistance or information call you.
Although merging with the new company is a huge change, I wanted to make sure
Everyone had continued employment and opportunity. I’m sorry you didn’t think
It was the right move for you.
I wish you the best”
After 30 years of friendship and a business relationship, all I got was a ” I wish you the best”.
Starting over at 50, yikes!
Losing my job meant that we will have to survive on my husband’s income alone and unfortunately, it would not be enough to pay all of our financial obligations, we had 3 car payments, a home that we had just moved to based on our combined incomes, etc. Unemployment was a joke, I qualified for $255.00 which is the maximum. I became an Uber driver to supplement our income but I wasn’t good at it, driving strangers was scary. I knew that I needed to get back in the job market so…..
I found myself having to draft resumes for the first time in thirty years. With the help of my husband, I tailored a very nice resume, with my experience it was a long resume too. With the help of friends whom one happens to be a Life Coach Gloria , and family, I got myself ready for the first of many interviews. Friends are awesome!
I signed up to every job site there known to man, LINKEDIN, CAREER BUILDER, MONSTER, GLASSDOOR, ZIPRECRUITER, INDEED, you name it, I was on it. I applied to quite a few companies, and I got call backs for interviews.
A Nervous wreck
My first job interview was with American Airlines, it was a group interview with two interviewers. I was so nervous that when it was my turn to speak about myself, I got too emotional when I said ” HI, MY NAME IS MARIA AND THIS IS MY FIRST INTERVIEW IN 30 YEARS”, and started tearing up. Of course, they said, It is okay, don’t worry, we understand but I knew that I was probably not going to get a call back. But it was okay, I learned from that experience and would do better on my next interviews.
You are Hired
My second job interview was for an Administrative Assistant position with the Florida State Department; this time was in front of a panel of 3 interviewers. Although a little nervous, I was upfront and told them that “if I seemed nervous it is because this is my second interview in thirty years”. And they completely understood. I was called back for a second and third interview, I think the third one was to make me an offer but they wanted to make sure that I was aware of the very low pay that the position offered which I was not aware and ended up withdrawing my interest in the position. But knowing that I was about to get a job offer from the Florida Department of State was a great feeling. It meant that I was hireable.
Subsequently, I applied and received job offers that unfortunately, were 100% right for me. I had made a decision that the next time I find a job it would be with a company that offered me everything that I was looking for in a job. I wanted the complete package.
I am currently employed at second largest employer in South Florida and will soon be celebrating my one year anniversary .
In closing. I hope this post can help anyone who is going through something similar to my story. Don’t despair, the right job with the right company is waiting out there. We just have to do the leg work, get ourselves prepared and be confident that your qualities and skills are good enough. On the other hand, keep in mind that we are not indispensable to our employers; therefore, proceed with caution.