Last night, I watched helplessly as my favorite team in the NFL took a horrendous beatdown from start to finish. I couldn’t help but think of those guys feeling down on themselves and wished I could have said to them: “This one game doesn’t define you guys!! It’s just week 1 – there’s a lot of football left to play!! Dust yourselves off and get back at it!” This team has endured a media circus for the past year, and over time things like that will get in your head and cause you to doubt yourself, your teammates, your organization’s worth. The hype continued up to game time and its effect on the team showed in their performance. So how does this relate to my situation? Even though I’m not an NFL star, the same feelings of self-doubt and loathing can and will happen after being terminated from your job.
Arkansas is an “at-will employment” state. That means you can be dismissed from your job and no reason has to be given at all. From the employer side, this is helpful. From the employee side, this can be confusing, irritating, hurtful and frustrating – especially if the termination seemingly comes out of nowhere.
Mine didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but it was rather unexpected when it ultimately happened. Yes, I had been demoted, but the reasons given were not so much job related as they were just vague. “Not in the right seat” (one of their favorite phrases), “given your health and personal issues” (yes, most likely brought on by stress created there but anyway)…these were the reasons (ahem, excuses) given to move me out of my manager position and into a regular staffer position. No termination, no pay cut, just less stress for me.
Okay…so far easily followed right? Two weeks went by with me in this new position which included fun activities such as being dressed down by our salesperson while my manager sat and watched, and then naming my former employee as my successor (with much fanfare in a company-wide email mind you) without so much as giving me a heads-up, we’re about to show you exactly what we think of you with this move courtesy. Two weeks of putting up with this and even being a team player, I found myself on a Friday right before lunch unceremoniously dumped.
I immediately file for unemployment as I was the one carrying the health insurance for my family and I needed this money in order to afford other insurance. Surely I would only need it for a short amount of time. This was NOT so that I could lie around and eat bonbons all day while faking a job search! Side note: if you want to know what someone REALLY thinks about you, file for unemployment. I was accused of misconduct, falsifying work, acting against the employer’s best interest. I have never, ever been accused of such things in my life! Ever. The week I was let go I had secured a new client AND filled their skilled job order! Does that sound like someone falsifying work and acting against the employer’s best interest?
So now I’m at a crossroads. Do I let this go, do not appeal and let my former boss think she’s won? With this option, it feels like I’m agreeing with what she said about me by my silence and inaction. Or, do I stand my ground and appeal, knowing there is “more football to play”?