Job eliminations

Off-topic conversations and chit-chat.

38 posts Page 1 of 3
My job was eliminated yesterday, after 40.5 years.

I will get the maximum severance based on my years - so 52 additional weeks of pay - so I'd only be in reality missing a few months of pay until my planned retirement at 65, as that pay won't run out until in 2017. But the fact that the corporation - owned by Europeans since 2004 - didn't have the courtesy of letting me have the "dignity" of deciding my own retirement date - that's what really sucks. Wife commented that letting me just retire at age 65 would’ve meant like them getting almost 2 years work from me with very little added cost.

I knew something suspicious was up a few hours earlier when I got a meeting notice on Outlook from a Vice President not in my chain of command - my first E-mail ever from her - and the topic was that she "had something to share with me. Thanks.", so I was rightfully suspicious.

The VP turned me over to an HR person I didn't know (sharing the dirty work), and she wanted to discuss "outplacement services", and I informed her that very few 63+ folks are hired in the job market, and especially employers in my field are scarce in in Arizona, and I wasn't going to relocate for another year of work. I think it took them both by surprise because I wasn't too surprised: my age, their US R&D has shrunk for several years. Folks who leave are not being replaced, our travel budget is zero, appears all stuff will be run from Europe (of course, two high-ranking Europeans did come over to US to speak to us so far in 2016, but remember it is winter in Europe). I was likely the highest paid scientist too, even won their career achievement award a few years ago for scientific advances, pretty funny. I think that in itself will kill morale way more: ditching their top scientist months before retirement.

At least I'm financially better off than most of the other folks let go (a fair amount of that security from fixing stuff myself and driving "vintage" vehicles over the years); the HR person asked me if I "was OK" to walk back to my office by myself. I responded that I was NOT going to go postal or anything, and HR person responded that statement "was inappropriate". I stopped her and said: "no, the company is who is inappropriate, in the way they are treating me after the career I've had here".

I looked up age discrimination, seems that since 2009 unless someone has been hassled/treated badly by supervisors/others because of age or maybe directly replaced with someone younger, that Supreme Court decided that it was just a fact that older workers do get paid more, so age alone doesn’t qualify. And if I fight, that gives the company a tiny victory by having me "want" to stay with them. Co-worker and I have discussed a few times that if the Henkel offered a voluntary package that it would be time to listen (they've had three such planned voluntary retirements in the last 6 years, and reduced staff in addition if enough did not volunteer for that). Had our director or HR discuss that our department would have a staff reduction, and asked for volunteers to take the package, maybe I would've been heroic and accepted that to save someone else's job, but I wasn't even given that courtesy...

It turns out that 5 others from R&D had their jobs eliminated yesterday too, and of course 2015 profits WERE record highs too. But the company is very greedy. The Americans here are afraid to question anything, the Europeans want Europeans to run everything, feel that they’re better than Americans. This cut was about 8% of remaining R&D, doesn't count the 3 who left Laundry development and a high-level in the last month.

I'll stay on this site, so don't subtract my years from the running list of experiences!
Hi CPG

I sometimes wonder how big multinationals ever manage to turn a profit when they are manifestly run by the hard of understanding. I'll wager that it cost more to fire you than to let you stay until retirement, and that within a year they'll be hiring a consultant to do your job.

Stick around, at least we know a good analytical chemist when we see one !

Peter
Peter Apps
Hi CPG

I am really sorry to hear about your situation and treatment.

Very glad that you are staying around to share your valuable experience.

Kind regards

Ralph

Edit
Please contact me via Linkedin under Ralph Calvert to share some common thoughts/recollections
Regards

Ralph

www.itsjustabox.com
Two words: THAT SUCKS.

I doubt that I would handle the situation as calmly and gracefully as you have.

That said, looking at the "glass is half-full" side, this gives you a year's head start on whatever you had planned for retirement (hopefully that includes staying active here!). If you're planning on doing any consulting or temp contract work, you can definitely use me as a reference.
-- Tom Jupille
LC Resources / Separation Science Associates
tjupille@lcresources.com
+ 1 (925) 297-5374
I agree with Tom. THAT SUCKS! You have always offered exceptional advice to folks on these discussion boards when they were seeking. I can tell that you are an excellent chemist. I'm know for a fact that those who are left behind will miss you. We had it happen here a few years ago when a group came in and took over. We lost a bunch of 40 year guys when that happened. We still miss them in many ways. You just can't replace that kind of experience. I'm glad you'll be staying with us so that we can pick your brain about this junk. Hang in there and try to enjoy your retirement. There's more to life than work!
It's a shame that so many are so willing to deliver such shabby treatment to their most valuable resources. Glad you were well prepared. It's scary that so many (Americans in particular) are not so well prepared for things like this.

Best of luck, hope you are offered and cherry pick just enough consulting opportunities to afford you some interesting travel opportunities and keep the tools sharpened.
-DR
Thanks,
DR
Image
Ouch.
My dad was laid off after nearly 30 years at a company. Same kind of story, somebody (probably a Harvard MBA) gets the bright idea to get rid of all the highest paid people.

Wonder if that kind of practice will still be 'in vogue' in a few decades when I'm getting to that age. Hopefully there will be a study or something that shows how short-sighted and foolish it is... or maybe I'll just have to be prepared for it...
Sad to hear about the callous manner in which your employers chose to let you go. So many years of loyalty and productivity deserve so much better.

They say misery loves company – at least you’re not alone. I'd wager that many on this site can relay similar stories, me being one of them. A few years ago, after a decade of exemplary service at a University (at least that what each and every one of my performance evaluations stated), I was summarily let go along with five other senior, older employees. "Budget cuts, sorry", said the Chair.

Funny, but they re-hired for my exact position at a lower salary a year later (almost to the day).

I hope you get the last laugh by enjoying your early retirement, and remember that many of your colleagues are in your corner, and are as appalled at the poor treatment you received as are we all.
Guess what - I finally had a chance to go online and figure out the Pension Calculator, and then go onto the 401k website - and I have to cash in company stock - and I'll be making more $$$ per month than when I was working. This is a crazy world.
Good to hear :D
Regards

Ralph

www.itsjustabox.com
Peter Apps wrote:
Hi CPG

I sometimes wonder how big multinationals ever manage to turn a profit when they are manifestly run by the hard of understanding. I'll wager that it cost more to fire you than to let you stay until retirement, and that within a year they'll be hiring a consultant to do your job.

Stick around, at least we know a good analytical chemist when we see one !

Peter


OK, Peter, that is a classic, even for you! An excellent turn of phrase!

CPG, you have to take into consideration that had you stayed the additional two years, given the budget cuts, you probably would have been miserable. Plus, the bonus of making more for not going in to work makes it all the sweeter.

Stay involved - those of us still slaving need your insights.
Mark Krause
Laboratory Director
Krause Analytical
Austin, TX USA
mckrause wrote:
CPG, you have to take into consideration that had you stayed the additional two years, given the budget cuts, you probably would have been miserable. Plus, the bonus of making more for not going in to work makes it all the sweeter.


Nah - I really enjoyed my manager finding fault that my standard plots were not "exactly" linear, he always wanted to complicate things when the linearity far exceeded the capacities required for the assay results.

Stuff like that will not be missed; he apparently lacked the understanding that if a result was far outside the specification range, that one should not expect 100% accuracy, as the procedures were only validated like from 75 to 125% of target. The decade when I was in charge I felt we had a good understanding of the total business, and knew when it was time to move on to another waiting project.

Of course: where I worked EVERY project was #1 Priority, doubt that anyone here has experienced that !!! Ha !!!
Hi CPG

I am really glad that you appear to be making the most of your retirement and are continuing to make a contribution to the forum with your experience.

Agreed, we used to have a tick box on the request form for how urgent it was. Curiously (!) most people ticked "high" - particularly just before their annual performance review or when they were about to go on the annual holiday.

I used to plot the number of analytical requests throughout the year and found 2 peaks corresponding with the above :-)

My best example was a manager who insisted that I continue working through the night to get some "urgent" results. I did, then rang him at his home at 3 o'clock in the morning with the results :-) He wasn't a happy bunny haha

With regards to your earlier comment about a European company taking over a US company and shutting it down, if it of any consolation may I assure you that both I and my family have experienced exactly the same but the other way around. Being philosophical I guess that this is just the way of the modern world :-)

Kind regards

Ralph
Regards

Ralph

www.itsjustabox.com
"My best example was a manager who insisted that I continue working through the night to get some "urgent" results. I did, then rang him at his home at 3 o'clock in the morning with the results :-) He wasn't a happy bunny haha"

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant !

Peter
Peter Apps
GOM wrote:
Hi CPG

I am really glad that you appear to be making the most of your retirement and are continuing to make a contribution to the forum with your experience.

Agreed, we used to have a tick box on the request form for how urgent it was. Curiously (!) most people ticked "high" - particularly just before their annual performance review or when they were about to go on the annual holiday.

I used to plot the number of analytical requests throughout the year and found 2 peaks corresponding with the above :-)

My best example was a manager who insisted that I continue working through the night to get some "urgent" results. I did, then rang him at his home at 3 o'clock in the morning with the results :-) He wasn't a happy bunny haha

With regards to your earlier comment about a European company taking over a US company and shutting it down, if it of any consolation may I assure you that both I and my family have experienced exactly the same but the other way around. Being philosophical I guess that this is just the way of the modern world :-)

Kind regards

Ralph


I must give a compliment to a former manager I had, as once we had a customer ranting about how important it was to get results as soon as possible. We stayed late to finish the project, and the manager called the customer at his home phone after midnight to give him the results. The customer complained and said to call him at the office in the morning, the manager said "No, I kept my guys here all night, you need to write these down" :)
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
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