Company Pier

I was working at SANYO (where I made so many good friends, like Ms. M) when I went through my divorce. To this day I am so grateful to my boss for her support. For a couple months I was pretty useless. Before this went down, putting away all the paperwork was not my biggest priority, so during this rough patch I was essentially a highly paid file clerk. It was mindless and needed to get done.

It was pretty obvious to everyone that I wasn’t my normal cheerful self, and people found out about the change in my marital status. Being in HR, I knew of the dangers of office romance, so I let people know that I was not going to fish off the company pier.

No fishing

About two months before I ended up leaving SANYO for my British adventure, there was a layoff. At the time it felt like they had looked at the list of people who were my friends in the company, pulled half their names out of a hat, and then called me in to help break the news. Since I was involved in creating the selection criteria, I knew that only the last part (me being in the meeting) was true, but it still didn’t make it any easier.

All Human Resources best practice says that people in the field should be friendly with all the employees but never become friends with anyone. I intentionally didn’t follow that rule because that was not a tolerable workplace environment for me, and I ended up paying the price for that bit of rebellion.

Fortunately, my friends knew it was my job, and they didn’t hold it against me, even though they all realized that I had known before we stepped into the conference room that day and didn’t give them any warning it was going to happen.

On the way out with his box, one of my friends stopped by my office while the Vice President was there. My friend said, “Since I’m not an employee any more, I’d like to take you out on a date.”

The VP shook his hand for his bravado, and I agreed, thankful to have a laugh on an otherwise abysmal day.

Have you ever had to fire someone? or Have you ever had a friend who was hurting do something to cheer YOU up?

6 thoughts on “Company Pier”

    1. This is one reason (among many) why I left the HR field. It was way too hard to fire so many people during layoffs and plant shut downs.

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  1. Wow, that would be so tough to do. What a stressful situation that would have been. I’m glad that your friends knew it was a part of your job. Some people might have taken it personally.

    I’ve never been in a situation quite like that. But there was a time when I was a manager at a grocery store where I had to send an employee home early. We’d been having trouble getting her to work well and one day she went out to her car for a short break even though she shouldn’t have. So I went out to her car and told her to punch out and go home. It was tough. Fortunately for me, we weren’t friends. That would have made it even harder.

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    1. Steve, it is much different if you are friends with the person, but you are right, it is ALWAYS hard to discipline an employee or to fire one. The stress of that type of work was more than I was cut out for, which is why I left.

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  2. Ugh, that sounds terrible. Thankfully your friends didn’t hold it against you.

    I never had to fire anyone, nor have I ever been fired, but ending a position where you spend most of your awake time is hard on everyone.

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    1. Ugh is right. It was hard on everyone. I’m so grateful that my friends understood. There might have been some hurt feelings, but they were great about not showing it.

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