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.
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?