More Bad News...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I am glad the week is over. It was a bad one.

It is difficult to go back to work after having 11 days off. Towards the end of my vacation I really started embracing my laziness. :-) When things are rough at work, going back after a normal weekend is hard, going back after 11 days is torture.

I was struggling to play catch-up and try to keep a positive attitude about being back. I was doing all right with that facade until Wednesday morning.

Each morning in an attempt to be proactive, I go through my e-mails from home while I eat my usual breakfast of Kashi. On Wednesday, as usual, I was checking e-mails and sending responses and delegating tasks when I saw an urgent e-mail from my boss. The urgent e-mails that I typically get from him are usually intended for someone else to read with urgency, as I am typically just one of the "CC'd".

Not on Wednesday though. As I opened the e-mail and began to read, I felt emotion well up into my chest and throat. The e-mail was a forward from the executive staff stating that they were implementing a wage reduction. Not good news. Now I understand that this letter could have been worse. It could have said that the doors were going to close. It would not have been terribly surprising given the economic situation. But for me, a wage reduction really hits hard.

This news makes life difficult for me in a few ways. The first being the obvious one, which is, of course, that it puts a dent in my wallet. I have been working on a budget the last few days. A budget is something I should have done a long time ago. In addition, I am already working on a plan on what things are expendable should the need present itself. I hope it does not come down to that.

The other reason that this news makes my life difficult is the people I work with. I worry for some of them. I have been known as a bit of worrier. I partially worry about myself, and I always worry about others. It's just one of the things I do. I know I shouldn't worry for everyone else. Sometimes, like now though, I can't help it.

I am the H.R. contact in my location. People come to me with all kinds of problems and I try to help them resolve their issues. It could be a discrepancy with their vacation time, a need for more information about insurance benefits, or issues with fellow coworkers. I am sort of like the resident diplomat.

Any way, so I digested the news of a wage reduction along with my Kashi and headed into work. When I got there my boss wanted a meeting with myself and the other manager that was there at the time. The meeting was about the reduction and why it was happening and what we were going to do about it. In my head I was already preparing my speech as to how to break the news to my employees and other coworkers. When I asked when we were going to tell everyone, I was told that we were not telling anyone. Huh? Not telling?

We were informed that letters were being sent to every employee's home outlining the reduction and the need for it. I asked if we could tell them face-to-face, and I was told no. That irked me.

I was irked when I found out in an e-mail. How was everyone else going to feel when they found out in a letter? I don't like feeling like a sneak. I don't like hiding things from people especially when I know that it is going to impact them in a big way. I think face-to-face would have been a better delivery method for this type of news.

The news was not supposed to break until Wednesday night when people were getting home and checking their mailboxes. Of course, there were plenty of workers who work first shift and they got home to find their letters waiting for them. Employees started calling and employees spouse's began calling them and then they were calling us. It was a big cluster fu$k. Most of the employees that were still at work were getting the news second and third-hand so the whole thing got twisted around and rumors started to fly. I spent the majority of my Wednesday and Thursday dispelling rumors and trying to justify the reduction to everyone.

I know that we will all get through this somehow. We are not the only ones going through this struggle. If anything, we are the lucky ones. We still have jobs. For now. I just hope that we can all pull together and make things work. It is hard to keep morale up when people are constantly being pushed down. I just wish I knew how to make things better.

Trying to bring people up all the time is hard when you also feel defeated. One week back at work after a vacation and I am already exhausted. Boy, that didn't take long did it?


Linda S. Socha said...

This is so real and part of the current situation in business. I work with people in major stress and this is currently one of the stresses they are dealing with. Reduced wages or reduced hours and no recourse. They are also asked to be grateful, which I understand, for not actually losing their jobs.

You are on the front lines. I can never see the reasoning in handling things like this one with people you must continue having a working relationship with.. I have come to the conclusion that business have the issues some times that people have...all of us I guess at times. That is, often everyone will do what is easiest and most comfortable for them...or what they think would be.

The fact that you were willing to handle it so directly and not so impersonally tells me more about you and your personal character. Take care of yourself girl. These may be hard times. I am learning more about budgeting than I think I evey wanted to know!...Hopefully i can occassionally find a bit of humor...Good post. Well written and appreciated here. Sometimes you say things that make me smile and wish you were available for a cup of coffee!

~A~ said...

Hi Linda~

I suppose you are right about people handling things the way that is most comfortable for them. I wish that were not the case. The company that I work for used to be like a family. Not so much anymore.

Thank you for your kind words. I try to do my best to help the people I work with. It just gets frustrating and tiring at times. Especially in times like these.

If I am ever in your area or you in mine, we'll have to get that cup of java. :-)

Take care!


Anonymous said...

welcome to 2009 eh?

Sounds to me that even though this is a difficult situation (regarding both your wallet and your position at work) you were the right person for the job... a sensitive heart and a practical soul. Nice to hear of someone like that in HR - my recent experience of people in that department I'm afraid hasn't been a good one.....

hope things get a little easier for you A

~A~ said...

Hi Paul~

Welcome to 2009 is right. This whole thing is a little frustrating for the reasons I stated in my post, and because I am really trying to keep 2009 a positive year for myself. 2008 was hard enough.

Of course I am not going to scrap the whole year on the basis of this event, but we're starting off a little rocky. :-)

Thank you for your comments. It may sound silly, but even a few kind words such as yours and Linda's, make my efforts seem less fruitless.

That means a lot to me.


Anonymous said...

i think kindness, sadly is a rare thing these days...

Anonymous said...

you ok?