Thursday, May 22, 2008

unemployment, day 2

Thanks for the positive feedback. I need it. This really, really sucks.

I spoke to someone from the corporation on Tuesday afternoon. I had known this project had a lot of fits and starts, and I had been trying to navigate often murky waters. When I told this person what had happened, the silence lasted a solid 5 seconds. Then he said, Geez, I am sorry. I've seen this program chew up and spit out a lot of people over the past few years, and you are by far the most innocent person to be caught in it.

So that makes me feel both good and bad. I'm convinced I was caught up in a situation where I could not possibly succeed. I'm upset I didn't see that. I'm smarter than to have been blindsided like this.

I have a lawyer friend who has followed this saga from the beginning. She's outraged on my behalf. According to my contract, I'm entitled to 30 days severance once I receive written notice. Of course, no written notice. I'm supposed to be packing everything up to be shipped to their lawyer on Friday. When he calls me tomorrow, I'm not going to give it to him until we resolve a separation agreement, he provides me with a letter explaining my temporary employment, and we resolve severance. My lawyer friend thinks I should demand 4-6 months severance. I've only been doing this since January, but my friend's argument is I was induced to leave a stable, secure job, and they acted in bad faith and never had any intention of continuing with me. She thinks I can make a decent enough case that they need to pay me to go away. She said, look, you're a nice person, but they're banking on that plus the natural tendency of fired people to slink away quietly. So don't give in to their bullying.

At a minimum, I need to demand the 30 days, but I am thinking about making more of a stink. I don't know if I could hire my friend to be my lawyer (she's quite expensive and with a large firm), but it is nice to have someone outraged on my behalf.

Despite my embarrassment, I'm really trying to hold onto the reality that this is more about them than it is about me.

On the flip side, I coincidentally was having dinner Tuesday night with another good friend who works for a small foundation. They've been trying to hire an executive director for their sister foundation for quite a while, and not having much luck. She's been asking me to apply, knowing my job had ups and downs. But it's not in my field - sure, it's non-profit, but it's like asking someone who specializes in AIDs education with at-risk populations to work on decreasing carbon footprints by planting trees in local parks with pre-schoolers. Different worlds within the large do-gooder world. Anyway, they really need to get moving while still searching for the perfect executive director, and she said the Board had just been discussing hiring an interim person. It really might be perfect - a 4-6 month position, doing what I was just doing for 4 months, would at a minimum not make my resume look too wonky - I could pitch myself as a (warning - non-profit buzz speak ahead) "change agent" who helped establish and launch new ventures. So I said I was interested, she pitched it to her boss yesterday, and I have an interview tomorrow! Thank god for good friends. And, even if it doesn't pan out, it forced me to update my resume, and gets me interview practice talking about my skill set.

Back to the bad side, I realized yesterday that way this all unfolded means I have to be the person who calls everyone - the bank, the payroll company, the designer, the various consultants - and tell them it's all off. I made one call yesterday, and need to call more, but not entirely motivated, you know? Seriously, I am being treated incredibly badly by this deal and it does make me angry.

So today I am playing hooky. Heading out to a (nice!) thrift store to check out bargains, including looking for an interview suit that will fit and yet won't break the bank. Going to the garden center and getting some showy flowers to plant in the garden. And just chilling out. Screw wrapping up the job. Not today.


Tash said...

I'm with your lawyer friend: push. You might be surprised. (Or not. Sometimes companies are assholes like that.) I'd push for a bit of health care coverage too if I were you, that's the slam here.

And I'm sorry, why is it up to you to make those calls? I'd cease and desist until they give you something you're happy with. Otherwise I'd take off now for a long lunch and a mental margarita.

Not your problem.

Hang in there, this actually may be for the best in the long run. Certainly is sounding that way from the outside.

Lisse said...

It's good that you are getting angry.

Push back, girl!