Thank-You Clemons Incorporated

Dear Clemons Inc.,

Thank-you for 18 years of employment. We had some good times. You gave me a chance to use the programming skills I gleaned from my BA in Comp Sci at UW-Madison. You gave me meaningful projects and ample opportunity to work my way through your ranks. I was honored to be given the title of LAN Administrator for Corporate. It was the reason I moved down to Stoton. A town we’ve grown to cherish. Thank-you.

Thank-you so much Clemons for standing by me when my little girl had leukemia right after you gave me the role of LAN Administrator and how understanding you were during those three years or more. How you would trust me to get my job done with odd hours and working from home or from the hospital. Or how you just let me slide when I was exhausted from burning the candle at both ends while my daughter clung to her life. I’m so grateful to you for that.

But I guess, to be fair, I should really thank Nelly Industries, since they actually hired me. Who trusted me with ever increasing responsibilities and eventually hired me for that Corporate job. I thank Clemons because they are who “We” are now. They bought out Nelly about a decade ago, just a little while after my girl was done with her leukemia treatments. I guess, now that I think about it, Clemons got rid of all those people I was just thanking. Or most of them.

So maybe, thank-you Clemons, for not firing me when you bought Nelly Industries out, along with most of my co-workers and friends and taking a chance on me. It was okay that I was “reassigned” from my LAN Administration job I worked so hard for and that you made me a Desktop Technician again. That was an ok job and one of the many hats I’d been wearing as LAN Admin anyway. You were re-organizing. I understood.

Thanks for giving me the manager job eventually for the Data Center in Stoton and to oversee the computer rooms at all the plants around my state. I had been getting a little worried there. Since you removed the Novell Network I was trained in, my Certified Novell Engineer status that I’d worked over two years for wasn’t worth much to you any more. I appreciated your spending all that money making me a Certified Citrix Engineer, even though you never once let me near the Citrix Farm. It’s the thought that counts. It was ok that the job was going to be temporary because your overall goal was to remove as many people and equipment from the Data Centers you had outside of Southern Indiana, it was a great opportunity.

Thank-you Clemons for all the great reviews you gave me after you bought us out. It made it easier for me to not mind so much as person by person the people around me disappeared through no fault of their own. Some of those you let go were in the lower part of your discriminatory 10-80-10 policy that tags 10 percent of your work force as “poor performers” even when they are not. Someone had to be picked because of the policy. I understand. Even when that worker is a good worker and had many years of loyal service. Someone has to be in the bottom 10, right? You didn’t fire those people at least, just humiliated them with performance improvement processes and no raises. At least you never threw me down in the lower 10 percent, I was so happy to be “average” year after year.

Finally, thank-you for giving me seven months of my salary and the tears when you walked me out the door. It seemed just like what I needed to help my mother die at home as the pull of work and her dying was a strain. If I had not been let go I wouldn’t have been able to spend her last nine months caring for her. That was precious time. But maybe I have fate to thank for that? Or myself for knowing its importance?

I was surprised to be let go, since I did some of my best work that last year and did things like renegotiated something you wanted to pay $20,000 for and instead I got you a $2000 deal for the same services. But good thing you did, as I’d never want to give up my last nine months with my mom. I guess you were right that the economy is tough and would stay that way. Although, you never lost any money yet. I don’t suppose you were getting your best bang for your buck out of me anymore, like the others, I’d “rationalized” most of what I was overseeing. I had seen for several months that I was the last to be rationalized. It just stung a bit when it actually happened.

I understand, I guess. It does make me wonder sometimes though. I wonder if some portion of the billions you’ve made could have gone to the thousands of people you put on the streets? So we could all ride through this hard time together? I remember some speech where one of your managers you sent up from Tennessee said we needed to do that. Except, that was us taking a layoff so you could get by. Maybe that was a one-way offer?

So now, I guess I need to re-work my thank-you. Thank-you Nelly Industries for the career you gave me. The love you showed me. The support that went beyond lip service and false ideals written down on plastic cards to carry around. And how you were there for me for my first nine years at Clemons.

So now, I sit eleven months from the day I was escorted out the door. I look in the face things like not having insurance. I thought I was going to get some Cobra but back in September our hospital said we had no insurance when my daughter went to her checkup. The hospital admins were not impressed about what we would have back dated, eventually. I explained how I tried to have all my forms filled out but the Cobra group has 60 days to get me info after my "triggering event" and they don’t feel rushed to hurry me along.

And sure, I do have Cobra now, thanks. Except, we were afraid to go to the doctor because the doctors told us we did not have insurance. They weren’t thrilled by the help me now and they can resend the rejected bills back in 60 days once the red tape is worked out. It sucked to find out that most of $400/mo subsidy Obama got us was trapped in 7 months of severance and that when I finally did get acknowledgement we were “IN”, I was going to have to pay $2000 for a benefit I was afraid to use. The $400/mo ended in November, so when I was notified I was told to expect $1150/month from now on. Until it runs out in June that is.

So now, my daughter is struggling. Because she had leukemia and I have to pay $1150/month and I might have no insurance in a few months (even expensive insurance) which after going through leukemia scares the wits out of my family. She’s healthy, no leukemia… no reason to think it would ever come back. Unless you’re one of today’s insurance companies. They hold it against us. So now my daughter takes that on because she understands the term “pre-existing conditions” and for today’s insurance, to her, pre-existing means her fault for getting leukemia. We tell her this isn’t true but she sees the insurance claims people in the background shaking their heads that we are lying to her.

So I’m scrambling to find better, longer lasting insurance that I can afford since that job isn’t coming so far. Luckily, I can burn life savings for awhile yet until I do land a job. I will never see the salary I had again in IT after working exclusively with all your homegrown apps and legacy equipment. The lack of insurance right now is our biggest concern. This country doesn’t believe in giving all its people insurance nor to give it at all to people like us. Brave warrior people like us, who have kicked cancer in the ass, as my girl did. She is fifteen now and she was two when that demon started devouring her. So the reason we want insurance is the same reason we can’t get it. I guess, eighteen years of service doesn’t grant you the right to affordable insurance until you find your next job.

But I’m glad I’m out. I’m glad I don’t work for a company that exploits third world countries and demeans its people with horrible practices and policies like 10-80-10, or “Data Center Rationalizations”. I don’t have to read a list of qualities they want to see on these little plastic cards they hand out while the only thing that should be on that card is “Toe The Line (or else)”. I don’t have to watch good people be picked off after 10 or 20 or 30 years of loyal service. Or go back to towns like Lake Mills that you turned your back on. I can look myself in the mirror. I’d told myself for so long things to make me feel better about my still being a part of the club while so many others were not. It took being kicked out to see some of that.

So thanks for letting me go. I’m scared as hell but I’ve never been happier. I have my integrity back. I can look at myself in the mirror and admire what I see again. Even as an unemployed bum. I will never give my soul away again. I will see that coming next time because of this. And I will survive with my head up. I will thrive. Driven by the negative lessons of the last few years there. And the reclaiming of who I once was that I’ve done since you let me go. If I had stayed there, I could expect only more of the same. To lose more of my soul. I can look myself in the mirror these days. That is worth more than a job.

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Comments 2 comments

bballbeadle 6 years ago

Think of how many people are/were in the quandary you were in, needing a job/health care and therefore staying with a company or department that has no integrity. That's how Art feels about where he works. That's why Art is depressed. But he makes a fine living. (sigh)

Why does it so often seem like this is the paradigm: soul suck/earn dough or integrity/starve?


auntpammy 6 years ago

The movie "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" seems relevant....

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