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Love Poems and Sad Stories - Your Job Has Been Eliminated!

Updated on December 10, 2012

Your Job Has Been Eliminated

Office Worker
Office Worker

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The following short story is taken from the book "Love Poems and Sad Stories " by rjsadowski.

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Your Job Has Been Eliminated!

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He sat there in disbelief – too shocked to say anything and too proud to cry. Standing next to him at his desk was a co-worker from another department with several cardboard boxes.

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"They want to see you in the conference room at the end of the hall", the co-worker said. "When you return, I will be waiting here while you pack your things. Then I will help you carry them out to your car. Please shut down your computer now."

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Slowly, he got up from his chair and started walking toward the conference room. He knew only too well what was coming next. He was about to be let go after 37 years with the company, but how could this be happening? Only yesterday, his supervisor had reassured everyone that the cuts were finally over.

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The layoffs had been happening for nearly three weeks and the pattern was always the same. Someone would appear at your desk and he would watch while you packed your things. Then he would escort you to your car and make certain that you didn’t steal anything. He would also stand there while you shut down your computer to check that you didn’t erase anything either.

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What would he tell his wife? At lunchtime he had called her and told her that they were safe now - the last of the cuts were finally over. For weeks she had been worried sick that he would lose his job. The company where he worked was losing money and they needed to reduce costs. They both knew that he was a likely candidate because he had just turned 65 and he was at the top of his salary range.

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The problem was that he could not afford to retire. Four years earlier, they had adopted a nine-year old Russian orphan and they had had to refinance their mortgage to pay for the adoption expenses. Besides, where were they going to get the money to send her to college now?

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When he opened the door to the conference room, he saw his manager and a representative from the Human Resources department seated at the conference table. His manager explained that the company needed to cut costs and that his job was being eliminated. The manager then asked for his company identification card, which also gave employees access to the building. Finally, his manager turned him over to the Human Resources representative and left the room.

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The HR representative had then begun explaining his severance package. He was given a folder, which detailed the health and life insurance that he would continue to receive under his retirement plan. He was also informed that he was entitled to a company paid retraining program that would show him how to write a resume and how to look for work if he so desired. Finally he was given a paper to sign saying that he would not sue the company for discrimination and that he could never work for them again.

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It was then clearly explained to him that if he signed the agreement, he would get one full year of severance pay and if he didn’t sign it he would only get three months. He thought it over briefly and then signed the agreement – they needed the money.

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Without a job for the first time in 42 years, the not so young man began to do contract work since he knew that no one would hire him full time at his age.

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The first job took six months to find and only lasted six months at a much lower rate of pay. It got progressively worse each time with shorter periods of employment and progressively lower wages.

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After four years, his savings were nearly exhausted and the prospect of finding work in economically depressed Michigan was bleak. His house was highly mortgaged and its value had dropped more than sixty thousand dollars in the previous three years.

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When they first got married, he had promised his wife that when he retired, they would move back to Milwaukee, where all of her friends and family still lived. They couldn't afford to keep the house, they couldn't sell it and they only had enough savings left to make one move. The story of what happened next appears in "Forclosure".

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Comments

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    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      This story is true. Right now in these economic times any job is a good one. You can't blame unemployment on Obama. I lost my job two years before he took office under a Republican administration when corporations were trying to increase their profits by laying people off instead of by running their businesses better.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      True story isn't it? I just have to be thankful for my present job such as it is... but Perhaps there is something new on the horizon..

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. It was particularly bad for me. I had just been assured in the morning that the cuts were over so I told my wife at lunch time that we were safe. Three hours later, I had to call her and tell her that after 37 years I was out of a job. My wife and daughter took it pretty hard.

    • DrJez profile image

      DrJez 

      6 years ago from Narara NSW Australia

      The nightmare of the office worker. Unfortunately I've been there as well! Well written!

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. This actually happened to me seven years ago

    • Auntie D profile image

      Auntie D 

      6 years ago from California

      You have written a good story with an unfortunate ending that has been happening to so many lately. It is so sad that large companies are so beholden to their corporate stockholders they will do anything to fatten the stockholders earnings without considering how this affects all employees. They care not about the dismissed employee and how he and his family will survive. It's disgraceful!

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      I know the feeling.

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