Friday, February 26, 2010

Just in Case You Were Wondering What Happened....

The Hatchet Day 2-2-2010

The manufacturing sector accounted for 34 percent of all mass layoff events and
38 percent of initial claims filed in January 2010. A year earlier, manufac-
turing made up 38 percent of events and 44 percent of initial claims. Within
manufacturing, the number of claimants in January was greatest in transporta-
tion equipment, followed by food, fabricated metal products, and machinery.
Eighteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases
in initial claims, led by transportation equipment
That was the from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, now this is how all that impacted my Life.
February 2nd 2010- I do have to say that this was one of the most traumatic events in my life that changed it forever. It also opened my eyes to how cruel people can really be. You think you know people and then you find out you don't.
I have worked in a poultry plant for the past 11+ years. Now don't get me wrong, when I was in school I didn't sit around in class all day and dream of processing chickens. Actually I sat in class and dreamed of being in law enforcement , or criminal justice, but as you all know things don't turn out like you think they will in your life.
In Oct, of 1998, I started work at the local poultry processing plant as a product wash person, what that means is I would wash off the product when it hit the floor with chlorinated water so it could be safe to be consumed. I did that for about 6 months and was lucky enough to move into a line lead position. I set my goal on management , because that is what I wanted to be.In 6 months after being a lead, I was promoted to a management position. The work was hard , the environment was very cold , and the stress level was very high. As a manager it was hard to get people to work and to buy into the ideal that they could cut chicken at a fast pace and do this for a living. Most did not last a month, and many would never come back after the first day. As the years passed, though the plant did start to keep people and improve on its processes. I like to think that I had a role in the success of the company. I worked 9 to 10 hour days, and Saturdays when required or asked. Our plant went from being one of the least productive in 1998 to one of the top in 2009. We went through many changes to reach this goal, changes in equipment, changes in processing procedures and at times changes in Management.
I loved my job and if I had a complaint , I never voiced it to anyone other than my family or close friends. I am a firm believer in being a role model at work and outside of work also. I have a hard time when I see managers in a key position, doing things outside of work that make them look so unprofessional. I think you have to maintain your image both in and out or people will not respect you. If I were out in the community and people were bad mouthing the plant or the minority of people that were employed there , I would defend both my plant and my fellow employees. I often would miss many events that my children were involved in to be at work, because I valued my job.There were some years that I did miss quite more work than I wanted, but it was due to people that I loved having terminal cancer and I was a primary caretaker. I always did my job by the book and tried very hard not to show favoritism. I always said I would write up my mother if she worked there and broke a rule. She would be no different than anyone else while at work and I really would . Many did not like me and said I was mean, and there were many that did like me because I was strictly by the book. That way they were never left wondering what would happen. They knew that if they broke a rule or missed to many days , they would suffer consequences . If you are a good Manager and do your job, people are not going to like you, but you have to know that you are not there to make friends, you are there to run a business a certain way so the business can be successful.
On the week before Feb. 2nd, we were sent a email that all salary and class one employees would have a meeting and everyone had to attend. That would be approx 135 people that would have to cram into a room that seated 35 or so. No one knew what the meeting was about, but we had ideas that it might be to tell us no more bonuses, or insurance changes or something. We all knew that the company had been under heavy pressure to cut cost and be more competitive.
Tuesday Feb. 2 rolled around , I got up out of bed and put on my favorite "life is good" shirt. I have several because I love them. I guess I think if I wear them , my life will be good ...boy was I ever Wrong about THAT. When I arrived at work they told us to meet in the office at 12:25 to see where we would go. They said we would be broke up into groups because we all could not fit in one room. I was in my designated area on time, but noticed that I was the only person on my shift in that area. All the others were from night shift. My shift mgr, looked at us and said I need Lana , and called 4 other names to go to the admin conference room for the first meeting. He told every one else just to sit tight. Me and the others headed out to the room where the meeting was to be held. When we got there , several people were already in there. All the senior staff members were in there also. I still just thought I was going to a regular meeting. Our CEO came in and took the stand. He talked about how far the plant has come in years and how it has made several cut backs to be more competitive. He then said he got word from higher up that more cut backs had to be made to be competitive. He looked at all of us at the table, which was 20 people and said that they were going to cut 20 salary and class 1 jobs , and we were the 20. As of right now you are no longer employed with this company. You can leave your badge on the table and your senior staff will escort you to your office, where you can get your things, or you can come back and get them at another time. He said you are no longer able to log on to your computer . If you have something on there you need , I.T. will retrieve it for you .
I really could not tell you much more about that meeting, I was in total shock as well as everyone else in the room. I could not believe what I had just heard. I could only think of what will I do now? What will I tell my family? I can't believe what I just heard. All the years of hard work and time I had put in for them , and I get this??
My senior staff member escorted me to my office and I started removing my things. I was so hurt, I was crying, as I cleaned out all my memories of the past 11 years. I spent more time at work than I did with my family. I considered my fellow managers as my family. It was not uncommon for us to tell each other "I love you" , when we would leave in the afternoons. I had been with my co-workers through deaths, marriages, divorces, and many other life crises. Now I just had to walk away from all that and that chapter in my life. The tears fell as I removed the memories from by desk and threw them boxes, those boxes are still in the back of my van, I have never brought them in the house, I just keep dreaming that maybe they see they made a mistake, and want me to come back, back to the only thing I knew how to do for the past 11 years, back to my friends I love and have loved for 11 years, back to the job that I loved and had defended for 11 years,, but that call has never came. I now am living a life of memories and loss. I feel like I don't have a place anywhere, I cry all the time, I am crying as I write this. The best way I can describe it is like a death in the family. You have this big empty space inside, and you don't know what to do , It is like something is missing from your life daily , and you cant fix it. You don't want to go out in public, because you think people are staring at you . You know they have heard about you being fired and even though it was due to cut-backs, they still think you had to do something wrong. I kinda feel that way about myself. I wonder what I did wrong, why did they pick me? These questions haunt me daily, and I struggle to find answers. While my senior staff member was escorting me out, I asked "why me?" All he would say is management cutbacks.
So thats my story. I think it was a cold way to fire someone. I think they should have just lined us up against the wall and shot us. That is what I felt like happened anyway. I feel dead. I feel mad. I feel betrayed and lied too. I feel hurt, and I just ask why? I think they could have pulled us in one by one and not had a mass firing. So whatever you have heard on the street about me , and I know you have heard lots, this is what happened. This is how STATISTICS changed my life and made me a statistic, a statistic I did not want to be!

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