Sustaining Employability

When my job as human resource manager was eliminated in September of 2010, I felt a sense of gloom and doom for exactly two days. It happened on a Tuesday, one day after my six-year anniversary.

(At least they allowed me the mandatory six-year vesting period for my 401k.) By Thursday I was reminded of six years of morning prayers to be free of the job that caused me heart palpitations and migraines.

The entire management team was eliminated between July and the end of the year.  When I look back at what transpired, I realize the basic principles I was taught in business school were overlooked. Human capital was not an asset, thus, how could the business sustain?

The general manager used to say if we didn’t have to work or deal with customers, our jobs would be easy. The same rings true with human capital.  Looking back, a common thread my company seemed to have was they disposed of their assets too quickly.

If an employee needed help in a certain area, the answer was to terminate their employee. I always challenged the managers to invest in the employees.

After all, the employees were to provide a service for the company, right? Likewise, the company should provide a service to the employee by investing time into making them a more valuable asset.

Sharing is essential in business—big business. It is hard to assume not sharing what’s going on with business will foster a sense of well-being among employees. It is true you can’t share everything, however, keeping employees involved and in the loop on things, aid in the overall pulse of the organization.

Employees who know what’s going on are empowered, tend to work smarter, more efficiently and want to do a good job over all. In my case, morale was always low, thus making my job difficult.

As a result, before us managers met our ultimate demise, sales were dropping due to the failing US economy. Customer satisfaction ratings continually dropped during the last three years due to inconsistencies in product quality which I know were in part due to the incredibly high turnover rates we had.

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What’s an HR Manager to do when she’s the one laid off? Thankfully, my husband has a job, and unlike many Americans who find themselves in the same situation, we are able to make it on one income.

I reinvented myself. My first love is writing and that’s what I aspired to do while working. I moonlighted as a novelist—touring, speaking and writing inspirational novels while holding down my full time job. Once I cooled off after my position was “eliminated,” there’s a new HR Manager now, I dug deep and found some freelance writing gigs that helped to build my almost nonexistent writer’s resume.

I’m a novelist, not a journalist—although I have a college degree that would say otherwise. The last year has been interesting: I’m encouraged one day and discouraged the next.

How am I sustaining? I’m pushing through on the days when I’m discouraged. I search for writing jobs and have had a few that paid me a little. I reach back into my skill bag and offer resume writing services. I write articles on effective management policy, write company manuals, or whatever is trending.

During a time that seems tumultuous, the only thing to do is to stay encouraged. For me, it’s the right thing to do. If my position hadn’t been “eliminated,” I’d still be trying to help someone else achieve their dream—not my own.

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                                            About the Blogger                                               

Daphine Glenn Robinson

Daphine Glenn Robinson acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a minor is Sociology from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She worked in administrative positions at the Rock Hill Herald and the Charleston Post & Courier newspapers before going to graduate school to pursue a Master of Business Administration Degree.

Robinson worked as human resource manager for more than ten years where she was responsible for employee relations, safety, benefits, and worker’s compensation.