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I'm so hurt, angry, and scared

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Old 17th October 2002, 4:52 PM   #1
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I'm so hurt, angry, and scared

I just talked with my boss and I'm so upset.

A little history:

I am the sole support for my family so if I lose income we could lose everything.

I started this job Sept. 5, 2001 after the last company I worked for went out of business. Shortly after starting work my boss was called to active duty in Washington (after the terrorist attacks) He was gone a year and just returned a few weeks ago, so I never really had an opportunity to work with him.

During the past year, and as a direct result of the attacks, the business has been drying up. The company has had to lay off several people during the course of the year.

For the past 20 years I've worked in a cubicle (mid-management/administrative, only VP's got offices) and this job was a departure from what I had been doing, but in still in line with my training and experience and something that I think I'll enjoy and be good at. I automatically got four weeks/yr vacation, and paid medical for myself and my husband. My salary is higher than I had been making. AND I'm in my own office!

I was really looking forward to the fast-paced job that was described to me when I was hired a little over a year ago. Now I'm told that its going to change drastically including moving me to a tiny work area up front by the receptionist, who I am now going to back up because the Administrative Assistant who did do that is too busy. And she gets MY office so she can get her work done because there are so many interruptions and distractions up front.

Basically, without saying so, I feel like I've been severely demoted. I know there is nothing wrong with being a secretary - I did it for years when in college and nowadays a lot of companies require their clericle people to have 4-year degrees - but for ME it's a demotion. I may be materialistic or shallow, but an office is important to me now. If I go looking for a new job I won't expect one, but to have one and then be forced to move and to change my responsibilities so much really makes me angry and hurt.

I tried to say something and I did express that I didn't want to move, but the way things work here the squeaky wheel gets replaced - not oiled. There were 4 people in less than 2 years in my position, I'm the 5th. I did not know this when I was hired and I did ask at the interview why this position was vacant and if there was a lot of turnover. I don't remember exactly what they said, but I was satisfied with the answers at the time. Plus I trusted the headhunter I got the interview through. Now I'm so hurt - I just want to go and cry.

It's not like I was suddenly laid off -- I've been through that too many times to mention, so I know I should be glad that I'm still employed, but I feel like this is just the first nail in the coffin.

I'm scared and I need to vent a little. My husband just had major surgery and my disabled mom lives with us. We have zero in the savings now because of so many medical bills and any loss of income could cause a domino effect. We live paycheck to paycheck right now. Next month we make the last car payment, but that money now has to turn around and go into paying our homeowners association fees, then we have to start on the medical bills and the dental bill alone is $250 / month.

I'm sorry - I guess I just need to get it out. We are okay now and if the worst happens at least we have some time to begin preparing. I'm going to update my resume tonight and begin sending it out tomorrow. I'd rather have a job offer to turn down then be scrambling to find a place to live because we lost the house.
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Old 17th October 2002, 5:20 PM   #2
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keep the faith!

sounds like everything is hitting the fan at once, but don't let that get you down. Look at that what's happening at work as just a minor irritant that you are able to remedy. Losing an office is frustrating, but it might be possible to fix up your work area to where it's habitable (for you) for the time being. Who knows? Maybe there's someone who'd rather being in a location where they can watch the comings and goings of the office and decided to give up his/her office space (okay, maybe it's wishful thinking, buy hey, you never know).

Meanwhile, keep in mind that attitude is everything. If you decide that things are ten thousand percent sucky, guess what? Everything WILL be sucky. But if you tell yourself that you can work with what you've got and accentuate what's positive, you'll find that you can get by until something better comes along.

if you're providing backup relief for the receptionist, you might be able to glean job leads! you'd be amazed how much information people give out when they're calling a place. I work as a reporter for a small community newspaper and get A LOT of interesting information just by taking calls, talking to people who come in, even hanging out at the fax machine.
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Old 17th October 2002, 5:47 PM   #3
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Wink Thank you - I need all the cyber-support I can get

Thank you quankanne,

I know in my head that everything will be okay, it's just such a surprise and let down!

I work in Marketing so I do have some contacts for other job leads and buh-leeve me I'm following up. I have to get my resume updated tonight because a couple people have requested it already.

I don't want to switch jobs, but I'm darn well going to be as prepared as possible.

I only ended up here because I left a job that I had been at for a while because of personnel changes and restructuring (very similar to what is happening now) and I went looking for a job, found what I thought would be a better job, researched the company - it was as stable as any, quit my old job, took the new position and 3 months later the company went bust and I was unemployed! From July 25, 2001 to Sept. 4, 2001 I wasn't working and that little bit of time destroyed my finances. This was the best job I could find --closer to home, salaray is more than I was making at Job A, but less than the job I only had for 3 months, and great benefits.

It's a struggle and a heartbreak, but I'm sure going to get out there and push for a new position -- it's turned into an employers market though and salaries are way down from last year.

I need to get a better feel for how permanent this change is and/or if it truly is a precurser to a layoff. I hope I have some Southern Comfort at home! I need it today!
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Old 18th October 2002, 12:00 AM   #4
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I'm sorry to hear about this, and it sounds like you're making the best of the situation. I know that work environments often involve multiple layers of politics and personal agendas, so there may well have been no way you could have seen this coming, or have done anything to avert it.

I agree that it sounds like for all intents and purposes you've been demoted. I used to work in a corporate environment and I know how humiliating this change must be for you. And I certainly don't mean to insinuate that you brought this on yourself, but I have some food for thought. You said that when you were hired you were looking forward to a fast-paced job, a situation that hasn't come to pass. Perhaps I've misinterpreted what you meant by that, but it sounds to me like you're saying you've had a lot more down-time than you expected. Which, if business has been slow, isn't exactly your fault.

But somehow this administrative assistant has been inundated with work, to the point where her duties are being reduced and she's being moved into an environment more conducive to productivity, namely your old office. What I'm wondering is why you, her senior (even if not her boss), had too much free time on your hands while she was buried in work. If that was/is the case, I imagine that you're not looking too valuable right now to the higher-ups. And that may or may not be your fault. Have you tried to take on other repsonsibilities, even things that are "below" your job description? Did you ever try to help the over-burdened admin asst.? When times are tough people who pitch in to get the work done not only look helpful and nice, they also come across as proactive self-starters who have espirit d'corps -- what one would want to see in a middle manager. I'm just thinking that if you had taken on extra responsibilities of your own free will, you'd have been keeping busy and lessening others' loads. And that would have been apparent to the people who decided to move a secretary into your office.

I realize that I may be way off base here: you might well have been doing extra things to keep yourself busy, and/or the admin asst. really isn't all that busy but has extra clout for one reason or another, and/or any other number of reasons. I just offer this as food for thought.

Good luck. Hopefully you won't have to tolerate this change for long, one way or another.
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Old 18th October 2002, 1:13 PM   #5
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been there...

I've been in your exact position before...only thing was, my change of positions, changed my work schedule, and that's when I had to spend more time with my ex husband....and that's also why he became my ex husband. I was very hurt by the move, and the situtations surrounding it, and it has been very hard. The only thing to do is what I did....I've been demoted but I have an INCREDIBLE salary for what I'm doing. I'm so LUCKY that they thought I was good enough to keep me...bc so many people just get fired and no one tries to work with them. It's all about perspective. I've been there and I know what you mean though...
That's just what I think....

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.

"The Lorax" Dr. Seuss
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Old 29th October 2002, 5:03 PM   #6
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Thanks all,

I'm in my new "office space" and I am trying to grin and bear it. The reason(s) my job was slow was directly related to 9/11. My boss (the President of the company) is in the reserves. Right after 9/11/01 he was mobilized and went to DC for a year. I didn't have time to work with him or train or anything. The CEO tried to pick up the slack, but is not able to. Long story short - the CEO should never come to the office and should retire! He treats people terribly and is very condescending and did not bring in any new revenue this past year. I stuck it out with the belief that it would change when my boss came back. One reason I stayed busy is because I did a little of everything and was and am always ready to pitch in. I got a terrific review from the CEO and the others I have worked for. I actually did manage to bring in some new revenue this past year -- in spite of the CEO and the fact that I've never worked in this industry before.

I guess plain & simple, I got my feelings royally hurt. I have an appointment with my boss next week to discuss goal planning and such for my position. I initiated this and based on the outcome of the meeting I will make some new plans of my own. I know running to a new job doesn't mean that there will be no problems, but I have to prioritize the problems here and decide if I can live with it.

I HATE being at the front of the office. I have a big tree in front of my desk so that I can hide behind it a little. I'm just sick of the way people have talked about me being demoted and whispering and stuff. I talked to one of the company owners about it a little and said that if it continues, management will need to address this, maybe make an announcement in the staff meeting or something.

I hate this - I was really enthusiastic about the job when I first started, and again when my boss returned after a year. Now, I have updated my resume and am sending it out, but it's an employers market now and salaries are down. I'll keep searching tho, all while I'm trying to stick it out here.
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