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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I had so much fun flexing my creative side last week for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop that I thought I'd give it another go. Let's be honest, I also loved all the feedback! :)

This week, I'm tackling Prompt #1: Write about a time when you laughed at an inappropriate time.

From 2002 - 2005 I worked at a small boutique direct mail advertising agency for which I had a love/hate relationship. No other job has taken so much out of me, aside from being a mother.

As soon as I entered the office doors, I immediately fell under the spell and was captivated by the idea of "agency life", along with the uber chic offices with ultra cool furniture, young, hip, energetic, like-minded staff and overall aura.

I soon learned that agency life wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It's very long hours with very little reward and no matter what, the client is always right and if the client wants to see changes to their piece and it's 6:00 on a Friday evening, you make them and you stayed until they were acceptable. In other words, working here meant zero social life and a lot of fast food.

For the first year and a half, this fast-paced, often chaotic life style was okay by me because I had just gotten divorced, so I was able to pour myself into my job and became a machine. I often worked 10+ hour days, felt like I had finally hot my stride and was excelling professionally, but by
my third year, I had grown disenchanted and the shiny offices started to lackluster, not to mention the micromanagement and annoying narcissism that was all around me. At this company, the sales team and their fierce leader ruled the roost and it was starting to get annoying.

I decided life would be better back on the client side, so I put my feelers out there and even had a couple of promising interviews. L
ow and behold, almost three and a half years to the day after I started, I was laid off along with 24 other employees.

I wasn't so much shocked that I was being laid off, but in the way in which it happened. All 25 of us were summoned to the conference room and told at the same time. It was like a study in human behavior and what people do upon hearing the words, "Today is your last day here".

I couldn't help myself, I started cracking up. Inappropriate? Yes! Justified? Definitely! Maybe it was my nerves, anger, hurt, or the utter ridiculousness
of it, but the whole thing seemed hilarious to me. One other girl, thankfully (or not) sitting across from me had the same reaction. We were in stitches and getting nothing but evil glares from the CEO as she, through tears informed us that this was "one of the hardest things she has ever had to do". What a bunch of BS!

Other people around the table were crying and some just got mad, red in the face and started asking a lot of questions. The room was a mess!

In the end, I am grateful for the time I spent at this company and learned a lot while I was there and even still consider a few of my old co-workers good friends, but I lost a lot of respect for the upper management that day. To say that I think the way they handled the lay off was poor is an understatement. For such a small company (at the time, there were only 100 employees), they should have taken the time to talk to each of us individually.

I was thankful for the severance package and accepted a killer new job exactly four days after the lay off and you better believe it was on the client side!

The best is yet to be.

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Blogger Amy Whitley said...

Wow, that sounds like a horrible day for all! I'd probably laugh hysterically too! (Found you via MamaKat's!)

June 3, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Great post and interesting for me to read about that day for you. I am sure you never told me how all that went down. I do remember you calling me telling me that you got laid off though. You laughed right there?! Wow! Not sure how I would have reacted...probably been one of the crying ones...: (

June 3, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Poppy said...

Way to roll with the punches and I respect your healthy attitude which is probably why you got a job so quickly! Awesome post.

June 3, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Ms. Understood said...

LOL. I think your response to the lay off was perfection!! The CEO probably rehearsed her crocodile tears 5 mins before the meeting and expected that get an Emmy for her performance, not laughter. Glad to hear you got a great job right after. Who doesn't need a four day vacation every now and again?

June 3, 2010 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Kisha said...

I completely understand your reaction, and think it was priceless! Could you imagine how pissed off that CEO was that you weren't drinking her kool-aid? Hilarious. And totally deserved-I can't believe they would think that is a proper way to deliver news like that-unreal!

June 3, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Yeah, that CEO...crying?? I can't even kinda sorta believe they were sincere tears!!

This was a great post Tonya, and I'm glad we both got out alive ;)

June 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger KLZ said...

Well, it is pretty damn ridiculous. How can you expect me to think this is hard for you when you don't have the decency to tell us one on one. Ridiculous.

June 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

the client is who calls the shots! i'm sure you're TONS happier now. :)

June 3, 2010 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

The CEO was crying because she wanted to be able to comfort everyone - and you laughers ruined it for her! Ack! Glad you got the last laugh!

June 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I worked for a law firm before I had kids and they were equally horrible. They had a mass layoff one day and I wasn't one of the ones that lost their job, but I was equally horrified at how they handled it. They sent out emails to everyone. Half of us got an email telling us to meet in the conference room downstairs and the other half got an email saying to meet in the conference room on our floor. None of us even realized that others were being asked to meet in different places, because the email said to report immediately. So, we went downstairs to the conference room and sat there for about fifteen minutes waiting for the partners to show up. We chatted and noticed people weren't there, but because of their different departments, we didn't think much of it. When the partners showed up, they said to look around us and note whomever was missing, because the ones missing were laid off and then they told us to go back to work. We headed back up the stairs and passed all the laid off employees walking out with their stuff in boxes and tears on their faces. It was humiliating for them and shocking for us. I'm glad you laughed... way to stick it to them! ( I found you from Mama Kat's)

June 3, 2010 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Lindsay @ Just My Blog said...

The best IS yet to be. Great story!

June 3, 2010 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Samantha Paxson said...

sooo glad I was at that table with you TW! Love that I know you from all that awfulness. Glad I was only there 5 months. Sammypoppins ;)

June 4, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

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