It has been a crazy week.
A few weeks ago I posted this, about being informed of a sudden drastic salary cut at my job. This past Sunday night I called my boss to ask her a quick question about a meeting on Monday. She told me that she had been in conversations with our agency’s board all weekend and they had decided that they needed to lay off almost all of the staff (including me) as of Monday. I was 34 1/2 weeks pregnant.
On Monday, my boss asked me to come in to meet with her. She had come up with the beginnings of a plan that would get me at least some income, and would tide me over as an employee until the point where short term disability would kick in. It would also allow me to continue on the agency’s health insurance at least through December. I would continue to see my clients and do a few hours of training and supervision, but would no longer do the administrative work that I had been doing. We hammered out some more details, and she said she would present it to the agency’s board.
On Wednesday and Thursday I went in to see clients and to provide supervision to the two remaining staff people (one of whom is an intern and the other of whom started at the agency a month ago). Both of the employees were understandably anxious. They mentioned hearing that the other staff who were laid off had been informed of the cuts over email, on Sunday night. They are doing their best to keep things together, but are confused about what happened, frustrated about having so little information, and concerned about their own job security.
It didn’t help that I couldn’t even give them a definite answer about whether or not I would be continuing at the agency, because I still had not heard back from the board. My boss said on Thursday that she hoped to have a definite answer by the end of the day, but when I went to bed Thursday night I still hadn’t heard. My boss finally called on Friday morning and said that the board had approved the plan we had come up with.
It’s a slightly better plan than being laid off completely. Assuming most of my clients come in, I’ll make a little more than I would on unemployment. And I’ll get a chance to wrap things up with them. Not getting a chance to say goodbye to my clients was one of the hardest things when I thought I was being laid off completely. I’ve known several of these kids and families for more two years, and one of them was a client at my old job so I’ve worked with her off and on for seven years. They all know that my maternity leave is coming up, but they and I have assumed we’d have several more weeks to work together and prepare. And we have all assumed that I’d be coming back after my leave. My boss has suggested that things may change for the organization over the next few months and so I might be able to come back, but at this point I don’t want to. I have really enjoyed a lot of things about the agency, but these recent cuts (and particularly the way they were handled) mean that I don’t feel comfortable returning. But I haven’t told my boss that, which makes it trickier to tell my clients.
This really sucks. The timing is crappy–though I guess if it had happened a few months ago it might have been worse? I can’t believe how little notice we were given. It seems unlikely that my boss woke up on Sunday and suddenly realized that we had no more money–so why had no one told the staff that this was a possibility?? It’s also ridiculous to me that she or the board would assume it would be okay for me to just suddenly not show up to meet with clients. Were they imagining I would send everyone a letter–“by the way, I don’t work here anymore. Good luck with those issues we were working on.”?? I can’t believe that employees were laid off via email on a Sunday night. And I’m angry that we received no severance pay, no pay-out of vacation time, etc. I have been so careful all year to save up my vacation and sick time so that I could use it during my maternity leave, and now am told that it is just gone. Instead, I will bring in a little income between now and when the baby comes. For the two weeks after giving birth I won’t have any income. And then I’ll go on short-term disability (a percentage of my old salary) for four weeks or so. After that I will probably have to file for unemployment and we’ll manage on that until I find a new job.
I’m trying to notice some positive things in the midst of this crappy situation. It’s not such a bad thing for me to have some extra time to do things to get ready for the baby. I have two appointments scheduled for next week to get inexpensive things done on Roo’s and my cars. I don’t have to worry about missing work time for my weekly midwife appointments. I can spend some extra one-on-one time with Tadpole before his world changes completely.
And we have felt very supported by our various communities. On Sunday night, Roo and I sent out emails about the situation, and I posted on facebook about it. Numerous folks passed along job leads and networking possibilities, and these have already led to a couple of possible kinds of part-time work that I could do for the next few weeks. My sister-in-law called to offer to provide babysitting for Sprout while I go on interviews during my maternity leave. Roo’s parents and my parents have offered to help us out financially. Many folks said they would think about us/pray for us/hold us in The Light. Lots of our friends and family have been outraged on our behalf. All of that feels good.
But it still really sucks to suddenly and unexpectedly have much less money coming in and much more uncertainty a month before our baby is due.