When the Employer Closes Up Shop Without An Exit Plan

FUTree1

Even the trees seem to whisper … oh, never mind

It’s official. My small law firm will be closing its doors at the end of July.

The two [very senior] name partners have decided to each go his own way – and without any regard for the staff.  The staff ranges in age from 45 to 67, and most have been with the firm for 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years.  I have been with them for 18-1/2 years.

Associates and secretaries were told several weeks ago to start looking for other jobs and that there will be no severance pay. Health insurance may or may not continue inasmuch as COBRA does not come into play when an employer disappears.

One attorney and a secretary found new jobs immediately (yay for them!); the rest are searching frantically.

Me?  Well, I’ve been blithely working in silence, content in the knowledge that my boss assured me he would take me along to his new office in the largest law firm in town.

Granted, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, as that firm has a reputation for being the worst place to work if you’re not an attorney, and I wasn’t looking forward to parking every day in a City ramp, nor was I happy that I would give up my beautiful office with the door and windows, to move into a cubicle farm.

But at least I wouldn’t be on the street, right?

So, I’ve been working diligently in order to keep in good standing – sure wouldn’t want to get fired before the transfer, right?

While waiting for the official engagement letter from the new firm, I decided to upgrade my wardrobe a bit since the new firm has a “dress code” that is definitely not in alignment with my current business casual (actually, more like grunge casual) duds.  While shopping, I found myself buying outfits that would also be appropriate for a job interview, just in case.

Just in case” turned out to be “damned good thing I did.”

Yesterday, my boss informed me that he probably won’t be able to take me because I “make too much money” (say what?  I haven’t had a raise in 10 years and can barely pay the mortgage!) and the new firm already has plenty of support staff (much less experience, but cheaply paid, and the bottom line rules).

Could I go to that new firm for a decreased salary? Sure, technically – but I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am, and if I’m going to take a decrease in pay, be forced to go back to full-time, be forced into a cubicle, and have to start paying into my health insurance (and maybe have to discontinue my Remicade treatments), it’s sure not going to be in the City.  Jobs in the suburbs pay just as well and have free parking.  And I would no longer have to tolerate my boss screaming at everyone every day – nor would I have to worry about transferring all those active files currently sitting in my office.

May the job hunting begin.  Does networking help?  I guess I’m going to find out.  Wish me luck.

(Meanwhile, if you hear of a job for a top-notch real estate paralegal who has closing and title experience, let me know. Or an office manager job.  Or a job that would incorporate my writing and/or photography.  Anyone want to start funding my travel posts?  That would be way cool.)

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com

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Image by Cordelia’s Mom

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84 Responses to When the Employer Closes Up Shop Without An Exit Plan

  1. garym6059 says:

    If my checking account wasn’t wearing a life jacket to stay afloat you could bet your ass I would fund you :). Good luck on the job hunt.

    Like

    • It’s the thought that counts, Gary. Lord knows, you’ve already done plenty to promote this blog, and I appreciate it.

      (BTW, you’d be surprised at how quickly loose change adds up once it’s wrapped and taken to the bank. Just sayin; …)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a sneaky trick. Hope you find work soonest. Do you have something like an ‘ employee search?’ Hubby says over here, there are job sites that allow you to upload your CV (resume) which are scanned by local recruiting firms or prospective employers. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul says:

    Oh CM,I am so so sorry. I hope you find the very best job that pays way more and makes it a joy to get out of bed everyday. Heads up though – don’t turn away boring jobs, you can always continue to look – meanwhile cash is king, you have bills to pay. I learned that lesson the hard way – it is far easier to get a job when you are already employed, at anything. Employers respect that.Good Luck. I expect to chat with you about your new job that you love when I come for a coffee this summer. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, I know all that, Paul. This isn’t my first rodeo, although I admit it’s been a long time since the last person told me I was making too much – at which point, I went out and found a job that paid more. Hopefully, I can do that again.

      Even if I change jobs, I’ll find a way to meet with you when you come in, but it may have to be on a weekend or early evening or something. We’ll work it out.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I sympathize with you entirely. I’ve been laid off twice. Both times my reentry into the workforce was through my network of past colleagues.

    In fact, looking back over my career, it seems most every good job I’ve had has been the result of someone in my network coming to me with a lead, a recommendation, or even offering to walk my resume’ in.

    Don’t be shy. Let everyone know what’s happened to you. I know I felt embarrassed, but your network can’t help you if they don’t know. Sure, go do all of the job search stuff on your own.

    I religiously went to Panera every day and job-searched and applied till lunch. Sometimes I’d pack up then; sometimes I bought lunch and stayed. BUT I TREATED IT LIKE A JOB; SHOW UP ON TIME, DO MY WORK, AND THEN LET IT GO. Job searching from home, for me, was the pits. Going to a regular place like going to work helped a LOT!

    Maybe the odds are that it’s your network that’ll produce results, but in the meantime, regular, purposeful activity will help your emotional well-being as well as possibly turning up something good.

    All my prayers!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dan Antion says:

    I hope you land somewhere better, soon. What a horrible way to treat people.

    Like

  6. That treatment sucks. I’m sure when you put on your interview duds and present yourself, you will do well. Makes for an interesting chapter in your tell all book, a comment you can soon toss to your ex boss. Best of luck, something good is coming your way. I like Jeffery’s advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sucks so big time I can hardly stand it. As a self employed person…um…panda, I know the pain of paying one’s own health insurance and both prtions of FICA taxes. I sometimes think, wah wah wah I don’t get a regular paycheck, but as you have just demonstrated, just because you have a “real” job and are good at it and have done it faithfully for multiple decades, it doesn’t mean they won’t throw you under the bus when it is convenient to them, with nary a thought for your welfare. No severance pay? That is unconscionable!
    A better job is waiting. Good for you being proactive and putting the word out.
    You boss is an ass. He probably kept you dangling so that you wouldn’t find a better job and quit before he was ready.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. socialbridge says:

    CM, so sorry to hear how horribly you’ve been treated. All the very best in your search.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So sorry you are in this position. Sadly, it happens all the time. I once worked for a man who fired the entire engineering division…about 40 of us, without notice, and with active government contracts. My husband ran out of work after 38 years with the same consulting group, after we had moved to accommodate them over decades, taking field assignments all over the U.S. No severance, no pension (had converted to 401 k years before), no allowance for insurance. He was a few years away from retirement age, medicare, etc.

    We survived it all. You will, too. You’d do well to call upon your many contacts, much better than going the job search alone. All the best, CM.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, sad to say too many people are going through this. My brother, who was Vice President of a company, lost his job a year or so ago. He was ok for awhile, but now his severance is running out. It’s tough for all of us.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Ah that totally stinks! Good luck with your job hunt but I am sure, with your qualifications, you will find something quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry to hear about this. Had a similar experience a while back. Sadly, many employers show little or no loyalty to loyal employees. Best of luck in the job search!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I lost a lot of money trusting the promises of bosses. Glad you had a personal exit strategy. Or something like one, anyhow. It sounds like the kind of job the didn’t exactly offer you that tingle of satisfaction and comfortable pay check anyhow. LinkedIn. It’s a pretty good job hunting tool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always share my posts to LinkedIn, although I admit my professional profile is lacking since I’ve wanted people to concentrate more on my writing than my day job in hopes someone would think I was so wonderful they’d offer me a writing job of some kind.

      I think I have enough contacts in the area to scrape something up, although I’ll likely have to take a cut in pay. That would just mean I couldn’t put any money into savings and might have to dip into the house-down-payment fund for awhile. I suppose I might even have to give up wine for awhile (heaven forbid). In any event, I’ll get through it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Archon's Den says:

      Now that I don’t need or want a job, I’m registered on LinkedIn. Not sure how good a job they do. Yesterday I got an offer for a Warehouse Manager’s position in Calgary. Woulda been a Hell of a commute. Same email offered me a local job as a dispatcher for Liberty Temp. Agency. 😯 😕 Best of luck to you.

      Like

      • I’m on LinkedIn mostly to promote this blog – in fact, I list my writing/photography first and my “real” job second. That probably will hurt me if any potential employees look me up on LinkedIn, but fortunately, the interviews I’m getting are with attorneys I already know and who aren’t particularly technologically savvy.

        PS: I’ll look you up. We can be LinkedIn buddies.

        Like

        • Um, there are like a million men with your same name on LinkedIn, many of them in Canada and more than one in your city. It might be easier if you linked to me instead – you know my real name, and I think there’s probably only one of me in my city and state. If you don’t want to, that’s OK. I know how to find you anyway.

          Like

        • Archon's Den says:

          I’m registered as ‘The Archon – Sage’. I searched for you and got six other women with the same name. How are you listed?

          Like

  13. Elyse says:

    Well that just sucks. So sorry to read this. I’m hoping you find something soon. Or win the lottery.

    Like

  14. joey says:

    Pretty hard to click Like on this post. Eff that ish! OMG! What a dreadful thing to do to someone who works for you!
    I’m not even kidding you, after reading a few of the posts you wrote about your job, I was fondly remembering my law firm days, and wondering if I could maybe get back into it. Call me a freak, but I love procedure. Well I did, about as soon as I thought that, such a job appeared. You must think these good thoughts yourself, that the right thing IS coming, AND you have the right clothes to wear for the interview, AND you’re going to get a raise, AND you’re going to have better insurance with LOWER premiums, and your Remicade will be covered. I’ve no doubt that with your experience, you’ll find something better. Networking is essential. Call some people. Say some stuff.
    I will be thinking all the good thoughts for you!
    But seriously, Eff that effer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’ll be satisfied with a job that simply covers my mortgage and insurance. If it has a little less stress than the current one (like, a boss who doesn’t scream), that would be a plus. Hopefully, it won’t take too long.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Karen J says:

        Caution, CM about putting fear- and doubt-based limits on what you Truly Want.
        When you ask the Universe for a hand, don’t add qualifiers!
        You want “a job that more than covers your life-expenses, with less stress.” Ask for that, and add “or something better”.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Karen J says:

      Oh, Joey!! ❤
      I wish there was a way to show me *jumping up an' down, waving gigantic LOVE THAT COMMENT flags in both hands!!!
      Yes, CM – what Joey said: "…think these good thoughts yourself, that the right thing IS coming, AND you have the right clothes to wear for the interview, AND you’re going to get a raise, AND you’re going to have better insurance with LOWER premiums, and your Remicade will be covered"!
      And don't add any “second arrows”* to that thought/belief!

      * Second Arrow = the phrase(s) that negate the positive of the sentence they follow. I.E: “…contacts in the area to scrape something up, although I’ll likely have to take a cut in pay.
      Ref: Arianne Benefit, from a fabulous class I took, 2011.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. 1jaded1 says:

    Good luck. That sucks.

    Like

  16. This is for your boss! (╬⓪益⓪) All the best in your job hunt, CM! Hugz, ʕ ⊃・ ◡ ・ ʔ⊃

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Karen J says:

    Hey, CM – remember how much we all ragged on Mr. V (your HS English teacher)?
    Our collective middle finger to your soon-to-be-ex-boss is of the same vehemence.

    Like

  18. That has to be hard, but I am loving your attitude! Stay strong and something will come along!

    I hate when people don’t follow through with their “promises!” Ugh!

    Like

  19. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Anyone looking for a “top-notch real estate paralegal??? Let Cordelia’s Mom know!
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You will get through this better off. All the best.

    Like

  21. Been through this, too. Especially the “you make too much money” part. And I saw the replacement – fine. You think that one can do anything close to what I did, good luck and you deserve what you get.
    You’ve got reputation, friends, and interviews ahead. Go get them. (And like you I found while you can’t take a huge pay cut – just not smart – there are tradeoffs if you don’t have to commute, have a better working environment – that stuff is worth plenty!)
    FYI. COBRA may still apply – it did when one of my companies vanished, but people dont’ realize how expensive COBRA is. Unafordable in some cases – we did better in private insurance.
    It’s a rough when bottom line is more important that hard working employees and loyalty – sadly that’s the reality now.
    But you will survive and end up in a better spot – even if you have to duck into a less desireable place until you can get what you want. Nothing wrong with that at all – just don’t give up and get stuck.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found out I can get onto my husband’s insurance – he works for a large company. I would have to pay some, but not as much as I would for COBRA, so that’s an option. And my networking is paying off – I have several interviews scheduled already. Looking good, hopefully!

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Diana says:

    Glad you shared your experience! I have yet to blog about my hunt for work which has spanded over 15 yrs. I’m talking about work that will pay the rent and offer a comfortable living for me and my animal family.
    Don’t want to discourage you but age is a HUGE factor in job hunting! Ageism is alive and well and no one is talking about it! That’s the bad news!
    The good news is that the job market seems to be strong. It is just within this year that I have seen it stronger then it has been since the economic crash of 2007 (technically it was downsliding before it was news, as far back as 2004-2005). There are plenty of jobs out there, but competition can be tough. But don’t let it get you down. And if it does, take a rest, then get back on the horse and go at it again! 🙂

    Yes, Yes, Yes, network your little hinny off! If you have a pool of influencers in your circle it will prove helpful! Work your way in from those that you are closest to, and then those that are more distantly known.
    LinkedIn -get a profile on there and make it good! head hunters go on here all the time!
    I do a lot of my hunting on Indeed.com – agencies look thru profiles on here.
    I also go to Craigslist – competitive but worth a try.

    As I said, I need to blog about this. I believe I am an expert on the subject and could go on for hours about the tips, etc.

    Hang in there! There is HOPE!

    Keep us posted on your hunt!
    Best of luck to you!

    P.S. Crappy thing that happened to you, by the way. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today. Protect yourself at all costs. Believe there are still good people out there and have a back up plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, ageism is alive and well. However, experience also counts in certain circles, as I’m learning. I’m receiving incredible support from my network of business associates and friends. Planning to do a post on it within the next day or so – please come back to see how I do with the job hunt!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Diana says:

        Agree. Experience is crucial! Support of friends and associates. Priceless and incredibly helpful!
        Yes, look forward to your post and hearing more about your job hunt.
        Best of luck to you!

        Liked by 2 people

  23. Ellen Hawley says:

    Wishing you all the luck in the world. That really is awful, telling you it was certain when it wasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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  25. Diana says:

    I don’t want to miss your post about job hunting. Somehow alert me, if you can. 🙂

    Like

  26. Pingback: Office Dynamics (The Hunt Begins) | Cordelia's Mom, Still

  27. Jane says:

    Holy crap…. I am so sorry, I just now am getting caught up on posts. I am going to continue to read on. But I have to say what they did to you stinks no matter what.

    Like

  28. Pingback: The Office | Cordelia's Mom, Still

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