Surprise ! Surprise ! Surprise !

Not all surprises are good.

Examples of a bad surprise:

  • Your parachute did not open and you are at 8000 feet
  • Your brakes stopped working and a car just stopped in front of you
  • Your insurance agent forgot to tell you your house was not insured for hail damage
  • Your company is making personnel changes that affect YOU

This article is about that last kind of bad surprise.

In November of 2014, we were told there was going to be a team meeting and attendance was mandatory. Mandatory team meetings had occurred before, but usually one or two people were left behind to cover the phones. This time, everybody was attending at once while the phones were being transferred to an outsourcing company that normally handled our night calls.

This should have been seen as a sign that an unwanted surprise was headed our way.

The other warning sign that many of us missed was the timing of the meeting. Our meetings were normally held in the afternoon, but this one was scheduled for just before the lunch hour.

The final sign that we were not going to like this surprise was when we walked into the meeting room. In the front of the room sat our manager, her boss, the CIO, and a lady from HR.

A feeling of doom came over the room very quickly.

When everyone had taken their seats and the door closed, the CIO stood up. She started off by telling us that a lot of thought had gone into “this decision” and that “the decision” had been made because it was the best thing for the enterprise. The CIO explained to us that they felt the help desk calls could be handled better by an outsource company and that by giving this function to them it would enable the enterprise to move forward better. As a result of this decision, our jobs were being terminated in January of 2015.

SURPRISE! – In 7 weeks you have no job!

Next came the HR representative who said we would get a severance package based on our length of service but she was not able to provide details until a later date. After some other comments that sounded like legal requirements, she sat down.

Our manager started her little speech with, “It has been a pleasure working with you… You are all very talented…” She said she was sad about the decision and hated to see it happen but it was necessary for the good of the company.

What she did not say was that this decision did not affect HER JOB! She was being kept as a liaison between the outsource helpdesk and the company.

Finally the director (her boss) got his turn to speak. He seemed almost in tears as he said he had been through this type of thing before and he knew it was difficult. He said that he was confident that talented people like us would have no problem getting another position. He concluded by letting us know that they had arranged to have the phones covered for 2 hours so we could have an extended lunch and that after lunch we were expected to conduct “business as usual”.

The department closed as scheduled in January and I left with my severance package in search of a new job. To my surprise, I found out that good paying jobs were not as plentiful as I was led to believe. It is now May and I am still looking.

The company not only took away my job, it took my creativity! Before January I was working on a couple of books, writing blog posts a couple of times a week, posting sermons to our church website ( on a (fairly) regular basis, writing devotions, and more. Since loosing my job, my creativity has suffered greatly and these projects have fell behind.

Yesterday I turned 58 and decided to give myself a birthday present.

I AM TAKING MY CREATIVITY BACK! I will once again be working on these dormant projects on a regular basis while looking for a job.

To my former employer I say, “You can take my job, but you can not take my creativity and motivation!”


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