My vacation week turned 360 degrees in 1 day!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
My vacation week turned 360 degrees in 1 day!
5
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 10:27am

Right now I feel like Stephanie's Mom dealing with a sudden change of events out of left field.  Stephanie & I can join the "you need to have all the courage & strength to forge ahead" club.  So here's my story:  As I said, this week Sun-Wed, was fine - catching up with house stuff, errands, etc.  Wed. I get a call from my store manager to come because he needed to talk to me & didn't want to tell me over the phone.  I worked at a Staples store in Port Chester, NY.  What he said was, Staples needs to cut costs & effective March 30th, Staples will no longer employ full time associates at all 1800 stores.  I was one of the full time associates.  So I was handed my papers which included a severance package.  The options given everyone is yes - you can continue to work for Staples, but only part time.  I want to clarify that these are associates who do not hold any management positions.  So only managers or leads can stay.  I worked for Staples for almost 13 years!  I started in the Larchmont, NY store because at the time my kids were in middle school & high school.  My husband at the time was teaching high school in Manhattan & we were pretty deep in credit card debt because I was a stay at home Mom for 12 years prior.  Further, we knew we needed a new car soon & I wanted a job near the middle school & high school incase one of the kids needed me to come to school for an emergency.  So the Staples store in Larchmont was perfect.  And yes, I remember several times, both kids called me at work & I had to puch out immediately & go to their school.  So I'm forever grateful that I wasn't working downtown & having to wait for a train which would have delayed me getting to the kids.  Even though the salary wasn't much, I managed to save, pay off the credit card & buy a new 2004 Toyota Camry.  I needed the Camry at the time because my son was growing like a weed - he's now 6'2".

So, given the 2 options between working P/T & losing all my benefits + the severance OR taking the severance package - I chose the severance package.  I signed the paper yesterday (my termination date).  It felt like signing divorce papers - even though I've never been divorced..  So now I'm officially out of a job.  The severance is $4,121. + my vacation pay which Staples owes me.  I am losing all my health benefits effective today.  Part time employees are not eligible for full health benefits.  Also I am eligible for unemployment benefits.  Staples will not contest unemployment. 

As of today, I'm doing OK.  Thankfully, I have a lot of positives to be grateful for.  1) I'm fully covered under my husband's medical with the NYC Board of Education.  Ironically, it's a case of you get what you pay for - meaning Staples had MUCH better health coverage than the NYC Board of Ed., BUT I also paid a lot more than David does for his coverage.  2) Since David is a high school teacher & making a good income, I don't need to work at all the rest of my life.  After all, we survived for 12 YEARS on David's income while I stayed home raising the kids.& he was making a lot less money then.  So my income from Staples was miscellaneous income that was used for "whatever"  It was never used to pay bills.  David's income was used to pay bills, go food shopping, etc.  Once I paid off the credit card debt & bought the car (which has been paid off), I put some money into Staples 401K, I used some towards our new apartment, I paid for our vacations, etc.  At this point, once David retires from teaching, he will collect a pension + Social Security.  If he ever dies, I can collect that pension until my death + Social Security.  So, I do have the option of looking for a job or not.  I'm choosing to look for a job because I have NO intention of staying home & watching TV.  I need to get my butt outside & be productive.

OK - realizing this is turning into a novel - sorry about that ladies.  What just irks me is the suddenness of this - that all the assistant managers at the stores I know of knew nothing about this & Staples is giving employees 1 week to change your mind after signing the contract.  By the way, if anybody wants to look at the investor page on staples.com, be my guest.  I read it & Staples is losing money in the stores - seems everybody is shopping online these days & Amazon is ruling the roost.  Even staples.com is making a profit - better than the retail stores.

Kathy

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 10:51am
Title should read 180 degrees - not 360. Sorry about that - leave it to dh (math teacher) to correct me.

Kathy

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 12:06pm

Kathy, I'm so sorry to read about your job loss. And so sudden---they made the employees decide on the spot? (at least they gave a week to reconsider). I'm glad that you can get health insurance through your dh's job---I can tell you that buying insurance on an individual plan is very expensive even for not so great coverage.

All in all it sounds like you're taking it pretty well. Just wondering, would you consider going back to work for Staples? Will they eventually rehire any employees who took the severance option? Seems like they will need some more PT workers to make up for the lost FT workers, and you certainly know the ropes there...or do you feel like they treated the employees poorly in the way they handled this so you wouldn't work for them again?

Good luck with your job search and moving forward. You know how they say that when one door closes, another opens...maybe there is something great for you behind the door that is opening.

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 1:18pm

{{{Hugs, Kathy}}}

It is a shock to suddenly find yourself redundant. The only time I had that was when I was the Nurse who visited patients on home oxygen. It was a horrid shock-I went into Nursing partially because I heard nurses were never laid off! But the government had stopped paying for home visits-& even though the oxygen companies were making money-they weren't about to spend it on RN's. But the only dependant kid we had was Adam & Mike convinced me to try staying at home-best thing I ever did. First thing I did was gain 25pds-but Wt Watchers took care of that. (It seems a damaged ego enjoys eating lots of food)

But you have to do what feels right for you! I like to knit & sew & read-& suddenly I had time to do those. I volunteered at the school & now at Community Living (well away from Adam, btw)-so for me it was right.

Is there courses you want to take? Or part-time work you'd like to do? We are lucky in Canada-we don't have to consider health insurance.

Good Luck with getting things settled in your mind & then your life.

Nora

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 1:42pm

Having been laid off a couple of times, and dh being let go about 4-5 times due to downsizing or projects closing or whatever, I think what you need to concentrate on now is that as you said, you don't HAVE to work. In 1990 I was let go THE day we closed on a house we could barely afford.  We were both let go in '94 when our son was 1.5 years old and we still had a mortgage, etc.  Dh was also let go for a year when ds was in 8th grade.  We've learned over the years that it's not always fair, but that we have survived through it a few times.  So the fact that you don't HAVE to work is the amazing positive thing here.  It's up to you to stay on in a different capacity, to find something new, to take time to think about what to do next, etc.  That may not be what you had in mind (esp since this blindsided you) but it's a fantastic advantage.  Definite hugs to you, though, because I do know how hard this is, but here's to the future.  Best to you...

Sue

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 03-31-2013 - 9:51am
Kathy, it's great you are trying hard to remain positive but do give yourself time to grieve & be angry. Just don't stay in that state. This happened to me a yr ago after 32 yrs with the same company. It was my career & had become my whole life outside of my family. While I know definitely it wasn't personal as it was my mgmt role that had been eliminated. I still felt betrayed & that somehow I wasn't good enough as I never expected this to happen to me. I knew all about the downsizings in my company as I had coordinated most of them for the last 5 yrs of my career. I had counseled hundreds of people through the separation process & yet, it wasn't any easier on me. I knew about the coming downsizing about 2 mths before it happened & figured out 2 wks before I was told that my job had likely been selected. It didn't make it any eaiser knowing earlier. In fact, it added to the stress. Frankly, I think that calling someone in from vacation to tell them is horrible but know the moral approach & laws are very different in the US. I worked for a US owned company & we were always fighting as they didn't like how Cdns handled downsizings. We were too expensive & too compassionate which also costs money. Thankfully we have strong laws here so I ended up with an excellent settlement plus my pension. I could have fought legally for more & would have won but it would have only made the lawyer richer. Someone with your work history would have received a min of 26 wks of salary plus 8 wks medical benefits & vacation pay. Good luck with your job search but don't be surprised if you change your mind about what you want to do a few times over the next few mths as you adjust to this change. Feel free to send me a private message if you need someone to listen. Take care, Dee