Just about one year ago, I was terminated from my position as a Technology Director. I never saw it coming. All of my performance reviews exceeded expectations for 16 years, and every annual bonus was above my target range. There were no performance improvement plans or constructive feedback session. I heard what HR told me in the exit meeting, but I’ll never know the real reason.
The truth of the matter is that I was unhappy in the job for a few years. My commute was terrible, and there was not much opportunity left to grow my career in the small company.
I had built such amazing teams, that they made my job very easy to do, perhaps a little too easy. I was lacking challenges at times but was always able to keep my interest going by creating new projects and evolving the responsibilities of the teams as a way to innovate and stay fresh.
It didn’t occur to me until late in that day that this change of employment status happened a day before Take Your Child to Work Day. This was the absolute worst part of my day. My youngest son had been expressing a lot of interest in finance and we had made plans to visit the Stock Exchange where I still had credentials, friends, and co-workers to visit. I planned a big day out in the city when we would take the train in, go to work, and have lunch. My ex-coworkers were going to show him all about pit trading, technology, and let him wear the brokers jackets for pictures.
Truth be told, I could have still made the visit, but I didn’t want to put my reputation and more importantly my severance at risk.
Through the whole embarrassing and frustrating ordeal of losing my job, the sabotage of taking my son to work was the part that hurt the worst. Explaining that the trip was cancelled was the only time I ever got choked up through the whole ordeal of job loss.
Although the day trip was cancelled, I still held him out of school. We watched CNBC and Bloomberg. We reviewed the basics of stocks and public companies and even ventured into the world of options as I drew upon my previous work experiences.
Even after a year since the job loss, I think about it almost every day. Being “ghosted” after a 16 year career was confusing and deeply painful. When that loss impacted my child, I felt embarrassed and ashamed. But in the end it led to great conversations about why owning a business can be better than working for someone else and stoked a fire in him at a young age to not become beholden to a boss, but to be his own boss in the future.