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Unfortunately for me and for my former employer, I have been laid off. :cry: The company encountered economic problems and took the low road. I was not given any time to transition my projects or accounts to other staff, even after offering my time, I was asked to leave and "discuss it with my family".

Now the company is sending me emails asking for help resolving some outside vendor problems. I do not feel compelled to help the company after being surprised like this. Any advice from my fellow managers?

jhack's picture

Are you off the payroll? Have all obligations been met (ie, settling of accrued vacation time, payment of severance, if any...)?

If so, propose to them a consulting arrangement. They cannot expect you to work for free. And if you've comported yourself professionally, you may find that they are willing to consider paying you for your skills.

John

tcomeau's picture

That is indeed disappointing, and you have my best hopes and wishes for finding a new situation. I hope you took the recent immunization podcasts to heart! What kind of work do you do, and where?

[quote="lazerus"]
Now the company is sending me emails asking for help resolving some outside vendor problems. I do not feel compelled to help the company after being surprised like this. Any advice from my fellow managers?[/quote]

If you can give them information quickly (e.g. take 5 minutes to look up a phone number for them) and there are only a few such requests, I'd be inclined to help. Five or ten minutes a day is worth not burning bridges. It may be that your former colleagues (moreso than former bosses) will appreciate your efforts, and you can keep them in your network while you focus on finding a new position.

Beyond that level of assistance, which is frankly just being courteous and professional, you certainly have no obligation to help. If they're asking for advice on how to handle a problem client, or the details of some contract item, I would be inclined to calmly respond that you're trying to be focused on finding a new position, and you're unwilling to take significant amounts of uncompensated time to address their needs.

If they offer a short-term consulting gig, by all means consider it, but I wouldn't suggest it.

Do you have the interview series? If so, get started!

Good luck,

tc>

US41's picture

If I were laid off immediately and told to go home despite having offered my time to help with transition, I would definitely propose the consulting route in response to any questions sent my way. I would be most friendly and totally courteous and completely and utterly unhelpful.

I think there is a difference between networking and relationship building and allowing yourself to be used.

Here's what my intuition tells me: You've been fired. They can call it a lay-off, but when you are asked to leave immediately and they won't even accept your offer to help out on your own dime, that's not really a layoff. That is a firing disguised as a layoff.

To then call and ask you where all the bodies are buried is in extremely bad taste. The only contact they should be making with you at this point is to offer you pay before you render any services or to help you close out your accounts with HR and receive final payment and any remaining benefits.

In the past layoffs I have seen, we've always helped with outplacement, offered severance packages with some percentage of annual salary, multiple contacts with HR, and a time period before the layoff was effective. I have only seen one person laid off immediately, and I also remember the fight he had with his boss six months before. He was fired.

As a manager, I would never contact someone and request that they help me with their jobs after I had let them go. I would ensure I did all of that up front while they were on the payroll BEFORE the psychological impact and potential embarrassment of being released hit them. Once they are gone, they are gone, and I let them have their peace away from me and my company.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="US41"]
As a manager, I would never contact someone and request that they help me with their jobs after I had let them go. I would ensure I did all of that up front while they were on the payroll BEFORE the psychological impact and potential embarrassment of being released hit them. Once they are gone, they are gone, and I let them have their peace away from me and my company.[/quote]

There we completely agree! The lack of professionalism shown by lazerus' ex-management really reeks. I have reached out to people we laid off, but it was always to let them know of opportunities I'd heard about, or to make sure they had information that might help them find a new situation. That includes the one guy who we basically fired, but called it a layoff to avoid involving lawyers.

The fact that they seem to need help from a guy they just dumped (fired or otherwise) also says something about their preparation, and maybe about their competence.

tc>

lazerus's picture

Right. Had I been actually laid off with a package to at least see me through, I think I would probably try to help. But you guys are right, my former employer decided to ACT without THINKING about the consequences. Very unprofessional, it does not endear me to them in any way.

Example of their incompetence: O3s were seen as a waste of quality production time! Just one of many, many knee-jerk decisions that put them in a losing situation, even though industry peers are growing at 14%/yr. (Digital printing). I'm actually glad to be gone.

I did get the interview series and have gone through it a couple times. Thankfully, I could kind of see this coming and got into a new position the day of the layoff.

Thanks for your help!

tcomeau's picture

[quote="lazerus"]...Thankfully, I could kind of see this coming and got into a new position the day of the layoff.
[/quote]

Oh, well, then you have the answer right there:

[quote]
I'm sorry, old boss, I'd love to help, but I'm focused on getting organized and succeeding in this new position, and I just don't have any time or energy to spare right now. Thanks for your previous support, best of luck. And I'll SEE YOU IN HELL!!
[/quote]

Okay, skip that last sentence. :) If you needed consulting dollars to let you take more time to find the next job, helping the old boss might make a little sense. If you have a new position, you need to start exceeding their expectations and moving forward.

tc>

garyslinger's picture

[quote="lazerus"]Thankfully, I could kind of see this coming and got into a new position the day of the layoff. [/quote]
Immunization. Well done that man.

G

tomas's picture

Its interesting that they are emailing you rather than calling you. I would be much more inclined to respond to a phone call, much less so an email.

You don't want to burn any bridges, but you need to be concentrating on transitioning to a new role. Also if you are no longer an employee and they have asked you to leave immediately I would not be comfortable being involved in the internal affairs of the company without some formal arrangement.

HMac's picture

So much good advice from all corners (Tom: I LOVE the "I'll see you in HELL!" sentiment...).

The only thing I can add is whenever in doubt between two choices, take the high road. That's the professional's code. Or at least what our grandmothers would expect us to do.

Good luck,
-Hugh