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Friday, March 31, 2017

Giving feedback to a company that lets you go.

So on March 13th, I showed up for work. And within about two hours of being there, I was told I was no longer of value to the company. Due to a "Reduction of Workforce", I was being let go. This came as a shock to myself and to the other person on our "team". I had no other line of work set up. Though, I was already searching for a new job since it was clear to me that my time was coming to an end there. It was a blow. Financially, my family is now in the water. I was the main breadwinner. Emotionally, it was like a slap in the face. They acted rushed in getting me to sign a document and walk out forever. Though it wasn't said verbally, the actions of my manager made it clear - I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone. I sent a text to my acting "supervisor" and let her know what was happening. I got a hug from one of the kids I considered a friend when he realized what was going on. I packed my cubicle things in a box, signed the document agreeing to being laid off, handed in my fob and was escorted to the front of the building to wait for a ride home. And it was over. I had just celebrated my first year of service with the company.

The next day I got an email from Human Resources wanting to do my Exit Interview. Fast forward to March 31, and that still hasn't happened. No phone call. We exchanged a couple emails, mostly from her apologizing that she got too busy or forgot and would get back to me. So today, I filled out the emailed document form of the interview and sent it back. I also have not received my final paycheck which was due to be paid today. Nor have I been able to reach the Payroll person.

This company, has both been a blessing and curse in one. I have learned a great deal from them. But I have also had my fair share of heartache and stress. I've watched great people walk away from them. I saw underhandedness happening from the departments that handle paying employees. I've seen the lack of caring that the higher ups put towards their people. Broken promises. And Values they try to act so noble about holding, but really... its their employees that hold them. Their employees who wrote them, and live them. Not those running the show. They could care less. As long as the sales climb and money rolls in, everything else is just details. This is where they are failing. Where they are losing a long term battle.

No matter who you work for. You have to come to terms with something you won't like about them. There will always be some thing that makes you tick at work. My mother would always tell me, "Treat it like a job. It is just a paycheck. A way to pay your bills." And she is right. This wasn't a career. This wasn't meant to be what I did for the rest of my working life. This was a bump in the road. A way to move on to something better and hopefully more enriching. It was also a learning curve. I gained skills. I gained insight. I learned to see the warning signs of a company that, should they continue they way they are, will eventually die. Keep that in mind the next time you are unhappy at work. And don't let it keep you down. But don't ever settle and stop looking for something better either. A job is never guaranteed to last until you retirement.

See my Exit Interview below. Let me know what you think in the comments below. How would you have handled such questions?

Emily Vinyard
Thank you for taking the time to complete an exit interview with us. This will take only 10-15 minutes, and your candid feedback is appreciated!
Exit Interviews allow us to address any lingering questions or concerns you may have, and also encourages you to
offer your thoughts and feedback on your employment with us. Information you provide is extremely valuable, and utilized for our continued development.
We can’t grow, if we don’t know!
When was your start date with our company? 
What position did you hold with us?
February, 2016, Account Executive of the Room Rental team

What was your onboarding & training like?
Did you receive continued development, support, and feedback?
Onboarding was me taking an Excel class. While interesting, it had very little bearing on the job I was given. My supervisor at the time was very supportive. She taught me everything I needed to know. I appreciated her feedback and her patience with me. My Manager of that time was also a great help. His coaching opened my eyes to new ways of thinking.

How was your interaction with management & coworkers?
Did you feel valued, and part of a team?
Mark Villareal did a great job. Fred and I clashed in personality. I’m driven by constant feedback. I want to know when I’ve exceeded my goals. I never got that with him. Crystal ended up being the one to give me feedback. In addition, Fred took over when I came up on my yearly review time, but never gave me a review. So I also never got the point of a pay raise. He would also tell Crystal to tell me things instead of coming to me himself. At least until he decided that he didn’t like me treating Crystal like my supervisor and wanted to make it clear he was my boss and Crystal was no more than my equal.
Room Rental team are outcasts among the rest of the sales floor. We could never participate in any of the contests, we could never win prizes. Though they constantly say, “We are trying to figure this and make it so you can.” And when I came back from part time as an admin, I then didn’t qualify for anything the team entered. Yet, I was forced to stand and watch every time they were given recognition for trivial achievements. They sold 10k, got a certificate and gold coin. Room Rental team sells 60k, “You are below goal.” No. I didn’t feel like a part of the sales team. The only “team” I felt apart of was the one of friendship with Crystal Rico.

Thoughts on the center you worked out of?  What was the environment like?
San Antonio, Inside Sales floor. It is like Dave & Busters. You can’t tell who the true adults are. Balls flying around hitting people and desks, pranks of accidentally hanging up a call that your team mate is on, a lot of “Oops, my bad.” While it was fun, it encouraged a lot of people to lack discipline. And the managers scratched their heads at why sales numbers were so low. They tried bribing the team with promises of, “If you reach your goal for the day/week/month, then we will BLANK (insert event here).” But the things they chose to use as motivation, only worked for a handful of people. They didn’t spend time judging what people really needed. If you put more time and thought into people’s personal goals, you will drive them better at reaching their professional goals.

What feedback for the company, do you have after your time with us?
Transparency shouldn’t just be a word thrown around to make people feel like you are honest. For those of us who ran the reports and saw the numbers, it is obvious that you are low on funds due to poor planning and/or execution of what is important. You have high goals, but you lack the correct people for the job. You have people who are desperate for money, but lost in achieving it when surrounded by those that just want to have fun and take in the hourly wages. You have managers who aren’t putting thoughts into each individual they oversee. Managers should get to know their employees on a personal level. What does each person value? What are their personal goals? Why are they doing this job? Use that information to create a plan that will align their personal self with their professional self. If they can see how something will pay off in their personal life, they will have higher drive to reaching their professional goals. This company is based on sales. The more sales, the better for everyone. So give people a reason to want more. To push harder. And stop wasting time with petty rewards and recognition. Want real competition? Set real goals. And leave the “pat on the back” at the door. But don’t limit it to just the people in sales. Admins are needed. Recognize them. They may only pull reports every day, but without them doing that, sales numbers will drop. Every sales person has 8 hours in the day to make sales, run reports, make calls, send/answer emails. The more admin work they do themselves, the less time they have for making sales.
Do you have any advice for the next person in your position? What about for the manager who will be over this person?
I would love to say that I made a difference in my time there. That I was appreciated. But truth is, the only person that I felt truly appreciated me and wasn’t just blowing smoke, was Crystal. (And Mark) I didn’t often get praise as a person from anyone else. I didn’t hear, “Thanks for going above and beyond what is required of you.” So for the next admin you hire (though it won’t be for Room Rentals), I say… Don’t expect this position to be rewarding. Don’t let yourself get caught feeling like a waste of space on the “team”. Think of it as a job. As a way to pay the bills. And let it be just that. You will never fit in with the sales team. Even though they tell you that you are. And when you see that the company is slipping, start searching for a replacement job before they let you go without warning. Especially if you have a family to provide for.
For the manager: Give more thought about the person under you. If they have a death in the family, don’t come off as being cold and uncaring, even if you are. At least say something generic like, “I’m sorry for you loss.” My manager never did. His only concern was knowing when I would be needing time off for the funeral. He didn’t know anything about me. Nothing unless it was plastered in the walls of my cubical or told to him by myself or those that took the time to get to know me as a person. He’s the first manager I’ve had like that. And hopefully the last. We are all people. Not working machines. Even though some of us act cold and distant, we still have feelings. Managers need to be reminded of this. And even if you are having a bad day, don’t let your attitude show towards your people. It makes everyone else miserable. Especially when you expressly forbid negativity in the sales room and threaten to fire anyone who doesn’t keep an upbeat attitude because they “have no place” on your team.

Do you have any outstanding expense reports or bonuses we should be aware of?
No. And even if I did, it doesn’t seem like the company is quick to shell those out. People still working there are having trouble getting their bonuses.  
Do you understand how your final pay, benefits, and 401k will be handled upon departure, or would you like for us to discuss this further with you?
Unfortunately, I do not. And I’m having to figure it out myself as Human Resources is good at making promises about getting back to people and setting up calls, but then they never do. Regardless if I was still working there or not, if you truly value a person, you should schedule a time. Just like you would make an appointment. You should keep it or reschedule. Don’t leave it hanging in the air until it is forgotten by yourself. It is likely to make the person on the other end feel like they never mattered and you were just being nice because it is your job.


  1. It is good. Doubt they read them.

    1. Amazingly enough, they did. They called me to discuss my responses even. And to let me know that someone stole my last check...