You say recession, I say depression - a repost from the spam place

This is a repost of my first blog EVER. A re-read makes me want to edit but I won't, these were my words at the time and how I felt so I will leave them stand.

My story begins the fall of 1998 when I return to the workforce after taking a year off to spend time with my young family.  I needed to file for divorce and had to get a job.  It took all of 2 weeks to find a good paying job as a production supervisor in a Tier 1 automotive plant.  This plant supplied the Big 3 with convertible top assemblies. 

This is southern Michigan, rural farm land with a large manufacturing base. 

Shortly after I hired in, my plant began shifting operations to our sister plant in Toluca, Mexico.  Little by little our parent company milked us dry. We were a fairly recent acquisition for this enormous supplier of products used to create the “cockpit” in the cars we drive.  With manufacturing plants across 3 continents, their goals were selfish and shortsighted.  A few CEOs came and went, taking with them large multi-million dollar severance packages on their way out the door.  Soon we were known as the "launch plant" and once new programs were production ready, they were Mexico bound.  They filed for bankruptcy in 2004ish.  Through several headcount reductions in salaried workforce, I was lucky. I managed to hang on and ended up being the "last dog standing" in my department.  

I tried; man did I try, to influence the process.  My ability to motivate my employees to achieve record production goals I thought would make a difference in the long run.  On a regular basis, I'd march into the operation managers office and announce "How do ya like me now?!?  110% of goal!  Ha!"  Finally the plant manager pulled me aside, I think I was becoming tiresome to the big guy, and gently told me it didn't matter how good my team was, cause if we could do it, the Mexicans could do it cheaper.

It was strange really, for 3 years after filing bankruptcy, I still did not anticipate that I may be in for a long term struggle financially.  I shoulda been a cheerleader, happy go lucky dork that I am.   I worked so hard to keep my crew positive that it resulted in me not fully grasping our obvious and ultimate demise.  So my company lied, cheated and cooked the books to the point that 3 of the top managers turned state’s evidence on the current CEO and he was indicted for fraud and money laundering.  And that was mid 2007.

But land on my feet I did when 2 weeks before the doors closed I was offered a job as a contract supervisor at the Delphi plant directly across the street.  Sweet!  More money, oh yea so they are in bankruptcy too, but Mama's got a job and dinners on the table! 

Thud! The other shoe drops and 6 days before Christmas in 2007 they called me into the office to lay me off but guess what, get to finish the week.  Fabulous!  Hateful hostile work environment, major bunch of assholes.  F**king B*tch even wanted me to write up one of the job setters she had targeted, and I was still her sheriff till Friday.  (um, I refused to follow through, whatta ya gonna do, FIRE ME?)

The loss of my routine, a 60 hour work week that started as early as 2:45am when I rolled my ass outta bed, had a paralyzing effect on me.

 Early 2008, its winter in Michigan, ice, snow, me holed up in my remodeled 1876 country home doing my best to not FREEZE.  Depression sets in.  Remember I have a cheerleader personality; these things don't happen to me! There is no such thing as failure!  Hike your skirt up and run sister!   

Oh, and the insurance of course was cut off immediately.   A trip to the SS office and I was able to qualify my son for Medicaid, but when she looked at my hard earned little portfolio, she said, “My you have done well for yourself, you don’t qualify.”   

With one child now in college and one high school, I slide into a bit of a depressed state, gained a few pounds, now chubby, broke and depressed.  I bum around looking for work, turns out I need a degree now to be a supervisor, don’t gots one.  Oh and can’t fail to mention the 20% unemployment rate in my county (no not Detroit, that was worse, or check out the stats on Flint)

So I did what any normal person would do and got my real estate license in an incredibly down market, sold my mom’s 37 acre farm, gave my home back to the bank after a failed short sale, packed all my worldly belongings, (and those of my then 79 year old mom’s vast accumulation of worldly belongs, some of which she still cannot find, shhhhh)  onto a 54 foot trailer and had 3 farm boys drive it out to Kansas!  (I had an epiphany, what can I say).

Bottom line, I’m happy, the plan, while always in transition, has borne fruit. And my economy will not be controlled by this economy, ‘cause its broken.

Views: 101

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on November 28, 2012 at 8:02am

Excellent post, I've been through acquisitions and layoffs many, many times out here in California... as well as the lies and insanity of shipping American jobs off-shore (Singapore and Malaysia) to the extent that I've even volunteered to be laid off.  Fortunately my network and reputation were usually good enough to keep the cash flow going with contract work... the worst was one year back in 2000 when I was five months behind on my rent and totally broke... got a job with a hospital as a driver for $10.00 an hour barely enough to pay the rent... It's been a strange thirty years.

Comment by alsoknownas on November 28, 2012 at 8:06am

Well, it's not easy, but it seems you have found your boot straps and given them a proper lift. Far more than will admit it share this struggle. 

I've been in that "what are you going to do..fire me?" situation. Turns out the answer was "Yes!"

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on November 28, 2012 at 8:07am

PS: I did it all without any kind of college degree and like you without that degree, I'm not qualified to even apply for the jobs that I did so successfully that I was always awarded for "Outstanding Performance" with cash bonuses and at one company even stock options.  As for my portfolio all I have is a bit over $180,000 in medical bills... divorce and bankruptcy loom in the next couple of years.

Comment by tr ig on November 28, 2012 at 9:29am

Yes, you're first post and last EP! I was so proud, and it is very well done. Sad representation of what happened to a LOT of us. Mucho Amore'!

Comment by Jenny on November 28, 2012 at 9:46am

Tired of the grind to survive but whatchagonnado?? 

jmac, you've had a rough time of it. Hope you can put the worst of it behind you and find some stability and peace. 

aka, my dad often used the boot strap expression. Living though the depression and fighting in WWII, he knew survival as I hope to never know. And no, I never told my manager, "what are you gonna do, fire me?" omg no. I worked 65 hours a week but my salary was capped at 50, still I trudged on... In the blog where I make reference to this, they had already given me notice, I was to be permanently laid off at the end of that week when they wanted me to write up one of my employees for one of the many many work rules. I bulked because I knew they were targeting him and I thought it was BS. 

Trig, that's "your" not "you're"...  :) 

Comment by Emily Conyngham on November 28, 2012 at 9:54am

Girl, you have grit. I am so impressed. I see from Trig's comment you got an EP. Well, of course! This is terrific. I like knowing the way things are turning out for you now too. :-)

Comment by tr ig on November 28, 2012 at 9:57am

balked not bulked 

Comment by Jenny on November 28, 2012 at 10:00am

Its a Michigan thing, we bulk, you balk. Multipurpose word...

Comment by Marlene Dunham on November 28, 2012 at 3:02pm

Good for you.  Wish more people had your attitude & drive.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on December 4, 2012 at 12:00pm

So that is what happens to cheerleader types these days out there in what my mom warned me was "the big wide world"!

It seems to me you shoulda succeeded brilliantly, gotten lots of praise, a nice nice office, plenty of memos & emails asking your advice cuz you were such a ''team motivator''of a leader, etc...but i am a very naive soul.

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