As much as I hate to admit it, the honeymoon period seems to be coming to a close for me. In no way does this mean I dislike my job, who I work for, or the people I work with. Rather, this week finally brought forth irrefutable evidence that the company I am working for is not, in fact, immune to the recession.
In all honesty I knew this was the case all along, but at least for a while it seemed as though the proactive stance that was taken to operate as frugally as possible was actually going to allow us to ride things out without too much pain caused to employees. Unfortunately this is no longer the case as the auto industry continues to be as popular as a root canal. There have been some disheartening announcements recently, such as a lack of merit increases, stricter standards for promotions, and severely reduced travel budgets. None of this seems unreasonable, unwarranted, or uncommon. Then came the final blow for me - the suspension of our education assistance program. I found out literally a couple hours after I put in my pre-approval application to have funds reimbursed for my MBA.
Was this news unexpected? Not in the least. Was it depressing? Most definitely. After all, it took me almost two years to get a job here in the first place and now that I had finally reached a point of being able to take advantage of the benefit I most wanted, that benefit was no longer available to me. Now the goal that currently tops my list of 'personal achievements to accomplish before 30' must be put oh hold again.
I won't lie, I allowed myself a one evening pity party. A phone call to my best friend and brother (same person, in case you're wondering), some mindless TV and a Sam Adams. After an evening of that I was about sick of the woe is me routine already, so now the question is how to move forward.
Those of you who know a bit about me should realize that I am a huge proponent of being your company's biggest cheerleader, advocate, and PR manager. That said, considering how high my hopes were for starting my MBA this summer I was dealt a big blow this week, but I cannot let this show when talking to my candidates, peers, or management. Further, because there are so many people feeling the effects of limited finances I volunteered myself to be involved in the HR committee responsible for finding ways to boost morale without costing money.
It has been a long and grueling week, and I am looking forward to the weekend more today than I have in a long time, but I'm also looking forward to the challenge I just put in front of myself. At present I plan on connecting with all the department heads to ask for a couple of recent success stories I can share, then work with our communications team to start a weekly or bi-weekly feature of great things going on in our office. It might sound corny, but it is a start, and I'm sure more (and better) ideas will follow. As for the present, I think that right about now the people here need a few extra pats on the back and I'd be honored to be the one handing them out.