It is said that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.
Despite what others say, my employer leaving Canada is very much a reason to be grieving, especially for those who worked here. Even though the company made a lot of mistakes when it entered the Canadian market, it was still an amazing company to work for and I will miss it dearly.
The first two days after the announcement that the company was closing, I was in so much shock that I couldn’t think. I laughed at the unfortunate timing because I simply could not comprehend the situation. I updated my resume very quickly (and very poorly, I might add) and started sending it out. I didn’t even look at the job postings properly. I just applied to anything that said Merchandising. In retrospect, it was a very poor decision to mass send out my resume without thinking about what was best for my career and my life plans.
On the second day, I went to a store because I needed to pick up some supplies. I was floored by the number of customers I saw in the parking lot, in line at the cash registers and shopping with carts full of product. I have never seen a store that busy in my life. I was livid at the customers. As I walked through the store, I could hear customers chatting amongst each other trying to find the best bargains and commenting about how great the prices were. The sad part is that everything was still at regular price. Why did Canadians wait until NOW to give Target a chance? Why wait until now? If only all of these customers had come in a few months ago, all of us employees might still have our jobs.
I spoke to the cashier and she mentioned that their actual sales had already tripled their expected sales for the day. And the silliest thought occurred to me. Maybe, we won’t close down because the stores are seeing such great sales now. Maybe, the Marketing team would say, “Psych! We are still in business. This was a big marketing scheme.” But in my heart I knew that this would never happen.
As the information settled in my mind, I got mad again because the Board of Directors MUST have known that the sales would spike following the news of the company leaving Canada. With the increased sales, we were surely going to hit our sales targets for the 2014 Fiscal year and the CEO would look absolutely fantastic to the shareholders. Especially since our parent company just announced that it would be giving out dividends to its shareholders. Add to the fact that the liquidators would not be getting the inventory until the beginning of Fiscal 2015, meant to me that the parent company would be taking all of the sales. The timing just worked out too perfectly. The parent company didn’t even have to pay us our bonuses for hitting the sales targets which was another cost saving initiative for them. And the fact that the severance is paid out over time means that it won’t be hitting 2014’s fiscal numbers which again makes the numbers look great. Sure, there are probably other factors that were considered by the Executive team and I am probably completely wrong about some of my conclusions but these were just the angry thoughts of a recently laid off employee.
My last day at work was the saddest day. A group of us had a last meal together before we went back to the office. I signed all my paper work, gave back my badge and laptop and just like that, I was no longer an employee.
With time, I have come to acknowledge and accept that this is probably one of the best things to ever happen to me as it is forcing me to think about what I want in life and giving me the freedom to do anything that I want.
But I will still miss the people. I worked with an amazing group of individuals who made each and every day enjoyable and worth coming in for. I will miss the culture of teamwork, collaboration and positive intent. There are so few places were people treat each other with respect and kindness all the time and I’m not looking forward to being at another company with mean politics. I will miss the focus on personal and career development. My managers and I talked about this every week and sometimes everyday. No other company that I have ever worked for has cared this much about helping to train and improve its employees.
As a customer, people may not have understood the company or the leaders’ decisions. But for those of us in the company, we know how hard we worked to make the company a success (often staying until midnight and coming in on weekends) and how amazing the company could have been if only we had more time.
I will miss working for this great company.