Deja Vu Career Change

March 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm 2 comments


Deja Vu career change is occuring, again…..

In 1996 Sun Sportswear had a major layoff.  The sportswear company had “merged” with larger holding firm and heads rolled.  A lot of headcount was cut, including mine. 

It was the Monday before Thanksgiving and many of us on the design team, which was located in Kent, Washington, were planning to fly home for the holidays after work.

One by one we were called into the office to sit in front of William Wiley, company President and Sandy Teufel, VP of Design. 

Many of us had no idea what was about to hit.  Just the week prior we attended the company all hands meeting to discuss this possible merger.  We were told not to worry about our jobs and there was no need to update our resumes just yet.   

 Being one of the last people to get called into the office that day and naive to big business, I had no idea what so ever what was going on.  Some people left the office in tears while others in a state of shock.  I was beginning to feel a little left out that my name wasn’t called until I was one of the last.

Finally it was my turn to enter. 

I was told the news that I had lost my job.

Sandy Teufel was really sweet about it and said,  “Please know this has nothing to do with your performance, we really enjoy you.   Please don’t take this personally at all.  If things should change we will want to call you back.”   Those words sincerely eased the blow.  You could tell by the look on her face that this was not a good day for her either.

“Well at least I now know what it’s like to be laid off,”  was all I could blurt out.

Going back to my desk I called both my parents and gathered my things.   Other departments affected headed out the door with me.

I took something home with me that would be a defining tool for my future career that day.  I took something that would give me a NEW professional skill and ensure my future career SUCCESS.  What I took home that day was:

The company phone list 🙂

I went back home to my Kirland apartment and called EVERYONE on that list.  My goal was to find out who had just become unemployed “with” me.  I called people who had left the company before the list had been updated and I called people on the list that I didn’t know at all. 

This gave me the experience and confidence to cold call

But the most important call I made that day was to the person who had originally hired me at Sun Sportswear, Chuck Cogswell.   Chuck had left the company a month or two prior (he must have known the writing on the wall) and was working for another apparel company in Seattle.

Chuck was fabulous and put me in touch with Evelyn (I can’t recall her last name) who was Human Resources for Eddie Bauer’s Worldwide Headquarters.  

It was maybe 1 -2 weeks at most before I started work for Eddie Bauer in their Textile Design department.  I was doing something different and earning more money than at my previous job.

Being laid off redefined my career path by giving me the skill to “effectively network” into my next position

And now in 2009, it’s career Deja Vu and I couldn’t be more excited about it.   Reminiscing about all the wonderful career changes my last layoff brought, I can’t help but be ecstatic about what lies ahead for my career future.

So tell me, what event has positively redefined your career path?



Entry filed under: Job Hunting, Networking, social media. Tags: , , , , , , , .

A kick in the BUTT is exactly what my CAREER Needed I joined plinked because Jacki Fitzpatrick said it would help my blog writing…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. humanresourcespufnstuf  |  March 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Heather, my first job was selling copiers (awesome I know), and when we got bought and the whole sales force from our end got let go, it got me into recruiting. I figured, if I can find jobs for people and people for jobs, I’d never want for a job myself.

  • 2. novelwhore  |  April 14, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Love your optimism! I was lucky enough to get laid off from my account management position at a large agency here in Chicago. The experience made me realize how much happier I am not putting in countless hours in a job for which I wasn’t passionate, working for a boss who didn’t respect me. I remain unemployed, but am content and happy trying to reach my ultimate goal of breaking into book publishing. In the meantime I’m keeping busy freelancing (as in working for free to amp up my resume!) at a small local publisher and volunteering with a literacy/book focused organization, while trying to catch up on my reading list. Though I’m still seeking my big break (have any contacts in book publishing?!), I realize I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, though much more poor. Your story is very inspiring, thanks for sharing and I hope I have a successful ending to add to mine sometime soon.


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