December 1, 2023

Betrayal and Trust

Two years of my life gone as I chased what I thought would be the key to being more successful than ever and being able to better provide my for my family and allow me to give them experiences that they would otherwise not have. But… life has had a major detour yet again.

In the first week when it happened, I worked through so many emotions: sadness, grief, anger, frustration, betrayal, panic… you name it and I’m likely not “done” with the varying feelings yet.

But everything happens for a reason and I’m currently trusting that ultimately God has a better plan for me.

I’ve been running and gunning hard, trying to keep up with the leadership in a company I planned to go the long-haul with. In doing this, my time became monopolized though I turned a blind eye to it. You see, I loved what I was doing because the company I worked for did GREAT things for “the little guy”, the mom and pop businesses all over the USA.

I’ve not been afraid of hard work. I’m of the Gen X mindset of “work hard” and “earn” your way. As I talked with small business owners all over the country, I saw that “work hard” to find your success played out over and over with most each and every owner. It’s the American Dream. Even those owners I talked to who immigrated into the country would share their stories of coming here for the opportunity, working hard and achieving business ownership. Their stories NEED to be told! It’s inspiring to others, but also proof that hard work DOES indeed pay off.

I put in hard work over the past 2 years and yes, that hard work was paying off until… I got a curveball thrown at me I didn’t expect and was laid off along with 5 others in October 2023.

Suddenly, just when the future was starting to look GREAT, the rug was ripped out from under my feet… AGAIN. This is not the first time that a company has let me down. The first time was with a company I had given 14 years to and I had planned to be with until retirement. However, that company ended up merging with another and little by little the “happy family” they portrayed turned into a “pruning” as they dropped the original company name and began cutting anyone who had billed as “overhead” as they were often duplicated services in their many offices all over the world. My department with my “work family I dearly loved” was disassembled and one by one, we were all “pruned” off.

Oh how I loved that job I’d given 14 years to and how wished I could find something like it again. I took employment at another company in the same industry, but during that first week, I felt I had boarded “The Titanic” and realized this was not a ship that was going to survive for the long haul. So due to that intuition, I was prepared when that company, too, merged and cut 10% of their workforce (that covered all of admin and marketing… guess what department I was in?). Thankfully, I was ready and had a job offer in my pocket the day they told me and slid the box of tissues over to me in the meeting. I didn’t cry that day… and pushed the box back. I paid attention to my intuition and was prepared!

Those two companies were larger small corporations. From then on, I’ve done freelance, and worked my own business until I found an opportunity to work with another small business helping businesses all over the country. I signed on into a role I’ve never formerly been in… sales. This company created something awesome and special and while it gave small mom and pops the spotlight, I felt it also gave regular people like myself an opportunity for growth and also financial gain through commissions.

I’ve always been one to rise early, to work hard and go full force. I guess you could say that work ethic was instilled in me by my parents and especially my mom. My first job was at a company she worked for and let me tell you… she didn’t take it “easy” on me just because I was her daughter. When you worked with her, you Got Stuff Done!

So again, hard work has never deterred me. And so when I saw how hard the CEO of this company ran… I was up for the challenge, but quickly found out I couldn’t match him step for step, but I could do my best to try to match as much as I possibly could. In doing so, I found that I simply did not have enough time in the day to take care of certain things they way they should be. One could argue we each have the same amount of hours in a day: 24 hours. Still, each person’s life is different and while they may have the same amount of hours, not everyone can utilize those hours in the same way. As a woman, I have a lot of responsibilities that I simply can’t delegate easily without a full wallet to do so… things like grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, taking kids to orthodontist, dentist and doctor’s visits… taking pets for their check-ups or to be stitched up after a neighbor’s dog reached through the fence and shredded his ear. All these types of things take time that can’t be gotten back to put towards work and growing a business or working leads through a sales process. Time was still needed to invest in my family and friends.

I LOVE going to watch my kids on the field playing and cheering. I didn’t give that up and wouldn’t have. Still I would find myself, checking DMs and text messages from the team, from the boss, from clients and potential clients while trying to watch their games. One could argue here that I could turn the phone off and yes I could, but one week we would be told MINIMIZE our distractions by doing just that and then the next week we would be fussed at because we didn’t respond to a message within a certain time frame. There were a lot of mixed messages from the leadership.

Sales hours were the core of the day, but in addition, you had to make time for reading recommended books, time to listen to podcasts, time to exercise, time to listen to training from a car salesman… fill out your numbers for the day, do your stats reporting at the end of the week and document other things. I’m not saying that these things were necessarily bad… however I never felt I could get it all done. My house… didn’t get cleaned the way it should. Thank goodness my family washes their own clothes! I wanted to opt for whatever was quick for dinner and didn’t require I wash a lot of dishes… and quite frankly I got tired of cooking at all.

So if I’m trying to check all the boxes of what was required outside of sales hours, then when do I get time to write? When do I get time to spend in prayer or reading devotions or books UN-related to business and NOT on the recommended reading list? When do I get to read “for fun”?

I mentioned my intuition with the one place of employment that helped me prepare before. My intuition went off about 4 weeks before the layoff when someone used the words “You need to protect yourself” when he was coaching me. He’d asked about why I thought my sales were down and I told him the results of the research I’d done. He asked if I had shared that info because “you need to protect yourself”. I freaked for about two weeks and then finally calmed enough to push it aside and keep trying to move forward. But my intuition was right. I shouldn’t have pushed it aside. I should have paid attention and been more prepared… prepared for the abrupt layoff and prepared to be looking for another job.

When it all happened, it was shocking and depressing and maddening. “How could you?” I kept thinking. “I trusted you!” But somehow I let that guy in under my radar. I overlooked stuff because I truly enjoyed helping small businesses and was feeling fulfilled in that. The comforting thought I had was that at least I still had over $7,000 in earned commissions to be paid out to me. However, when I asked when I would get those commissions, I was told, “No. When you’re gone, you’re gone.” That stung even worse! How can you legally do that? Now, not only have you taken a job away from me, but you’re not going to pay me what I’m due either? You’re stealing from my family!

I had trusted someone that I had respected. I’d saw so much of the good he had done for small businesses. I realize now, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors to cover up the bad publicity from his former business. I never thought to look deeper, until after the ax dropped. Then in doing research I found lots of “interesting” things about his former business… like how there were some very poor business practices there. Lots of people complaining about how things were done and how people were cheated out of their money. I wish I’d known about that before, and maybe instead of chasing after these dreams of fulfillment and yes, also wealth, I could have not wasted two years and instead, worked on my OWN business to grow it.

Now, however, I’m back to square one, working to revitalize my own business that I had put ON HOLD for two years while I gave so much to this other company. I’m tired of leaving my fate up to others and being lied to from sly salesmen. I pray that God will bring into my life the RIGHT people and LEAD ME where HE ultimately wants me to go. He’s already allowed me to see SO MUCH that I had overlooked and was blind to with this group I’ve been part of for the past two years.

I trust that all things happen for a reason… so now we will see where the Lord guides me next.

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