Things looked so bright at the beginning of the year. Then I didn’t get into Wharton and Lou got fired. I think Lou tried to change too many things too quickly and upset too many of the wrong people. I don’t know if they purposefully avoided doing it in person, or didn’t want to wait for his return. He was terminated over the telephone while he was at the hospital in New York with his father, who was having a laryngectomy because of throat cancer. Lou had a hint the axe was going to fall and brought home all his important work and project files. Lou was certain one guy in particular was working hard to get rid of him, and that he was manipulating facts to make him look bad to the owner. I personally think if Lou had been more patient and made more compromises along the way it would have been better for everyone involved. Now, the people who actually supported his projects and believed in him as a leader are left hanging out there on their own.
Lou’s dad stayed at our house for a while after his cancer diagnosis to decide whether or not to have the surgery. He spent most of his time working in the garden in our backyard. There’s a huge lattice fence with beautiful climbing roses that goes up to about 8 feet tall. Lou put it up to block the view of our neighbor’s backyard. We do all the plantings together in the spring, and Lou keeps it nice all summer. I’m good at figuring out what to buy and where to put it, but he’s good at the weeding and maintenance. The one time I tried to create a little garden area on my own, all the plants disappeared because he thought they were weeds. After spending lots of time in the garden with Lou, his dad decided to go ahead. After seeing his father into surgery at the Long Island VA hospital, Lou called his office to check in and was fired. Lou drove back to Delaware while his dad was still in the operating room. I probably should have come along, even though he didn’t want me to. I later learned that they toured the hospital, and everyone in the mental health ward knew Lou’s father by name.
I know that Lou was depressed himself after being fired. All he did was sit around the house playing solitaire, game after game, after game. To add insult to injury, the company had only offered him two weeks’ severance pay. He threatened to sue, but they insisted he was an employee at will, and they had the right to terminate his employment for any reason or no reason at all. Lou contacted a lawyer who confirmed he had no case. I called the owner of the company myself to make a personal appeal. I explained how devastated Lou was, and that he had put his heart and soul into his job, the company, and the employees. Lou now felt that they never intended to keep him on, had just been using him for his ideas short term, but didn’t want him to ultimately have any real management authority. Lou felt he was deceived and defrauded. The owner said that certainly wasn’t the case, and was sorry he felt that way, but that Lou just wasn’t a good fit with the management team. I explained that my experience has been that someone at Lou’s managerial level should be given at least six months’ severance pay. I couldn’t believe it when the owner agreed to those terms. Lou thinks the owner agreed because he feels guilty, knows they are wrong, and is afraid of a lawsuit. Personally, I think my conversation was effective and the owner had empathy, but most likely just wanted it done. It is petty on my part, but it would be nice if Lou gave me at least some credit. Regardless, I’m grateful for the income until he finds another job.
I’ve been using the word processor at my office to type up application letters for Lou, which is a lot easier than the typewriter we have at home. I get the Wall Street Journal from the VP’s office here and cut out all the manufacturing management classified ads for him to review and approve for me to send out a letter and resume. My managers are afraid I will have to leave soon if Lou finds a job out of state. So far, no interviews, but I keep sending out resumes.
I already have a lot of experience using the word processor, PC, and plotter at work. When Lou became President of the South Jersey APICS Chapter, I agreed to be VP of Publicity, which meant I was responsible for the monthly newsletter. I typed it, did graphic design, got it printed, and did all the folding, labeling, and mailing. I spent many late nights working on it, but I must say that the newsletter was looking mighty fine with my touch. I absolutely despise going to the meetings and conferences, but as an officer, I have to attend. I have also taken several of the certification exams, although they are irrelevant to my career and of no personal interest.