A Downsized Executive’s Story: Pink Slipped in 2010

An excerpt taken from Sid Lee’s franchise success ebook,“Pink Slip Paradise”.


The worst and best day of my life…the day I was pink slipped.

There are 3 letters that are not found in The American Dream…J-O-B!  Here are some recent headlines:

  • Standard Chartered to Cut Senior Staff by 25 Percent
  • Tribune Publishing Announces Staff Reduction
  • Toys ‘R’ Us Brings Temporary Foreign Workers to U.S. to Move Jobs Overseas
  • The Daily News Layoffs and Digital Shift May Signal the Tabloid Era’s End
  • Caterpillar to Cut Up to 10,000 Jobs,Citing Falling Demand
  • More layoffs in the oil industry announced this week,including 950 Chevron jobs cut in Houston.
  • Halliburton,Baker cut workforces deeper,bringing layoffs to 27,000
  • Walmart CEO tells staff 450 job cuts aim to make are to become more “nimble”retailer

I can go on and on and it’s not a happy ending. And the truth is,none of us are immune from the possibility of being fired,pink slipped,laid off,RIF’d,let go…whatever you want to call it.  Did I say NONE OF US? Unfortunately,it is fact and we all know someone who has been given the gift of a pink slip. Gift? Yes,gift.

Change is good,if you are prepared for it.  I was not.

As with most of us,I certainly was not shocked when I was fired…I’m sorry,retired. I had heard the rumors,witnessed the continual reductions in force several times during the few years prior to my release.  But,up until then I had been one of the lucky ones who was still employed.  Then came the day I remember most,October 10,2010.

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My boss and I had received the same notification. We both received meeting planners to be at a mandatory meeting on the same day,one half hour apart.  As I was a remote employee,my meeting was a conference call. She worked at the corporate headquarters,her meeting was personal. I called her and said,“Hey if HR is in the room,just text me”.  She replied,“It’s worse than that,my meeting is in the HR office”.  Done deal…

I was terrified and had not really planned for this event.  I never received a bad review and was very productive over my career.   Fooled,I thought I was a member of the “protected class”.  But,I was over 50 years old and none of us are immune.

As most of us dumped into this situation do,I began working on my resume and increasing my LinkedIn connections.  I thought I needed a new job.  I even got one for a little while.  It paid me less than I had been accustomed and was a little out of my wheelhouse.  However,I was happy to be re-employed.

…then it happened again.  I was pink slipped about a month before Christmas.

This time I said to my wife and family…”never again”.  This day changed my life.  I was going to become a business owner,not an employee.  Over the course of my career I had worked for some terrific people and learned from some of the best.  I had the skills,the education and the experience…but did I have the confidence to do it alone?

Fortunately,I had saved some money during my career and my credit score was good.  I knew that at 58 years old,I was going to be nobody’s first choice for a new corporate position. So,I started looking for a franchise.

I am now in my third year and have increased business every year with some terrific help and support from other professionals in my network and my affiliated corporate office.  My family’s life style has not changed and I am very confident now that I can,with more hard work,become even more successful as a franchise development consultant than I ever would have been in my corporate job.

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Maybe I would not have been ready for entrepreneurship earlier in my career,but today I feel like I should have done this many years ago.  As an employee,I was always just one corporate decision away from the unemployment line.

 But,as a business owner,it’s always up to me.  I can’t be fired.

Most high schools and colleges don’t teach entrepreneurship.  Most of us are taught from a young age to work hard,do well in school and get a good JOB. Truth is,there is no JOB in the American Dream.  The American Dream is about defining your own success.  It’s about owning your own business where there is no cap on what you can earn and no restrictions on who can do it.  People from all over the world view the USA as the land of opportunity.  Mostly they immigrate here to become business owners.

Today immigrants constitute 12.2 percent of the total U.S. work force,and 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners.  Immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business than are non-immigrants.  In addition,they represent 16.7 percent of all new business owners in the United States.  The total business income  generated by immigrant business owners is $67 billion,representing 11.6 percent of all business income in the United States.

Getting pink slipped should not be worst day in anyone’s life.  It should be considered a gift,the gift to step out and experience what the rest of the world knows. The rest of the world sees the USA as the land of opportunity.  More of us should.

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Working in various sales organizations over the years, John has accumulated a working knowledge of business oriented web design. With Sid Lee's success as a franchise consultant, John was excited to step into the role as the Director of Marketing and Web Development at The Franchise Workshop.