The Gap is Always Hiring

During my career I have “walked out” several people when terminated whether for cause or a lay-off. For one employer the CEO wanted me to be the bouncer and assist those that were terminated for cause in cleaning out their offices and then walking them out. It was an interesting situation for a recruiter – one minute I would be talking to a candidate on why they should join the company the next I could be in someone’s office helping them prepare to depart.

I would sometimes spend about one to two hours assisting an employee in cleaning out their office. These were usually decorated like a dorm room from college or an extension of their home. After the fifth or sixth time I realized I did not want to be like them. I wasn’t planning on being terminated for cause during my career (and never have been) but if I was terminated due to a reorganization or other lay-off reason I would pick up my stress ball and leave – no boxes, no need to come back on a weekend to clean out the office and no need to waste the time of a co-worker who would have to wait for me when they have plenty of work to do. For this reason my offices have always been bland, no pictures, no personal items and over the years people have asked why.

While sharing my story on why I would also state that if anything should happen “The Gap is always hiring.” Usually the listener would give me a perplexed look. The simple point is that no matter how hard we work sometimes things will happen beyond our control and we find ourselves without a job. There are many other employers and if necessary we have to be flexible in order to support ourselves or families. I believe that this mindset helped me perform at a high level because I did not work in fear. I would come in and do the job to the best of my ability.

Don’t get me wrong. Would it suck to lose a job? Sure. Would I want to be in a job search? Not really. Would my career take a hit and I might not find a similar role? I do not know the answer. Would I be able to find another employer with a great culture, interesting work and people? Yes, because there are thousands of employers that have these traits.

Recently this scenario came true when I lost my job due to a reorganization. I had a sense it was coming because of all the changes currently going on with my former employer. When I received the phone call to attend a meeting the next day I was fully prepared for what was about to happen. When it was over and I was escorted to my office I picked up two personal items – an award I received from a hiring client for my hard work and a mug my team had given me – and walked out.

I know most people would be upset or angry in this situation but I was not and will not be. I look back on my six years and have no regrets, complaints or ill feelings. I was given a great opportunity, experienced several promotions and felt that I made a positive impact. I was treated fairly, well compensated, and worked with some very talented people who taught me a tremendous amount from recruiting skills to leading teams. I gave my all and look back with pride on my work. It is over and I had a blast.

The job search has been going well so far thanks to my network and all the leads, advice and assistance that has been offered. I do not think I will be applying to the Gap but I do know that whomever is my next employer I will continue to give it my all and do my best to move the company forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “The Gap is Always Hiring

  1. Mark,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. If there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    I totally agree with your “Professional” approach. That happened to me some time back, after a 10 year run with a great company. The company was bought out and the new group brought in their own Sr. level folks and let go out VP sales, Dir of ops(me) and controller.

    We also knew it was coming but offered to assist with any transition issues and then moved on. No ill will – after all, this is business. Pitching a fit will not change the facts or make the situation any better.

    It can be a bit of a shock to the system – I took the summer off, spent it with the kids and figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up….

    Best of luck and again, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Dennis

    • Dennis,

      Thank you for the note and assistance. I have it on my to-do list to update my profile on “the suite”. The search is going well but still in the early stages with the leads I have pursued.

      Great to hear everything worked out for you!

      Best,

      Mark

  2. Cecil Brown

    Mark,

    That is a great perspective. Thanks for leading even when you are gone! I know you will be back in the saddle soon. Stay positive and keep the jokes coming!

    Cecil

  3. Felix

    Mark,

    Great read!!

    “Lay-off” should be in our Summary of Qualifications in our resume, don’t you think. The experience we gain through a lay-off may not be directly relevant to our the job being sought, but it is relevant to our family. I certainly gained a new experience when I had been layed-off.

    I thank you for giving me the opportunity I have now. I will continue to do the best job I can!

    I too have been asked about the blandness of my office. I know now, you also understand the the answer.

    –Felix.

    • Felix,

      Your office did remind me of mine – great minds. You are a great recruiter and it was a pleasure working with you. I believe you have a bright future with the company.

      An interesting point made about being laid-off as a qualification or experience gained. I had not thought of it in those terms but I can see how someone can learn from the experience and be that much more of a solid employee for their next employer.

      Keep up the great work and attitude!

      Mark

  4. Shirley

    Hi Mark,
    Sorry to hear about your situation, but I know how you feel. I spent the last 5 years working for a multi-billion healthcare company and received that unexpected email at 5:39am inviting me to a last minute meeting with no subject line. I knew a lay off was coming, but didn’t expect it to include me. Actually, I was just thinking just this morning that I should write about my experience, but it looks like you pretty much covered it. I’ve never been involved in a RIF, but have consoled many candidates throughout my career, never “really” fully understanding what they were going through. Even though it’s been an adjustment, I am thankful for the experience and walk away knowing in next position, the blackberry doesn’t have to go on vacation with me or remain by my side when I’m home with a sick child. Work can survive without me.

    Good luck with your job search!
    Shirley

  5. I read this post back when it was first published. It’s funny how things stay with you, somewhere in the back of the mind. As I moved into my new office (err…cube) today I thought about this very article and the perspective it offered. I’m certain many questions will be asked regarding my clean and undecorated work space in the future. My response of course will be politically, I mean politely appropriate. However I will quietly reflect on your wisdom and appreciation for your perspective. Congratulations on the new job! Hopefully you’ll pay us a visit at the next Talent Net Live!

    • John,

      Thank you for the note and glad the post had some staying power with you. I started a new role recently and have shared the “Gap” story with a couple of people.

      I am not sure if I will be able to make it to TNL this year but hoping to make it back for future events. I may even see if we can get one in Philly!

      Best,

      Mark

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