August 9, 2011

Company Car, House, Etc. – Too Many Eggs in One Basket

I was talking to a job seeker not long ago who had been fired from his job as a sales representative. Bummer. Like zillions of sales reps before him, the firing meant that he had to turn in his company-owned smart phone and all of the data stored there. Double bummer. He had also been home-based, so he had to give up his company-owned computer and printer. Do bummers come in triplicate? Never mind – we need four bummers for this situation because the coup de grace was giving up his company car. As he explained to me with a wry grin, he was transformed overnight from an income-earning sales professional to a car-less, phone-less, computer-less job seeker without a database of networking contacts. Now that’s really a bummer.

Okay, so if you’ve been paying attention – as he certainly is now – can you count the mistakes this person made? And can you swear you won’t do the same, should you ever fall into what must have seemed like the best employment package ever? Repeat after me: I will always back up my networking databases so I have a current copy of the information of my very own – maybe even in print. And while I’m at it, I will do the same with my important work documents and letters of praise from clients.

Here are some more vows to take: If I ever have a job where the company lends me computer equipment, I will still buy my own. Or, failing that, I will get a promise from at least two friends to borrow theirs if I should ever get fired. And here’s a big one: I will either live near public transportation so that losing the company car doesn’t ground me just when I need wheels the most, or I will save the equivalent of a car payment every month so that I can buy at least a used car with cash if I ever need to do that.

Good. I feel better knowing that you and I are a bit smarter, even though I can imagine the lessons feel like they’re coming a bit late for this unfortunate job-seeker. The bright side? He wasn’t working in one of the many pastor jobs that include housing along with the base pay. Losing your house at the same time as your job would really be a bummer.

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