The phone rang.
I heard a fragile voice on the other end of the line who was doing everything she could to keep it together. I asked, "Are you okay?" I knew this answer but I knew she was looking for someone to ask.
Jennifer got quiet and then sobbed about how she was let go at the end of 2015. She had a great job in project management at an energy company, a mother of two, wife, volunteer and staunch fan of the industry. After 20 years and steady progression, she found herself promoted, doing well and unexpectedly cut due to the energy downturn.
I know that feeling of being reduced. I know the concerns of being at risk. I know unemployment. It can be a tough spot.
But what was really bugging Jennifer?
She told me she was feeling humiliated and isolated. I agreed with her... those are all valid feelings to have when you are going through a layoff.
But she then told me it wasn't so much the layoff that had her upset. She felt alone and isolated because she had just been kicked out of a women's energy "networking" organization for being unemployed. (via an email)....
My empathy for Jennifer turned to anger. "You were what?" "As in, you were told you could no longer be a part of the group because of your employment status?"
(And via an email, nonetheless?!?!)
She sobbed, "Yes. They said I had to be working in the energy industry to be a member. "
Join a network and get pushed aside for not being employed. That strategy sure makes NO sense. It's as ridiculous as excluding men and discriminating against people of color. But I guess not everyone agrees with what inclusion means, clearly.
"Katie, Do you think you can help me?"
Can I help her, I thought? Why yes, I can. It's the reason I get up every day. I want women to stay in my industry. I want to see them progress. I'm so sick of seeing us lose great people and it absolutely disgusts me to know that there are organizations who say they promote women when they are kicking them to the curb at times like now.
I don't know what it is about women.
There are days I wish I had enough money in the world to wrap up all the therapy and put a bright bow on top the box and drop it off at the doorstep of these petty souls who prey on others misfortunes.
And.. may these people never have to experience a layoff, or say, a big discrimination suit.
Tsk. People who create drama deserve their karma. You get what you put into the world.
And for Jennifer, I'm so happy she put herself out there and called. I'm happy to call her a part of our little corner on the earth.