October 17, 2013 Update: A couple of retirements have reminded me of this post and it is probably time to add a couple of names. Richard Bracken, currently the CEO of HCA, was at the time our group president and the one asking that one more name be added to the layoff list. At the end of this year, he will retire.
I finally let a cat out of the bag for the world to see for an article about women and maternity leave. It was a long time ago, but the feelings of being laid off after just returning from maternity leave remain in my memory.
My boss had made the comment about the few female CEOs in the company (Hospital Corporation of America) not having children at home almost two years earlier when I informed him I was getting married. I do believe his intention, as a mentor, was to make sure I recognized the reality of the day. I appreciated his concern.
I always had to fight against the current to accomplish my goals and just saw what lay ahead as one more challenge and another opportunity to prove my determination -- that I could "have my cake and eat it too." The reality was that my industry or company wasn't ready for me, or others like me.
At the time of my layoff, the environment was that we were having to re-invent the organization to survive through the tsunami of managed care. (This was at a time when managed care wanted new moms out of the hospital fast. I had been asked what time I planned to leave the hospital just seven hours after delivering my daughter. Legislation later required a more appropriate length of stay.)
I could understand the need to eliminate my position at that hospital, given the continual decline in census due to managed care. What I can't understand or even explain, is why my company, one I had worked for over many years, did not try in the slightest to find another position for me -- even in another area of the country. Maybe it was the fact that the "Columbian's" were in charge. Or perhaps, as my boss had cautioned, because I had just had a baby.
My boss continued to be a source of recommendations and referrals to opportunities, but the company let me down. Now that the "Columbians" are gone, it seems that perhaps the company has evolved. Hopefully, others haven't or won't share this experience.