Effective Immediately

Last Friday at work, we got an email that stated, Effective immediately, Clark* is no longer a TobacCo employee.

That just served to reinforce the notion that no good ever comes from an announcement that begins with the words “Effective Immediately.” Bad news always follows. Effective immediately, your cable bill is increasing by $7/month. Effective immediately, alcohol is no longer allowed on the premises. Effective immediately, you must separate cardboard from plastics and metals in your recycling bins. And so forth and so on. “Effective Immediately” is the ultimate fun suck. You never hear something like, Effective immediately, you can eat all the chocolate cake you want because it turns out sugar is the key to a long life.

Sure as shit, this particular “Effective Immediately” stung. Clark (the asterisk because that’s not his real name, and I swear that his real name doesn’t begin with a “C” and contain five letters because that would just be lazy) was one of the few people I’d bonded with at my new job so far, and “Effective Immediately” implies he did something wrong.

I might argue otherwise if Clark hadn’t participated in our weekly marketing meeting less than 30 minutes before that email was sent. Everything seemed normal then. He talked about his accomplishments for the week and his goals for the following. He planned a meeting with a member of the marketing team. For Clark, it appeared to be business as usual.

You don’t act that way if you’re planning on quitting in half an hour.

And really, I wouldn’t argue otherwise regardless, because I’ve been in Corporate America long enough to know full well that “Effective Immediately” is code for “got axed.” When people leave a job willingly, as I did three months ago, there’s an announcement from your supervisor or HR. The tone is friendly, encouraging. Reasons are proffered (“Mark decided to pursue an opportunity with a marketing firm in Wisconsin”), an end date is provided (“his last day will be August 27”), platitudes are doled out (“Mark was the best goddamn writer we have ever seen and filling his shoes will be well-nigh impossible, but we’ll soldier on regardless because, what choice do we have?”). They thank you for your contributions and wish you well in your new role. It’s all very cordial and transparent.

Those “Effective Immediately” emails are the complete opposite; maddeningly vague and impersonal, and immediate fodder for the office gossip mill. Effective immediately, Clark is no longer with the company. We are currently recruiting to fill the position. If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly.

HELL YEAH, there are questions! But really, only one: What did Clark do to get the boot? I’m nosy as hell and dying to know! Mysteries like that are as infuriating as obituaries that never tell you how the person died. I don’t read them because I’m looking for a cliffhanger; I want to know if Mary got hit by a bus or Tom was vaporized in a chemical explosion. Heart attack, stroke, cancer? Pick a card, any card. Just don’t hold it so close to your chest. It’s pure curiosity…which, as we all know, is what killed the cat. No mystery there. Let’s not be so hush-hush concerning humans who have kicked the bucket!

I think back to our friendly conversations and can’t imagine Clark doing anything to warrant immediate dismissal, but clearly, he did something. I was working from home that day, so I never got to see if he was escorted out the door carrying a box filled with his belongings — the universal fate of the effective immediately-d.

Ahh, well. I’m not there for friendships. I just want to put my nose to the grindstone and churn out content so I don’t end up effective immediately-d myself someday. I’ve been laid off a couple of times in my career, but that was always effective in two weeks. Gave me time to wrap up my work, say my goodbyes, rig the forklift to fail the next time a heavy pallet arrived. You know, the usual pre-departure prep work.

Speaking of work, Tara started a job, left a job, and started a new job in what has to be record time. And no, she wasn’t effective immediately-d. As you might recall, she landed a position at a bank on the recommendation of my new boss, who is apparently quite the southern Wisconsin mover and shaker. She’s been in the banking biz for 10 years, but has hated the banking biz for approximately 9 years and 11 months.

Give or take four weeks.

So, when she heard a radio ad (of all things!) for a statewide nonprofit organization with an office less than a mile from our front door, she jumped. Applied for the position, got a phone interview, then a Zoom interview, then a job offer. All in just a few days. And so, on her 14th day at the bank, she handed in her resignation. Offered to stay on two weeks, but because she was still technically in training, they said she didn’t have to. They were gracious and understanding over the whole thing. And two days later, she started that new job.

Color me impressed! I know how difficult it can be to land an interview, let alone get a job. And while she took a pay cut, you can’t put a price on happiness, you know? Our finances won’t take too much of a hit and we are still in good shape to get into a new house. That won’t be effective immediately, but hopefully by next spring.

Proof that years’ worth of pent-up stress have suddenly evaporated? She doesn’t even hate the fact that she has to work the day after Thanksgiving.

She hates the fact that I don’t have to work the day after Thanksgiving, though. Whatevs, babe! I consider that a well-earned holiday after she’s enjoyed having Veterans Day, Native American Day, Juneteenth, MLK Jr. Day, Presidents Day, National Walking Taco Day, and a whole slew of others off that I’ve been stuck working. I don’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt that I get to sleep in as long as I want and lounge around in comfy clothes all day while she’s toiling away.

Effective immediately, I’m going to gloat about it, in fact.

34 thoughts on “Effective Immediately

  1. Yay, Tara! Way to go! Bummer about Friday. I wasn’t aware anyone worked on Black Friday except for healthcare, retail, transportation, and hospitality. That’s a hardcore nonprofit.

    Boo, Clark. You’re right, whatever Clark did was truly terrible and left the company liable if they kept him on even one more minute. Theft, sexual harassment, racist Tweet? What could it be?! Just like you, I have a burning desire to KNOW. You’re killing me, Clark. And Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first Black Friday I’ll have off in years. We always had to work at CenturyCo, and before that, Ye Olde Publishing Company. In fact, next year, Black Friday is not a holiday at TobacCo. We only have it off this year because Christmas Eve/Day land on Saturday/Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Time to hang out at the water cooler more, or wherever gossip is ripe at TobacCo these days and get some info on Clark. Never trust the nice, congenial ones. They can be so deceiving. Congrats to Tara and her go to attitude to get a position she wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My daughter got one of those “effective immediately” emails. The company was “reducing portfolio” and a bunch were being cut next week but the firm will provide 2 full weeks of severance pay. Why do the “reduce portfolio” and hand out the pink slips occur just before the holidays? This leaves all these people to a desperate financial fix. If they’re going to lay off they should give more advanced notice either long before the holidays or some time after. Fortunately, my daughter got a phone call soon after the email and was told she would be staying on and still have a job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two weeks of severance pay is pretty stingy. At least the times I was laid off, severance was based on years of service, and I’d been at each place quite a long time.

      Also, why do they call them pink slips? Mine was just a regular white piece of paper.

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  4. Bye bye Clark.
    Effective immediately you must not gloat. You must spend the day cleaning house and cooking a lovely meal for your hard working spouse. A waiting pitcher of martinis would not be out of the question.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Effective immediately” has always brought about negative consequences for someone in my experience, and usually the fallout affects many more people. The best part is when they offer up if you have any questions, just ask them. You ask them, and then they say they can’t tell you anything…ah, the circle of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I replied with an “Oh no, thanks for letting us know!” email to my supervisor hoping that she might shed some light on what happened, but…nope. I don’t feel comfortable just flat-out asking, even though I would love to know the reason!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What a terrific observation, yes, “effective immediately” never ends up being about cake feasts. I’m going to add that to the list of “warning signs”, like “let’s put things into perspective” also never precedes an invitation for a cake feast? 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great news for Tara! Life truly is too short to work at a job you hate. In teaching, it was always when someone had a sub for a long time and we eventually found out the person was on “administrative leave.” There was never any explanation; sometimes that person came back but most of the time not. Many of them were friends/colleagues of many years who just…disappeared.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have mostly worked at places where no one said anything if someone was let go. You’d just hear about it when you tried to reach them for something and their email bounced back undeliverable.

    And at one place, a warm message about “So-and-so has left us and will be pursuing other interests” was a euphemistic “effective immediately.” A new girl saw one of these and was like, Oh it’s so nice the way they wish people well when they leave! …Um, not really.… they were let go and the company just kind of assumes they will be pursuing other interests since they won’t be pursuing this company’s interests any more.

    But after that, “effective immediately” totally has a “call the cops if you see Clark on the premises” vibe to my ear, lol.

    If you find out the scoop, do tell!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats to Tara and good for her to try a different career!

    My spouse has worked for a Fortune 500 for 30 years and the Effective Immediately is either one of two things: 1)Person did something inappropriate/illegal (ie., sexual harassment or insider trading type activity) or 2)Person is going to leave anyway to work for a competitor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does occur to me that we had to sign NDA’s before starting. I could maybe see Clark doing work for someone else in some capacity and management finding out. At least I hope it’s something like that as opposed to the other alternatives!

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  9. I also hate the not knowing. The one time I did regularly get the gen was when I was allowed into the inner circle of Tim, the hard man in the facilities department of the advertising agency where I worked. Tim was the arranger of the 4 o’clock cab – you know the ones, where someone is escorted from the building with their box of personal stuff (under Tim’s arm) after the boss has had a rummage through to make sure they’ve not taken anything company related. Eventually Tim would let a selected few of us into the juicy gossip he’d collected, but only after we’d been tested and he could be certain of our zipped lips. It was SOOOO worth zipping my lips for too 😀 And of course, we were always required to provide him with any little titbit we may have overhead. I miss Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There was the tale of the senior manager whose peccadillo was spanking. The firm’s partners ignored it, assuming it was he who liked being spanked (in that typically upper class public school way). When Tim (ex-boxer and all round old fashioned East End gent) found out that he liked to do the spanking after a boxing club mate of his shared the tale of a young lady being hospitalised (he was the chauffeur to the girl’s family), Tim brought this fact to the partners attention which immediately resulted in a 4 o’clock cab. Tim wasn’t what I’d call discrete with that particular tale.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. “Effective Immediately” falls under the same category as someone leaving suddenly “to pursue other interests.” You gotta know that something bad went down. I imagine you’ll hear more eventually – that’s how small company gossip works (and, of course, you’ll have to share it with us).

    Congrats to Tara. If you are going to spend so much time doing something, you really should love what your doing.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Effective immediately, count me tickled by this post. I love how you even used “effective immediately’d” as a verb. Glad Tara found a new job that she likes. And yes, I’m totally curious about what Clark did. Weird!

    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Crazy about Clark! I hope you somehow find out what the deal was. Which overweight woman is the office gossip? Go cozy up. Inquiring minds.

    Speaking of, we don’t get to know what this new job of Tara’s is? Dude…!!!

    Also, way to go, Tara. I hope she loves it there, wherever there is.

    Like

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