Today's my birthday. Yay, me!
I was also fired from the job I've worked for the last seven years.
Given that this blog is essentially personal and I can say whatever I want, I can disregard the tact I've used when discussing the issue in public and with my clients thus far. Let me say it outright: those assholes can take a long walk off a short cliff.
I've had some disagreements recently about the direction our studio is taking. After no increase in pay for nearly four years, I was told my pay as a trainer was capped and that to make any more money, I'd need to do marketing and sales, and work off commission bonuses. While I don't have a problem in principle with my job description expanding, it's not an excuse for capping my pay for my primary role in the business – developing programs and training clients. Further, the marketing was poorly implemented out-bound marketing that relied on promotional discounts and cold-calling to get people in the door – hardly the kind of business that would result in a significant increase in my income.
I've known my boss to be stubborn on such matters, and with my imminent engagement I decided it was unwise to stake my financial future on being able to reach an agreement with my owner and manager. Accordingly, I had been making connections and calls just to get a feel for what opportunities might be out there. Well, one of those connections knew my boss, and sent an email informing my boss that I'd contacted him.
So when I entered into the meeting today, I was under the impression that we were going to try to work to resolve some of these issues. Instead, I was greeted with an accusatory tone while the two bosses dismissed my concerns as irrelevant and twisted my words to imply that I had done something unethical. For example, I had mentioned that many of my clients have said they would follow me if I ever left; this was twisted into Oh, so you're talking to clients about leaving? I made mention of the fact, for the reasons explained above, that I had been exploring other possibilities; this was twisted into Oh, so you have one foot out the door already?
I feel my criticisms were constructive, but they were dismissed outright and further discussion was quickly stifled. I know from experience that anytime those two clowns were running a meeting together, they weren't in a listening type of mood. You, the employee, sit there nervously while they chastise. This was no different. They backed each other up while twisting my words and criticizing me, and ended the meeting by firing me – after seven years of loyal service – without so much as a "thank you".
I feel strongly that how you compensate your employees is a reflection of how you value them. Having had no pay increase of any kind in nearly four years and making what most would consider, at best, to be an entry-level salary, to say I felt undervalued is the understatement of the century. On the rare occasions that clients would probe me into alluding how much I made, they were always shocked that I received such a small fraction of the money they pay – particularly when it is my dedication to them that keeps them renewing their contract over the long haul. And indeed, most of my clients were individuals whom I'd trained for years. While I wish my employers no ill, I feel they have lost sight of what drives a
successful personal training business and that in the coming months this
will bear out in employee turnover and client losses (both of which have already been issues of late).
On the upside, the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. Clients have been calling me expressing their anger at my bosses and support for my future endeavors. Many of them have told me they will follow me and train with me elsewhere. My boss, in his pride and haste, has eroded the goodwill of his clients and employees (the other evening trainer is similarly dissatisfied with the direction of the business), and lost a loyal and dedicated employee. I'm a bit frazzled by what's unfolded today, but I'm also optimistic. I feel a sense of liberation, and I knew that working there was holding me back.
So, at least one upside is that my schedule will be temporarily a bit freer. So, more blogging!