CPI: One Year Later

As I near the one year anniversary of my return to CPI, I’ve taken some time to reflect upon my life and my career now versus a year ago. Things had taken an apparent turn for the worst a little over a year ago when Maritz decided to cancel my contract with no explanation or consolation. Apparently that’s the way of things as a contractor working for a terrible company. Maritz was one of the best and one of the worst experiences of my working life. As a company I find it difficult to understand how they continue to operate; it was one of the most disorganized companies I’ve ever worked for.

When Maritz let me go I was floored. I literally felt sick. It was mid-December, we’d just moved into our new house, and we hadn’t even made the first house payment yet. We’d slightly over-extended ourselves when we moved but we did it believing that I would continue to be employed and we’d catch up again shortly. Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way.

After I was let go I spent a lot of time sitting around and wondering what I’d done wrong. I find it funny now that I seem to be quite valuable to CPI; whereas at Maritz I apparently had absolutely no value to them at all. I’ve worked for several companies throughout my life and I’ve never, ever been let go from a job. I’ve always received positive feedback from management and I’ve always succeeded in completing the tasks assigned to me. I’ve always felt like I was valuable to the companies I’ve worked for but for Maritz, this wasn’t the case. Ultimately I decided not to spend a lot of time doubting myself and to spend more time being positive and, above all else, finding a new job. As I found out, Maritz has a bad reputation for doing to a lot of other people exactly what they did to me.

Once I’d been back in the job market for a couple months I realized it’s a tough place. It’s even tougher when you don’t have a job to rely on while you’re looking. That changes everything. We made our first house payment and we literally did not have enough money coming in to replace it. Traci was still working but her income is about 40% of our total income. The state was paying me $250 a week and honestly $1000 a month wasn’t going to pay all our bills. I’d interviewed with several companies but projects were put on hold and so was I. I also interviewed with a large consulting company immediately after I lost my job but after almost two months of getting the runaround I began to rethink all my options.

I’d toyed with the idea of coming back to CPI, all the way back to when Von Hoffmann layed off 40 people earlier in 2005. The time wasn’t right then but I wondered if it that was still true. I did some investigation into the current climate of CPI and then made a phone call to my old boss at CPI. He was interested and they were working on projects that interested me. Things had improved and, after some discussion and turning down another job offer, I found myself back at CPI.

So a year into my return to CPI I’ve seen stability return to my life. I also found that once it returned I’d unknowingly missed it. I experienced a tumultuous 14 months while I was gone, but that experience helped shape me in a person I knew I wanted to be. I was given the opportunity to learn so much while at Von Hoffmann and learn I did. The experience was invaluable to me. CPI now has a dedicated Business Intelligence group and I’m no longer the “code janitor” I used to be. The company is moving in the right direction and change is slow but steady. I’ve now learned more about data warehousing than I thought I would, and I’ve also learned a new ETL tool. I’m now the company’s only Business Objects person (we’re looking for another one though). The BI team I work with is top-notch; I’ve never worked with a stronger, more focused or more positive team. They’re the best.

And, most importantly, I love going to work again.

As I look back now I realize that Maritz letting me go was probably the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. It sounds strange now, considering how bad it was at the time, but if they hadn’t let me go I’d never gone back to CPI and I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m realizing now, as I get older, that even negative events can positively shape a person. I also had a tumultuous childhood but with the support of my dad, hard work, and a positive attitude I overcame all that.

I know it sounds a little extreme but losing my job literally changed my life. I’m not the same person I was before; I’m better now. My attitude is better now, my outlook on work and life is better now, and I’m a more positive influence on my co-workers and my family. I no longer complain about things that don’t matter. I don’t sweat the small stuff.

So right now I’m looking back at a great year and I’m looking forward to another year as successful and rewarding as the previous.

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