I was laid off, and my less experienced coworker was hired back

A reader writes:

I work for a hotel in an area that is one of the hot spots for COVID. I’m in event sales, focusing on social events. The entire sales team was furloughed in March. At the beginning of June, they announced that they were permanently removing two positions, they were bringing back the regional leisure sales guy, and we other three sales managers should be expected to come back by the end of June.

As things continued to get worse in the area, I began thinking that we might not all come back, but since I was the senior most person on the team and I have the most experience (and also took on a lot of extra responsibility over the past two years), I figured I would naturally be the first one to come back.

I got a call in late June saying I won’t be coming back since there just wasn’t enough income to bring us back. I understood, but it still sucks. I still thought I would be the first to be called back. While it was never said, it was implied that the two group (corporate) sales managers and I were all in the same situation. However, I found out that they had brought back my less experienced, less tenured coworker on July 1. I was quite upset.

I called my boss to just ask why this decision was made, since I have seniority. At first I thought it had to do with her having a lower salary, but instead he said that corporate had decided that social business “isn’t worth” going after and they wanted to focus on corporate business, so the team member assigned to that market was chosen to come back.

First, I’m quite surprised that the hotel is focused on corporate business sales when I expected the social sector to come back first. Secondly, I don’t think that market assignment should be the deciding factor, since she is currently handling ALL inquiries. Third, I feel like I have been insulted when it comes to my history with the company.

I have a thought to contact the regional manager, as we have a rapport and maybe inquire if there were any other roles at any other properties. I don’t want to come off as Veruca Salt running to Daddy to demand my job back, but I feel so helpless and I want to do something. Should I back off or plead my case? Do I even have a reason to be upset? My anxiety is at a 15 with my safety net removed.

I’m sorry, this is really stressful.

Of course you have a reason to be upset — you lost your job.

But yeah, some of the specific pieces you’re upset about are probably the wrong targets.

There are lots of reasons businesses bring back one person over another. Sometimes it’s pay — the person they bring back is cheaper, and there’s nothing more to it than that. Other times they bring back the person whose skill set is broader, or more targeted in an area they need, or who they think has potential to take on something additional. Or they bring back the person the manager finds easier to work with, or who has special rapport with a VIP client, or who is beloved by the COO.

In this case, it could be exactly what they said: They’re focusing on corporate business, so they brought back the person assigned to that market. And yes, she’ll be handling the social sector as well, but if they plan to focus on corporate business, it makes sense that they’d pick the person who already specializes in that area. (Whether that focus is the right one or not, it’s their prerogative to choose it — and there may be more going into that decision than you’re aware of.)

Regardless of their reason, this probably wasn’t personal. They’re not insulting you or your history with the company. They’re in a bad situation (like everyone else) and trying to do what they think is best for the business, knowing that they can’t re-hire everyone.

However, there’s no reason you can’t talk to them about whether there are roles at other properties you might be right for. The key in doing that, though, is that you can’t appear to be challenging their decision. If you express some of what you did here (that you think they’re wrong or that you’re insulted), that’s going to quickly sour the relationship at a time when you’re asking something from them. And even if there’s no other job to move you into, you still want a good relationship with them for references, other job leads, etc.

But you get to be upset. Losing your job is legitimately upsetting. And one of the upsetting pieces is exactly the feeling of helplessness you named. You just don’t want to respond to that by framing them as having wronged you for not prioritizing seniority when bringing people back. Channel it into an active job search instead.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. Archaeopteryx*

    And even if the coworker’s lower salary did play a big role in that decision, they aren’t necessarily going to admit that. It’s a reasonable business decision but it’s not something that sounds so great.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      And assuming the business was being truthful that there just wasn’t enough income to bring us back, OP wouldn’t want to go back to work only to have paycheques bounce, right?

  2. Anon Anon*

    I am so sorry. And honestly, given how decimated the hotel industry and the events space is right now I would definitely back off, and as Alison noted focus on your job search. You may need those contacts as references, and so I wouldn’t leave them with a bad taste in their mouth about you. It wouldn’t shock me if money and the fact that your co-worker was “cheaper” played a role, but they aren’t going to admit that to you. Sadly, you are in very good company these days.

  3. Heidi*

    Sorry this is happening to you, OP. I think it’s natural to be frustrated over being laid off for reasons that don’t seem like logical reasons. Unfortunately, the people who do the hiring and laying off don’t actually need to have logical reasons for their decision-making. They just need “not illegal” reasons (i.e. discriminating based on gender, etc.). This means that people can (and do) make decisions that are detrimental to their business interests sometimes. It’s even weirder right now, since these decisions need to take into account a number of unknown factors that never needed to be considered before. It’s normal to feel hurt, but it doesn’t mean that they didn’t like you or that there was anything wrong with the quality of your work. I wish you the best of luck.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Agree with this. It’s awful to lose your job and it’s deeply frustrating to know it was out of your hands and not the decision you would have made.

      However, LW’s points are mostly about what she expected. The company’s business decisions don’t have to line up with your expectations.

      1. Vaguely Sauntering*

        I’ve had a similar situation in my company where overseas contractors during Covid were exited. The decision of who was selected to be laid off was advised by a team given additional remit during the first Covid illness phases.
        They’re not sharing their decision making method with me or the agency lead but knew the people and the work still left to complete. Some highly capable contractors with necessary skills and system knowledge were laid off while those of lesser skills or IT certification (but same pay level) were retained. Queries or reasonable attempts to swap some names were resisted; decision was final.
        We weren’t trying to stop the headcount number decision but were trying to retain most compatible for the IT tasks to be done.

        I’m still wondering months later and suspect it was random name choices in a rush, and that team will never admit it now.

  4. Lexi Kate*

    If you can’t talk to them without getting upset or demanding/asking for answers why you were not brought back or their reason for going in the direction they are going then back off. You will burn the bridge down if you go down that road. Start looking for a new opportunity, you need to have more than one option.

  5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Do you have a history of questioning their decisions?

    The other person may be more willing to play-ball anyway they decide to steer the ship, therefore it was easier for them to bring them back as well. Along with the lower salary, so many things are in play here. They may have just flipped a coin and aren’t going to tell you that.

    I think it’d be smart to start asking about the other properties that are opening up though! So you can let them know that you’re ready to come back, even if it’s at another property. That may be a huge asset to them, others aren’t always able to change locations or don’t want to even entertain the thought.

    This is a deeply personal thing on your end, it’s your livelihood. And it’s even harder than when someone is simply looking for a job, you already know them, they already know you. So it’s deeper than a rejection from a potential employer, when it was a former employer. But I gently do have to fall back on that age old “it’s business” and these business decisions may not always be what you think are best but they have a whole lot more data points and ideas than you’re aware of, on the grand-scheme of things.

    And we’re all living on a wing and a prayer at this time, they may be making a terrible decision but we can’t save them from themselves. Protect yourself. Look out for your best interests. Use your connections! But Alison is spot on with the don’t let people think it’s because you think you’ve been wronged.

    1. Annony*

      I was wondering the same thing. If the OP is known to have strong opinions and feels strongly that events are more important or more valuable than corporate sales, it may be that they decided to bring back the person who would carry out their vision with the least pushback. Maybe they made the wrong call and events will come back first, but they already made the call and probably don’t want to keep debating it.

      It is a very tough situation to be in and I can totally understand the OP’s frustration and the impulse to argue her case. But the better call would be to inquire about other openings and make sure to stay on good terms and keep the good reference. Arguing is unlikely to make them lay off the person they already hired back.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Frankly, I think it’s very unfair to assume that it was an attitude or misunderstanding of the business’ priority.

        OP’s situation could have been caused by a variety of things – INCLUDING salary and functionality.

        Yes, going over management’s heads to try to get your job back isn’t the way to go – they are forced , for all intents and purposes, to back up their managers’ decisions. Even if they were the WRONG decisions. You don’t know, and I can’t count the times when layoffs occurred and the very next day management finds out they laid off the wrong person and kept the wrong one.

        They made the call – and they’re going to “stick to their guns” on it. The approach “if there are any other positions, please let me know” is fine – but arguing your case will close any doors there.

  6. Colette*

    OP, I’m sorry you lost your job, and I completely understand why you’re upset.

    Where do you go from here? Asking about other opportunities within the company is a good idea. I’d suggest you also:
    – think about transferable skills (the hotel business is probably going to be hurting for a while; can you be a sales manager for networking equipment or online experiences or something else that is growing instead of shrinking?)
    – think about who you know (colleagues who have moved on, suppliers or clients you have a good rapport with) – can they help you move into a new area or put you in touch with someone who could use your skills?
    – honestly evaluate your skills – what are you best at? Why would an employer be lucky to have you?

    Most importantly, before you do any of this, you need to get to a neutral place about your last employer. You have to be honestly able to say something like “I would have liked to stay, but unfortunately I was laid off due to the business downturn” without any bitterness or hurt showing in your voice.

  7. Ali G*

    I am sorry you lost your job! But, you may have more overall experience than your co-worker, but they have more experience than you in the area that your company is focusing on. It makes sense that they would bring that person back over you if they can only afford to bring one person back.

    1. designbot*

      Also relationship continuity may be a big thing for the clients. If the clients they’re focusing on have a continuous experience, that’s better than signaling that the company is in turmoil by suddenly replacing the person they’ve been working with.

  8. Jenny*

    I thibk reaching out to the higher up isn’t a bad idea. BUT, do not challenge the already-made decision, that won’t help, approach it as friendly as possible. Being pleasant here is way more likely to get better results. There may not be something, but it will go better to take this as kindly as possible. You can’t challenge the already made decision, it won’t look good.

  9. Displaced Catering Director*

    From one laid-off hotel worker to another, I’m sorry you’re going through this! My whole team was furloughed in March as well, and then the whole catering team was laid off permanently in May. (I was the director of the catering team.) I don’t know who is currently working in the department right now other than the sales director and one convention services manager (non-sales). I can SO relate to the whole feeling insulted thing. It super duper sucks to feel you’re not as valuable to the team as you thought you were.

    Anyway, the perspective I’m trying to take right now is I would rather NOT be rehired when it’s pretty clear a lot of these places a) may not survive in the long run and b) will probably have to shut down again at least temporarily, especially if you’re in a hotspot. I am also looking at what my transferable skills are and seeing if I can put my job search efforts toward those.

    On the corporate vs. social note, I would definitely expect corporate to come back first because at least in my market, corporate was practically guaranteed money whereas social was tougher to book and less reward for the effort spent on it. That may be different from your perspective, but from a director perspective as well as someone who has sold both markets, that would be my guess.

    Anyway, sending you lots of positive thoughts and hopes for a successful job search for you! It’s a tough, tough time for those of us in hospitality and it’s definitely not over yet. Just try as best you can to channel all that energy you’re currently spending on feeling insulted toward your job search, though of course it’s okay to let yourself wallow too if that’s what you need right now. It sucks, I know.

    1. Sharikacat*

      I agree that corporate business is likely more plausible than social. Social business is what is making the pandemic worse.

      1. DKMA*

        Theoretically that could be an argument for social to come back first. Corporate events are more likely to be governed by actual risk management and public policy, where social events are at the whim of whoever is booking. And the pandemic is clearly showing that people aren’t making safe choices.

        In practice though, it seems like companies are just as likely to be emotional and “over” the pandemic so corporate probably will actually come back first.

        1. Displaced Catering Director*

          Social events are also more likely to try to cancel when no one wants to travel (experienced a lot of this before the layoff…I mean, everyone was canceling, but especially like weddings and stuff were considering going forward at the end of March until all their guests decided they weren’t coming). So if I was in that position, I would be really cautious about even agreeing to contract social business in the first place, knowing that depending on the travel guests would have to do, there would probably be a pretty fair likelihood of cancellation.

          Like you said, corporate events will have a more measured, risk-management-savvy approach even if it’s small, and businesses are usually *slightly* more amenable to actually sticking to the things they sign, because they understand contracts. Social clients, not so much.

        2. clogerati*

          I work in event sales and I’ve only gotten inquiries for social events. Pre pandemic my inquiries were 50/50 corporate and social. Most of the social events I’m getting inquires for are small rescheduled weddings with close friends and family and a few odd requests for dinner parties in private homes (which is insane to me). Almost all of my corporate business previously was from out of town folks while my large scale social events have historically been booked by locals (save for the odd social club that vacations together).

    1. Carbondale*

      That’s really not fair. Of course OP is going to be self-interested in a letter they wrote about themselves, especially when it’s about loosing their job. That’s not at all an indication that they are only self-interested during work.

      1. Sympathetic*

        Agree with Carbondale. OP said their anxiety level is 15 and that their safety net has been removed. It’s entirely understandable that they be thinking about their own needs and not the hotel’s reasoning right at this moment: it doesn’t tell us anything about what they’re like at work.

    2. une autre Cassandra*

      That seems like a pretty ungenerous take. It’s a letter about *her* situation, which is informed by her feelings and knowledge.

    3. Dagny*

      I got the exact same read off the letter: “Secondly, I don’t think that market assignment should be the deciding factor, since she is currently handling ALL inquiries. Third, I feel like I have been insulted when it comes to my history with the company.”

      Maybe the OP is a fine person and pandemic stress caused a change in tone that is not usually there. But if this is how the OP is in the working world, the decision to bring back someone else makes a lot of sense.

      1. Remote HealthWorker*

        Well we can’t know either way. Stress can bring out some negative tones. I did not pick up that they were overly inflated or self serving like you did. Just hurt and grasping for a reason to get her job back and have them change their minds.

        1. Dagny*

          The second part does not flow from the first. If you want people to change their minds (implying that they even can), it’s probably bad form to tell them that they are wrong about their business decisions and that the most senior person should be “insulated” from a layoff.

          Look, I’ve tried to find a job in a bad head space, and I figured out pretty quickly that you have to get into a good head space before you can be remotely competent at interviewing. That includes asking for your own job back or a different job in that company.

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I’m curious whether OP attributed it to “lower salary, so lower cost to the company” on the basis of known facts, or an assumption!

      I’m not sure that OP comes off as “self-interested” as such, but rather, is there a cultural (not necessarily saying country of origin, race, subculture or anything like that, although it could be, but I meant just more of a “individual beliefs/situation/industry” sort of thing… ) aspect to seeing “seniority” as the key to the hierarchy — for example I understand that with airline pilots “seniority” with the company is critically important in terms of who gets to decide the routes they fly and who just “gets what they are given”!

      I did get the sense though that OP may have a lack of “commercial” awareness in some ways, e.g. company chooses to focus on corporate bookings and OP thinks that’s wrong (I don’t know much about this industry but from the other comments posted so far, seems that “corporate bookings coming back first” is the right call).

      1. DCGirl*

        Seniority really only counts in a situation where there’s a union agreement in place that specifies the order in which people are to be re-hired. Since so many of us work in non-union settings, it would be nice to think that it would count for us too, but it doesn’t.

        I went multiple rounds once with an employee who thought tenure = promotion. She’d been with the firm seven years and felt she should have been promoted from associate to manager based solely on her years with the firm. In reality, the firm was only going to be another manager in our office if there was enough manager-level work to warrant creating that position, which I explained patiently while suggesting that if she wanted to be a manager with the firm that she might need to think about moving to another city where there was a manager position. She just didn’t get it.

  10. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Sadly, the manager is probably right about the social events not coming back as quickly as the corporate business would. I am in a group that typically has dozens of social events every year, all located in hotels (I attended 7 last year and 8 the year before). Every event for this year, starting from April and on, has been canceled. At this point nobody knows what’ll happen in 2021. Friends who attend similar conventions with other different groups, are also all reporting their events for this year being canceled. I imagine that business travel will come back long before the social events do. I cannot begin to imagine how much money hotels must be losing this year. I am sorry. Best of luck in your job search.

    1. Colette*

      Corporate is also probably a better place to focus since they will have more frequent events. People don’t have a wedding every year, but a business might have a convention every year.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This is the key. It’s the repeat call backs that are the main focus in most situations.

        Whereas a wedding usually brings in more money in a single pull than a convention because you give discounts to return clients, over the life span of an account the corporate account is worth more.

      2. Dagny*

        That, and weekends are approximately 100 days of the year, and weekdays are approximately 250 days of the year. Corporate events usually happen on weekdays, weddings, on weekends.

        There’s also the issue of vacancy rates without the events. If the area is a popular tourist destination that is normally full on weekends and holidays anyway, then adding in weddings is not a huge money-maker, but adding in weekday corporate events may fill rooms that are otherwise unoccupied.

  11. I'm just here for the cats*

    I really feel bad for the OP. One thing to note is that the person hired back was the one doing the corporate accounts. It makes sense to bring her back, even if you are more senior. She has experience with the corporate accounts. I’m not in the same industry, but from past work, experience, relationships with corporate accounts was a huge deal. She probably has the relationship with those companies and it can be a big step to build something like that from scratch with a new person. I know in a previous job when one of the sales team members left for another area in the company the had the person taking over meeting and calling everyone with the other person. There wouldn’t be that option in this case.
    Please dont take it personally. It sucks but it is a sucky situation.

  12. Abbynobody*

    Every single person who my previous employer did not bring back had a history of being confrontational, dismissive, hard-to-coach, and did not work to bring the rest of their team members up in morale or skill. I’m in one of those hotspots, and the sales can’t support a full staff yet, so yes, those people have not been asked back, despite them being more senior. With the current environment, teamwork and accountability are even more important, and this has been one of the most unique situations employers have gone through, and I don’t blame them for not wanting to bring back the more difficult team members- I couldn’t imagine having to manage through one of their squabbles about their teammates on top of all the health and safety precautions and overall sense of despair. It would break me.
    The people who have not been asked back can only see how they ‘deserve’ to come back before everyone else, due to senority, and are approaching it in this exact way, asking a lot of questions and overall just not thinking about the rest of the team’s attributes and the wildly changing markets effects on business. I’m not saying that is what has happened to you, but responding with: ‘let me know first if anything changes, I’m available whenever you need,’ would have gotten them a lot further than,’ What about how long I’ve been here and how good of an employee I am!?’, just because those two things don’t really matter anymore… they need empathetic, easy-to-get-along-with and compliable people who are going to put everyone else first.
    It’s possible that even though the outright message is other reasons, it could be your personality, too… things that made you very competitive pre-pandemic just aren’t as easy to handle with this very scary situation. I’m not going back for a reason just as confusing and hurtful as this would be, and I’m trying to make the best of it by making sure those empathetic and team-work skills are evident in my cover letters to new places. I’m also looking at trying to find jobs that may have some overlap with my hospitality & management skills that are in other sectors.
    Sorry you are going through this! How awful!

  13. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    First off, I can totally empathise and sympathise with you having been laid off – having been part of a similar layoff myself in the past! (though my situation was a little different in that although we were all laid off at the site except a small hand picked bunch of people, they were actually different job functions rather than ‘variants’ of a function such as sales).

    First, I’m quite surprised that the hotel is focused on corporate business sales when I expected the social sector to come back first.

    I don’t know a great deal about hotels (other than staying in them!) but it sounds like a legitimate reason is being given, when I assume they don’t really need to give any particular reason. Maybe they have got market research or other ‘intel’ to suggest that corporate bookings are the way forward in this particular location for example, or are trying to “pivot” to that?

    Secondly, I don’t think that market assignment should be the deciding factor, since she is currently handling ALL inquiries.

    Maybe if they can only have one person to handle all the inquiries due to budgetary constraints / headcount but are focusing on corporate bookings as a “money maker” it might make sense to hire back the person who already specializes in corporate bookings?

    Third, I feel like I have been insulted when it comes to my history with the company.

    Yeah, I think they ought to have acknowledged that more than they have, even if it didn’t change the eventual outcome, it’s bad form in some ways.

    I have a thought to contact the regional manager, as we have a rapport and maybe inquire if there were any other roles at any other properties. I don’t want to come off as Veruca Salt running to Daddy to demand my job back, but I feel so helpless and I want to do something. Should I back off or plead my case?

    There are two different things here. I think it’s legitimate to contact the regional manager and say that you’ve loved working for the X Hotel Group, you’re sad that you’re not being brought back but if there are any relevant opportunities at other X Hotels in the group, you’d love to be considered for them! I don’t think it’s “running to Daddy” in any way to ask that, but I think you need to be clear in your mind whether you have really “loved working at X Group and would love to work at another of their hotels in the group” or if it is just the (totally understandable) panic that “I need another job and I’m not above asking” … What I’m saying is don’t feel like it’s going “cap in hand” to ask about opportunities in other places in their group – since you are already known to the company and I assume you have a good reputation already, it’s of mutual benefit if they are able to take you on somewhere else in their group!

    1. Willis*

      I really agree with your last point. It totally makes sense to ask about other properties if you would be interested in working there. But, it kind of seems like the OP is thinking along the same lines with talking to the regional manager as she was with her current job. It wouldn’t be running to daddy demanding your job back any more than it was a guarantee to get your previous job back, because places don’t give you jobs or call you back because you think they will for X, Y, Z reasons that make sense to you. You would be approaching someone you have a rapport with to ask about other opportunities. It may be true that you have rapport with him and that you’re a good employee, but that still doesn’t translate to automatically getting a job at another property, even if one is available.

  14. EventPlannerGal*

    I’m sorry, OP. This is such a rough time for our sector.

    FWIW I am an in-house event planner for a large company and I do think your former employers are correct that corporate is going to bounce back quicker than social; I’m already working on organising exhibition stands, conference registrations etc for events next year. Corporate events like conferences are considered necessary in a way that social bookings just aren’t. But regardless of their reasoning, I think the key here is to focus on maintaining a cordial relationship with your references as the job market is going to be rough for the next little while.

    1. AVP*

      Yeah, I also agree with you here. I also think they’re making a pretty big bet on the economic effects of all this upheaval: individual household budgets are going to be hit more than corporate marketing budgets (or at least, a corporate event holds the possibility of making some money and thus may be more salvageable when people cut back on out-of-pocket personal expenses). But, that’s definitely the bet I would make right now as well…

  15. Delta Delta*

    I totally get the company’s response here. I’m involved in business-related things that involve conferences. I was also invited to 4 weddings this summer. Anecdotally, it seems like the conferences are the things the hotels are really trying to accommodate (I’m on a board of a large professional organization and I’m aware of certain efforts being made to keep our and other conferences in 2021), but that weddings/social events can be a little more flexible. Of the 4 weddings I was to attend this summer, 3 are moved to 2021 and 1 turned into a “let’s just have it in a field with people standing around far apart from each other” (I’m also told we are all to raise a bud light to the happy couple and someone with a drone is going to take an aerial photo of the toast – this is going to be so much fun) I also live in a destination wedding town and have seen a handful of weddings in the last couple weeks – they’re significantly smaller than I’ve seen in the past.

    So, all this to say that it is 100% possible the hotel is doing its level best to stay in business and is trying to figure out the most likely way they can generate income, which may very well be through the corporate events.

    I see other commenters are a little taken with OP’s tone. I take it with a grain of salt. She just found out she lost her job, which she thought was secure given her position in the company. This might be a little like a rant, but it may also be scared and upset, given the news she got.

    1. Uranus Wars*

      Yeah, I am with you on the last sentence. I really think that this is a tiny rant – in the reactionary way some of us get when we just got smacked with news we didn’t expect. Especially when it affects our income stream. I am so sorry OP!

  16. Portia*

    LW, this is a really sucky situation and I’m sorry you’re in it. Sadly, I think this is just a case where “life’s not fair” is the answer. If things had shaken out differently, Alison could have gotten a letter that someone who had done corporate bookings didn’t get her job back and the company hired back her boss to get paid more to do the job she used to do. That wouldn’t be fair either. None of this is fair and there are no easy answers.

    1. boop the first*

      Yeah, I feel bad and didn’t want to say anything unhelpful, but the second op wrote “but they hired back my less experienced coworker,” I pretty much shut down and thought, “well, yeah, that sounds about right.”

      Everybody knows that when there are more people than there are opportunities, (and also when there are more law-breakers than there are enforcement attempts) that Some People are going to lose out and be left in the dust. Nobody seems to realize that Some People can’t always be other people. Sometimes it’s us. We’re not so special as to be lucky forever.

  17. Bryce with a Y*

    My opinion is that it wouldn’t hurt, and might help, to express that you enjoyed your time with the company, are grateful for the opportunity to work there, and would be happy to come back should the opportunity arise.

    At the same time, you should be where you are wanted and valued, and right now, that isn’t at your former organization. It could be for any reason or number of reasons, most of which are out of your control.

    At the risk of spouting off empty platitudes, don’t look back…look forward instead. That’s my 2 cents.

  18. MagicalTeaCups*

    OP, this is a very hard situation. Give yourself the kindness you need at the moment. Network as much as is reasonable and keep a positive attitude. I find the people are loyal to businesses but businesses aren’t loyal to people. This may have been a decision from your boss or it may have come from a few steps above him. In any case, don’t drive yourself nuts because it may not actually be a personal thing.

  19. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    First of all, I am sorry that you lost your job. I lost a job once – 30 years ago – due to circumstances beyond my control, and my management’s – and you have to wonder WHY? and WHY ME?

    Second – welcome to, what Massachusetts state-level employees call the “DPS” – “Dreaded Private Sector”.

    There are few controls and even fewer job protections.
    Seniority doesn’t mean anything much. In fact, age discrimination rules the world (at least in the IS/IT world, where I’m from) , you might have a higher salary , and, as was likely indicated – your specific functionality may not be needed.

    Could you do the job of the junior person? Of course, in all probability – but unless you’re in some kind of union situation that contains seniority clauses , “tenure”, or bumping rights, they’re likely going with a lower cost option. In these times, expect it.

    And, as other have said – “corporate” is going to bounce back before “social” does. But, hopefully, there will be a vaccine soon, which may very well cause a resurgence of business – like we’ve never known.

    The lesson is = life isn’t fair. But, try to make the best of it.

    1. Uranus Wars*

      I actually have the opposite fear…the more senior I get the more I worry I’ll be the first to go, not the last. I’ve only been through one lay off, thankfully, but it was brutal and I am hopeful to not have to go through it again.

  20. Former DOS*

    As a former hotel director of sales there are sound reasons to focus on corporate sales over leisure.
    1) corporate will likely bounce back first; leisure will lag due to lack of individual disposable income.
    2) Corporate accounts need maintenance. It may seem silly, but booking major group sales isn’t always about price, it’s about relationships (with potential clients, locals Visitors and Convention Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, etc.)
    3) Landing major contracts (conventions/events needing multi-property housing) require working in tandem with the organizations I’ve listed above. Prior experience working with those groups can be crucial.
    Just the business reasons I’ve listed above would likely influence my decision to bring back my corporate sales mgr. over my leisure sales mgr. Seniority and my personal feelings couldn’t override my business responsibility.

  21. stiveee*

    So sorry, OP. I would be angry, too. Others have given good advice so I’m just here to say that your feelings are normal. And fwiw, this stranger on the internet cares about you and wishes you well.

  22. WellRed*

    Social might take longer to come back, true, but every corporate event so far has been moved online so I don’t think corporate’s a great place to be either.

  23. employment lawyah*

    Depending on the size of your company and your age (are you over 40?) you may have an age discrimination claim, should you choose to look into that.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      How is it an age discrimination. If the hotel is focusing on corporate sales, and the OP did social it makes sense to bring the person who has worked in corporate sales. even if that person has less seniority,.they have more experience with corporate and probably has the relationships.and connections already established.
      It would be age discrimination if they brought everyone back, except op and then hired a new person who was younger.

      1. Laid Off CSM*

        Just for the record, all 3 sales managers are in our 30’s. The only reason I have 7ish more years of experience than the others is just that I chose this career, stuck with it, and luck. (I also hope talent played into it.) The other two had pursued other careers or departments. I’m certain age didn’t play into this, but thank you so much!

  24. Stl-hou*

    What would you accomplish by going to the higher up? They are not going to give your job back just because you demanded. The higher up will not interfere with the decision, if he would, he would have been a part of the decision. I think going to him only to ask about other opportunities within the company is a good idea but definitely not demanding your Old job back.
    Also, i think you are putting way too much weight on seniority. Companies try to hire whoever is the best for the position. And for this position your coworker was best suited according to them.
    If you are similar in real life as you came across in the letter, they may also have not chosen you because you sound a bit like a know-it-all and difficult to work with (questioning their decision on corporate vs social, and all the other points).
    I hope things get better for you.

  25. Laid Off CSM*

    OP here. First of all, thank you to those who commiserate with me. I also really appreciate the advice. I just wanted to touch on those commenting on my “tone”. FWIW, I can assure you that my original query was written with some distress/panic. I can assure you my relationship with the company is a very good one. One of the reasons I am so upset was that we had such an amazing culture. Everyone (for the most part, of course) got along amazingly and I had great relationships with my coworkers and bosses. I was actually told to expect a promotion in the next quarter. I certainly don’t think I’m more important than anyone else. I just maybe got too comfortable with my spot there and perhaps let the friendliness allow me to forget that after all, it is business. I’m just so sad that my “dream job” has not worked out. Thank you again everyone.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think with this additional information, it’s even less personal than ever, despite how it feels to you right now.

      This is the flipside to everyone who hates that management is often too vague and seemingly unfeeling. It builds a false sense of security and hope in people.

      But it makes me want you to reach out about other properties even more. They most likely very much want to keep you but haven’t thought of asking you to change properties or finding another spot for you in general, since they know you of course want to go back to the spot you were doing well in :(

      This isn’t the end of a dream. It’s the the interlude to the next one. There are more than one dream out there, I promise xoxo.

    2. Uranus Wars*

      Agree with The Man 100% in the reaching out portion. So many have already talked about it, including Alison, but with this note I think you can do it. And now that you have had a bit to step back and check your emotions (which I knew by the “tone” were an emotional reaction to being blindsided) I think you can have a productive conversation. It may go nowhere, but it may go somewhere. You never know. Just give the RM a call to say “hey, I really enjoyed my job and understand, but if there is another opportunity that opens up in the foreseeable future please keep me in mind for it”

  26. Sparkles McFadden*

    Aww OP…I am so sorry you lost your position. Don’t forget that it is a true loss that you will have to grieve. I am sure you are distressed about the financial/practical side of things, but, oftentimes, the loss of a workplace that is a great fit is truly painful.

    I know little about the hotel industry. What I do know, anecdotally, from a business traveler point of view, is that many places rely on corporate clients. Without the “sure thing” of corporate clients, they probably couldn’t survive. I know that isn’t much of a comfort.

    I also know from experience that we as employees can never know all of the factors that go into a decision. That goes for hiring decisions and promotions as well as layoffs. It is difficult not to feel as if this is a personal rejection. You valued your employer and thought you were equally valued in return. You probably were…but they did their math and made the decisions accordingly. They did what they believed best for the business. Now you need to focus on what’s best for you.

    Definitely contact the regional manager and say inquire about possible job opportunities. They may not have anything but you’ll want to keep the lines of communication open.

    Best of luck to you!

  27. cheluzal*

    I’d bet my left ovary it’s because your salary is higher. It’s messy, unfair and gross, but oh so common–even before COVID!

  28. D3*

    Sounds like you made some assumptions – or maybe just hopefully optimistic leaps – that turned out not to be true. SO not only did you lose your job, your self talk turned out to be wrong, too. No wonder it feels harder.

  29. Sun Tzu*

    Or, you know, they hired your less experienced colleague and not you because they suck at making decisions.
    I’ve had my fair share of shitty workplaces to know incompetence is rampant amongst managers and bosses.
    Sorry for your case, don’t take it personally and think instead that they don’t deserve you. You’ll find something much better.

  30. eeniemeenie*

    Hey OP, I’m so sorry this happened. Many people will identify with your sense of helplessness and frustration here.

    I’ve dealt with a lot of hiring and firing decisions. It’s totally normal to feel betrayed or sad or angry even when you know in your head this is a business decision.

    Your boss has made a decision already and trying to convince them otherwise is only going to cause more stress for you and is unlikely to result in anything different. This situation sucks, the whole pandemic sucks.

    Sending good wishes your way.

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