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  • Very OT: Life changes



    It was not due to performance or any disagreement among partners (there were only 3 partners). The reason I was given is the economy. We have not been profitable for two years and went from a staff of 20 last summer to 7 remaining today. The decision was supposedly made that in order to survive the recession, and engineering team and surveying team had to be kept, while the Land Planning, Landscape Architecture function was not critical.

    I believe there was a little more to it in that the majority partner, who made the call, wants to retire. He knew that I was not a likely buyer of his stock, since at 53, I was not that far from retirement myself. Four of the seven guys that remain with the company are under 30, one has been with us less than 2 years, right out of college and another graduated last spring. To reiterate, this was completely out of the blue. I was not even given any severance, just the two weeks of vacation pay I had stored up. To make matters worse, I have an employment agreement that keeps me from competing with the company for 2 years.





    Also, I wanted to let you know that if you need to contact me, please use this new email address: dlneubec *at* hotmail *dot* com.







    All the best,
    Dan N.

  • #2
    Re: Very OT: Life changes

    Originally posted by dlneubec View Post

    It was not due to performance or any disagreement among partners (there were only 3 partners). The reason I was given is the economy. We have not been profitable for two years and went from a staff of 20 last summer to 7 remaining today. The decision was supposedly made that in order to survive the recession, and engineering team and surveying team had to be kept, while the Land Planning, Landscape Architecture function was not critical.

    I believe there was a little more to it in that the majority partner, who made the call, wants to retire. He knew that I was not a likely buyer of his stock, since at 53, I was not that far from retirement myself. Four of the seven guys that remain with the company are under 30, one has been with us less than 2 years, right out of college and another graduated last spring. To reiterate, this was completely out of the blue. I was not even given any severance, just the two weeks of vacation pay I had stored up. To make matters worse, I have an employment agreement that keeps me from competing with the company for 2 years.





    Also, I wanted to let you know that if you need to contact me, please use this new email address: dlneubec *at* hotmail *dot* com.







    All the best,
    Wow Dan, so sorry to hear about this. I can imagine that this was quite a shock indeed. Did the non-competing agreement include any severance if something like this was to happen? Since you were a partner, did they at least have to buy you out?

    I understand a lot of what you are saying. I have been doing what I do for twentyfour years now. If my plant closes, no matter how good I may be at what I do, I am essentially unhirable due to my age and experience. What irony - I have too much experience to compete for a job in my field of expertise! Needless to say, I am watching what is happening in the automotive industry very closely.

    I look forward to seeing you next weekend.

    Jeff
    Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

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    • #3
      Re: Very OT: Life changes

      Originally posted by dlneubec View Post

      It was not due to performance or any disagreement among partners (there were only 3 partners). The reason I was given is the economy. We have not been profitable for two years and went from a staff of 20 last summer to 7 remaining today. The decision was supposedly made that in order to survive the recession, and engineering team and surveying team had to be kept, while the Land Planning, Landscape Architecture function was not critical.

      I believe there was a little more to it in that the majority partner, who made the call, wants to retire. He knew that I was not a likely buyer of his stock, since at 53, I was not that far from retirement myself. Four of the seven guys that remain with the company are under 30, one has been with us less than 2 years, right out of college and another graduated last spring. To reiterate, this was completely out of the blue. I was not even given any severance, just the two weeks of vacation pay I had stored up. To make matters worse, I have an employment agreement that keeps me from competing with the company for 2 years.

      Hi Dan,
      I would definitely talk to a lawyer about your situation. I am not the type to typically give this kind of a response, but it sounds to me like you definitely have a case for an age discrimination lawsuit. At a minimum, it may cause them to pause and reconsider the severance situation, which does not sound fair AT ALL for someone with your history of service...

      I may be wrong, but I also thought that anti-compete clauses were for situations where the employee was leaving for greener pastures, of their own accord. That's not the situation here. So I would definitely ask the lawyer about that too... I don't see how they can lay you off, and then keep you from working in your field. That doesn't sound right either...

      I hope that things do work out well for you. I'm not that far behind you in age, and I worry about the same thing happening to me.

      Take care,
      Steve H.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Very OT: Life changes

        Originally posted by Jeff B. View Post
        Wow Dan, so sorry to hear about this. I can imagine that this was quite a shock indeed. Did the non-competing agreement include any severance if something like this was to happen? Since you were a partner, did they at least have to buy you out?

        I understand a lot of what you are saying. I have been doing what I do for twentyfour years now. If my plant closes, no matter how good I may be at what I do, I am essentially unhirable due to my age and experience. What irony - I have too much experience to compete for a job in my field of expertise! Needless to say, I am watching what is happening in the automotive industry very closely.

        I look forward to seeing you next weekend.

        Jeff
        Hi Jeff,

        No severance is required. The company does not have to buy my stock, because my percentage of ownership exceeds the threshhold where there is a guranteed buy back. The forumula value used for valueing the stock is extremly low right now, so unless I can find someone who has more money than sense, it is unlikely I can sell the stock, given the last 2 years of losses. The company and then the individual partners have first right of refusal on any offers I get.

        At this point, as much as it pains me, my best option is probably to hope that they pull things together and come through this, just so my stock has a decent value and I can unload it in the future.
        Dan N.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Very OT: Life changes

          I'm sorry to hear of this Dan - I am underemployed right now due to the "economy". My wife works in the architectural field and she is very nervous right now. It is sneaking up on hard times all over right now and all we can do is hang on for the ride and hope we get through to the other side with our sanity.
          Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Very OT: Life changes

            A lot of people will survive the economy by working a cottage based industry...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Very OT: Life changes

              Sorry to hear about your life changes.

              I know several people in your situation (age and experience wise). it is a tough situation.

              Your avatar photos screams "unique product with a unique look/image". The rest is marketing and business 101. I say go for it.
              Thanks,
              Zach Tripp

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Very OT: Life changes

                That's a tough situation Dan. It seems like we are in similar industry (I don't recall if we discussed this at Dayton or Lexington?). I was laid off for the first time in my life 2 yrs ago (though I saw it coming and had already interviewed with another company..that didn't need me for several months). Had to learn all about unemployment benefits, etc. the hard way. Needless to say anything land development/civil engineering related is in the toilet right now. Well, except for government (local/national) related projects, especially infrastructure. That's where I retreated to . My compensation has taken a beating, but I'm working...and happy. Heck, I might even start building loudspeakers again :rolleyes:.

                cheers,

                AJ

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                • #9
                  Re: Very OT: Life changes

                  I have lost work more than once in the last 4 years. Nothing seems more daunting than trying to provide for your family while looking for work. Last time I was off work I found that networking was the key to getting work.

                  1. Call the paper and find a current list of area business networking groups.
                  2. Call each networking group host and find out what the expections/focus are.
                  3. Get color business cards for yourself. These should describe what you are looking for,
                  4. Go to the group prepared with a short 1 minute advertisement.
                  5. Have trusted peers review your resume. This should be done by those who are knowledgeable and brutal.
                  6. Write a personal cover letter and thank you letter for each submission/interview.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Very OT: Life changes

                    Sorry to hear about your crappy luck Dan.

                    I am recently re-employed after my plant was shut down Jan 13th so I too can empathize. I've changed industries while leveraging my existing skill set to at least get employed.

                    I'll be honest with you, the normal avenues of job search are pretty grim right now. My strong advice to you would be to talk to everyone you know or have worked well with in your industry including key vendors. Very few good jobs go to strangers these days. I hit the ads and such real hard without any real luck. My opportunity came from a referral by a colleague laid off the same time as I and with whom I didn't even work that closely. More than ever it's who you know. I would also strongly suggest you hone your resume to a razor's edge and get it to all the recruiters that work your industry. If you're not familiar with it, Indeed.com is a nice time saver.

                    Have to agree with AJ, a buttload of those stimulus dollars are slated for infrastructure projects. Looks like a growth segment to me. Even if that's not really your bag, there are always pieces that will be. More and more places add landscaping to roads, bridges, etc. Even the interstates in SC and FL get some median beautification.

                    So what about "greener" acoustic barriers for infrastructure projects? "Sounds" to me like an industry specialty segment you could champion.

                    Last piece of frXee cheap advice, make getting a new job your new job. Approach it with the same energy you do your usual work and things will fall into place naturally.

                    Best of Luck,

                    bb

                    Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.
                    - Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Very OT: Life changes

                      Sorry to hear about the work situation. I would certainly second the suggestion to talk to a lawyer before walking away. It will cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but it will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything you could, and removing those second doubts is easily worth the cost of the discussion with the lawyer.

                      If you are serious about following up with designing speakers, please consider helping me realize the Audiodevelopers concept. The original idea was to provide a collaborative web site where developers could hawk their products independently but have enough communication between the developers to provide complementary products. So Audiodevelopers would be a "collective" where people could buy amps, cabinets, designs, and services that all work together.

                      I've been paying for the www.audiodevelopers.com web site for several years but so far I haven't had enough time to even set things up. Until I retire or get laid off, I just won't be able to do much with Audiodevelopers, although I've been steadily building up a supply of hardware designs and software that I will need. I'm in the opposite situation from you: I'm at a good age for retirement at my current job and I've asked to get laid off (so I can collect 25 weeks of severance).

                      One of the products I would like to sell on Audiodevelopers that may interest you is the active speaker design tool, which is at this link:
                      http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Software/BCD.zip
                      This program is the active speaker version of Jeff's PCD program, and it allows you to read in measurement data and then tweak embedded DSP circuitry inside certain digital amps to achieve a target response. An example of the hardware this code will control is in the picture. This is a 50/50W class D amplifier with 5 biquads for each channel, where each biquad can implement any 2-pole transfer function (lowpass, highpass, peaking, notch, bandpass, etc.). To this could be a very cool amp in need of a nice speaker. There is a mini-USB connector to program the board, but once the software is loaded it will initialize itself without connection to a computer.

                      Anyway, I'm just offering some ideas that you might find interesting because you said you wanted to continue to design speakers. I'm not trying to drag you into some speculative effort or give you some misplaced hopes, because I myself have a lot of doubts as to whether a venture like this could be profitable. Fun, yes, profitable, ???.

                      Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Very OT: Life changes

                        Originally posted by Steve H. View Post
                        Hi Dan,
                        I would definitely talk to a lawyer about your situation. I am not the type to typically give this kind of a response, but it sounds to me like you definitely have a case for an age discrimination lawsuit. At a minimum, it may cause them to pause and reconsider the severance situation, which does not sound fair AT ALL for someone with your history of service...

                        I may be wrong, but I also thought that anti-compete clauses were for situations where the employee was leaving for greener pastures, of their own accord. That's not the situation here. So I would definitely ask the lawyer about that too... I don't see how they can lay you off, and then keep you from working in your field. That doesn't sound right either...

                        I hope that things do work out well for you. I'm not that far behind you in age, and I worry about the same thing happening to me.

                        Take care,
                        Steve H.
                        I must say I agree with you on both points - First, the company would have a hard time defending against age discrimination, given all of the details. And second, I don't think they can terminate Dan and then invoke the clause that says he can't compete in his field. I also think he should ask these questions to an attorney.
                        Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Very OT: Life changes

                          Dan,

                          Sorry to hear about your situation. Having survived 14 rounds of layoffs at Nortel before moving on, then having the next company close all satellite offices from under me, I've become a bit of an expert in layoffs and job hunting.

                          The important thing is that you aren't taking this as a reflection of your person or performance. For example the high tech industry has been very difficult in Ottawa and I know many loyal, talented and hard working people that are laid off right now.

                          I looked into non-competes both with a Canadian and US company, and my understanding is that these aren't enforceable except if it involves securing your old companies customers away from them. That's my understanding, though legal advice is warranted.

                          A labour lawyer will provide you options but I know in Canada there are minimum severance durations per years of service. Several companies try and get around it by declaring the layoff "temporary" using legislation that was meant to apply to seasonal work however this has also been fought and won, in Canada. With your experience, this should be a straight forward unless local laws are clear on the matter otherwise. Are there not federal or state laws defining minimum severance, based on years served?

                          Many people are using LinkedIn now to stay connected with old coworkers and past connections. It may be worth your look, given its free. Going forward, its best to stay networked outside your immediate industry and within. Its all word of mouth right now given that its a buyers market.

                          As far as an independent speaker career goes, I've pursued the idea several times and asked those in the field for advice. I've never had anyone recommend it. As put to me, if you're idealistic and can live on long hours with very soft pay, then its worth a consideration.

                          Best of luck, I hope you land soon.

                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            Re: Very OT: Life changes

                            Originally posted by Jeff B. View Post
                            I must say I agree with you on both points - First, the company would have a hard time defending against age discrimination, given all of the details. And second, I don't think they can terminate Dan and then invoke the clause that says he can't compete in his field. I also think he should ask these questions to an attorney.
                            I would definitely see a lawyer about this. I know of one other case just like this where the guy won. He had to be hired back, received back pay for his time off, and he had all his lawyer fees paid for. He then work for about a month and then went to another company. The reason they tried to get rid of him is they didn't want to pay his full pension. They let him go weeks before he would reach the age at which he would get his full pension. They tried to send him off with only half his pension! That's a big sum of money. A really bad move on the companies part, in the end it lost them a really good engineer who knew all the in's and out's and probably would have continued to work many more years with them if they hadn't tried to screw him over.
                            It's not how far you go, it's how go you far http://techtalk.parts-express.com/co...es/biggrin.gif

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                            • #15
                              Re: Very OT: Life changes

                              Dan, I feel for you, I've been there too, It hurts and take a bit to get over, but things always have a way of working out. Might want to check this job opening, http://thielaudio.com/THIEL_Site05/Pages/Jobs/jobs.html , might just be the job you are looking for. I was thinking about going for it but I like being retired to much.

                              Good Luck.
                              Ed
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