Chelsea White’s performance reviews last December were stellar, reinforcing her belief that working as a teacher’s assistant at in a small, specialized classroom with children ages three to five was the right profession for the Orlando resident.
While enrollment had dipped slightly, the 28-year-old was not concerned and found her job to be rewarding.
"I get to work with kids, which I absolutely love, but I also get to have a job that brings some good to the world,” she said.
But the telltale signs were present -- the reduction in responsibilities, for example -- and the administrators at the small, private school had to cut funds quickly to pay salaries and bills. The rumors of staff cuts quickly became a reality as another popular assistant was let go days before White received her pink slip.
Being let go in December was a humbling experience as White submitted dozens of applications to both public and private schools only to be met with responses of having to wait for the winter term to resume after the holidays before they could consider any applicants.
“I certainly wasn't expecting to be terminated, yet that's exactly what happened,” she said. ”The holidays were right around the corner.”
Getting the ax while you're ready to deck the halls can certainly put a damper on the tidings of comfort and joy.
Why Employers Fire During Christmas...
Firing employees during the holiday season has become less taboo as companies are not as hesitant to fire or lay off unproductive employees when they are faced with rising costs and an uncertain outlook, particularly in certain industries.
“There used to be much more of a stigma about firing or being fired during the holidays,” said Steven Rothberg, president of College Recruiter, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based career website for students and recent college grads. “It still exists, but isn't the third rail like it used to be. Most employers today believe in the adage that you should hire slowly and fire quickly.”
While the timing might be poor, many companies have adopted this strategy, said Steve Spires, managing director of career services and an executive coach with BPI group, the Chicago-based consulting group.
“A vast majority of organizations run on a calendar year budget and year-end coincides with the need to achieve year-end numbers,” he said. "This often triggers the decision to reduce costs, including people and expenses to meet the budget.”