Habush Habush and Rottier

Monday, January 31, 2011

You're Fired (From Epic)!

When you lose a job, you go through the same grieving process that you go through when you lose a loved one. You're probably familiar with the five stages of grief, or the Kubler-Ross Model: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Right after Epic fires you (probably at the beginning of the month, at your workplan meeting in the afternoon--you can leave early with no regrets and the end of your 6 week period will coincide with the end of the cafeteria accounting period), you'll start the denial phase. "But...at my last performance review, you gave me great reviews..." "But...you gave me a huge raise this year, and the year before that..." These are common. You're not the only one--it's just how things are done at Epic. Read the reviews at Glassdoor, and read this blog from fellow anonymous blogger (not me; I wasn't an implementer). Pick up the pieces, know that accountability is not part of the limited management training, and start looking for your next job. Yes, you're really fired; no, there's nothing you can do about it. But you do have time to prepare.

Anger: you'll start reading online about how Epic gives people the shaft ("We're not in the business of growing our employees."--various TLs, possibly even Judy Faulkner herself), and you'll start wondering "How can they keep doing this to people?!" Resist the temptation to turn off journaling in all environments and wipe the cache database. It'd just be recovered, and you'd get in big trouble. Channel your anger into something productive, like pottery or reading the HR manual (aka the red book) cover to cover. You'll come to your senses once you realize that while Epic isn't in the business of giving references or helping you find a new job, they can definitely make it a lot harder.

Bargaining: There are passages dealing with disciplinary actions at Epic that may interest you. They mention a probationary period, after which there's an evaluation and they'll see if you're improving or not. It's worth a shot bringing this up with your TL, but in all likelihood it will be a futile pursuit. Try it anyway, and make sure you get everything in writing. Paper trails are your friend. Pull out all the stops. If you have lawyer friends, get them on the case--Wisconsin is an at-will employment state, but there is still such a thing as wrongful termination. Age discrimination (or experience discrimination) are the elephants in the room that no one talks about. Epic doesn't like publicity, especially bad publicity. Lawsuits grab all kinds of negative attention. Give it a shot, and see what happens. At the very least, try and get out of the non-compete. The red book mentions the process (submit a written request to the HR manager, who then forwards it to Judy), but in practice the HR manager will just say that Judy refuses them all and you'll be SOL. Try it anyway. Threaten lawsuits. Bring lawsuits to bear if you can. Hopefully, you'll get something out of it. If not...

Depression: Get over it. No one is going to hire you with that attitude and your roommates/family can't stand to live with you right now. Put your rocket-ship underpants on and look for something to do while Epic's non-compete is in effect.

Acceptance: Congratulations, you're ready to begin your job search.

Hopefully this process goes by pretty quickly for you, and you only lose a week or so of your still employed but definitely fired time. Later posts will deal with networking, resources to exploit, and all the other stuff you may want to know after your limbo time runs out.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Purpose of This Blog

This blog is intended as a resource for former- and soon-to-be-former Epic Systems Corporation employees. Having been recently fired from Epic myself, I scoured the Web, turning over every stone Google could show me in an effort to find information about what ex-Epic employees did during their non-compete year(s). I came up empty handed. In the true spirit of American Exceptionalism, I saw here an opportunity. This blog will attempt to fill the void in information and hopefully answer your questions and give you useful advice for putting your Epic skills to work in the real world.

Hopefully you'll see this blog the day you get your "It's not us, it's you" notification from your TL (team leader or boss for Non-Epic folks). Standard Epic operating procedure says that you'll have 6 weeks to complete or hand off any open projects; during this time you are free to look for your next job. Epic will probably ask you to resign. This will get listed as a "voluntary turnover" on their ledgers, which looks a lot better than involuntary turnover rates.

Every bit of advice you've probably heard up to this point in your career says that it is better to resign than to be fired. Like many things, Epic defies the norms here. Epic skills are in high demand everywhere in the country. The day you put your resume on Monster or Dice, you will get phone calls and emails asking you when your non-compete is up so someone (hospital or consulting firm) can hire you.

When your TL asks you for the your resignation, make him wait. If you find a new job within the 6 weeks, resign. If you don't, make them fire you. Every recruiting firm in the nation has dealt with Epic; they know the culture. They know that even though you were fired, it's through no fault of your own and it's just Epic's way.

First takeaway point: Don't resign. Until you have an exit strategy, don't resign. Once you have an out, by all means, get out. But if you don't find a job in the 6 week probationary period, make Epic fire you. This will come in handy later, if you need unemployment benefits, Badgercare, food stamps, etc.

That's a wrap for now. Subsequent articles will deal with maximizing your job search, spreading your network, and finding meaningful work that doesn't violate the non-compete. If I figure out how to get the non-compete overturned or voided, that information will be given to you ASAP.

If you have specific questions, leave a comment. I'll moderate them, so don't be surprised when they don't show up immediately. I'm posting as Anonymous TheAdministrator so I don't get blacklisted. I don't know for sure if Epic does that, but I'm not taking any chances. That being said, I can point you to resources on LinkedIn--just leave your name/email address in the comments (which I alone moderate) and I'll send you an invitation to join my network. Your personal info won't display anywhere on my blog. Good luck in your job search.