For the past 12 years I have worked for the most amazing company. I found them when I was newly married and my husband had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome. We were both working at the time but I felt an urgency to look for a second job. I didn't know why at the time but my husband ended up being so sick that summer that he was unable to work at all and my second income would become a huge blessing. Through my job search, I found Career Step. The owner was Andrea, a single mother with a beautiful 5-year-old daughter who was often in the office with us. Sometimes I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to play with the boss' daughter or "work." I quickly came to understand the vision she had for her business and that was to help women take care of their families by offering them the training to become medical transcriptionists like she was. Her skills as an MT allowed her to provide for her daughter and be there for the crossroads in her daughter's life. Not only was she committed to helping the students of her program lead a better life, she wanted that for her employees too. As her employee, I always felt valued and appreciated. When my first child was born, I was able to continue working from home. She encouraged me to put my family first and as I did I was able to have the time to accomplish all my work responsibilities as well. I felt so blessed and lucky to have such a rewarding job. I felt comfortable bringing my children any time I needed to go into the office--in fact it was expected that they would be by my side. Andrea created a team of loyal and hard-working employees. When the company would reach milestones she would throw huge appreciation parties. When we were small and there were a handful of employees, I remember our first appreciation bonus being a $50 gift card to a local upscale restaurant. As the company grew so did her parties-- The last party she threw for her employees involved flying them all out to Los Angeles, putting everyone up in a hotel, paying for admission to the Disneyland Resort and enough Disney Dollars to cover food expenses for the day. I believe there were close to 100 employees. Her generosity inspired us to work harder and be better and we believed in her and her vision.
Her daughter has just recently graduated from high school. Andrea is remarried and has 3 little ones at home and she has been ready to spend even more time with her family. She was looking to find the right people to carry on her vision. Thinking she had found them she sold the majority share of her company earlier this year and we all had high hopes of the company continuing to progress while upholding the Andrea's vision. However, it quickly became evident that these new owners and management were only concerned with one thing--the bottom line. Morale within the company was low as employees started to feel unappreciated. Every summer that I have worked for Career Step I have known that I could put my children's needs first and still get my work done, but not this summer. This summer I had the feeling that I was not allowed to put my family first and even though no one ever came out and said that, it was certainly the "vibe" that emmanated from our new management--who seemed to have their own families on the bottom of their list of priorities. I woke up every morning praying that I would do what I knew to be right. If I stayed true to the vision I could be at peace with myself no matter what the outcome.
Last week I was abrubtly "let go" from the company and the only reason I can think of is we had philosophical differences. I believed in what the company used to stand for but now they seem to be on a different trajectory. I was told that they no longer needed my position, but I was over social media and web 2.0 marketing, work that they will continue pursuing. I feel so sad, like everything Andrea worked so hard for over the years has been destroyed in a matter of months. I feel hesitant about sending people to her amazing product afraid that they will not receive the same quality students once received. My heart breaks because of the direction I see the company going and I feel that it does not fit the vision of helping students or employees. In my eyes, it is only money driven. I wish the company the best. I truly hope that it does succeed and that Andrea's vision will resurface. I hope that they will continue to offer the quality training they have in the past. But all I can do now is hope...
I have always felt that if you do good for others good will come back to you. When Andrea was at the head of the company, I felt like so much good was coming back to Career Step. I can't complain about my time at Career Step. I am so happy that I was a part of it. I can't even number how many times my association with this company has blessed me and my husband and our five children. I will always be grateful for the time I worked there, but now I am grateful to move on.