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January 21st, 2014

by Total Food Service

The Tragedy Of Closing A Business


by Andrew Catalano

Walking away from a business for whatever the reason is a humbling experience. Whether there is a good exit plan or not the pain of defeat exists. The investors scramble to minimize his or her investments, vendors push to get paid and avoid losses, the landlords worry about damages and the vacancy, but what about the little people who live from paycheck to paycheck or that older worker who has been with the organization for years and worries about landing a job with equal value.


In most situations prior to a closing or for that matter realignment (layoffs) there is this terrible eerie feeling within the company that creates that deep sharp pain in the bottom of your stomach. The spectrum of conversations ranges from everything from things will work out, to run as fast as you can. Having ever experienced this and also trying to maintain some level of professionalism and comfort to the existing staff takes a lot of perseverance and inner strength.

As for the staff that remains after a layoff or the few remaining that exit the building together there is a numbing feeling, but a sense of commonality of the people and a weird feeling of belonging. I can only guess that when people leave a bad situation, there is this forever bond, and no matter the future of each individual there will be those war stories and a comfort when people tell of their fight to keep the status quo. 

Whether your business is a restaurant, hospital, manufacturing and so on, it is never easy and the outcome of defeat for people will take its toll. Even the people that land another job right there are thoughts of what could have been and what could have been done differently to avoid this devastation. The real sad part of this tragedy is the majority of the people affected were the least responsible for the closure. Many times the reason for failure is the lack of focus and vision, maintaining accountable, and not knowing the direction of the business. There is one thing for sure when a business closes; there is always enough people to point to and the people that are pointing the most normally contributed the most for the tragedy.

Now if you are one of the people that fit the tragedy scenario then what have you done to prepare for the next tragedy. Our business world is evolving and personal development is what is required to stay resilient and employable. The only thing one can say is listen to the under tones, the noise factors, and the basic ethics of the business. If there are too many questions that are not addressed by the business leadership then one can speculate that there is trouble brewing like hot ooze of a witches’ brew that slowly burns the life out of people.

Keep in mind the tragedy for most of us was out of one’s control but the reality one must think of are what steps could have been taken pre and post the inevitable. For some of us we need that healing period and possibly a support group for no other reason but to vent. The next step in the healing process is to take a self-inventory and one must spend a lot of time thinking and soul searching. If at the end of this self-search you realize you are missing something then go and get it. Now that the inventory is set, get ready to be pummeled during the interview process. It could be from a person that does not know how to interview or is just insensitive. A lot of work for interviewing is humbling oneself but display confidence, knowledge, and passion. Finally be ready to try that job that you never thought was possible or a different career path. Some call this risk taking but based on the tragedy that was just realized how much of a risk are we really taking? Explore all options and never turn down the opportunity to talk to people in the business community. You never know what the next corner will bring so consider everything and for no other reason learn from the conversation. 

Pursue your dream, be true to yourself and never, never give up.

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