Quit my job at Fourth – here’s the story

How much of your time I need: 2 minutes

A lot of people on LinkedIn have shared news about their layoffs. Many have learned that regardless of your tenure, you could get kicked to the curb in seconds.

I have a similar story. But great news for me: I have enough reliable freelance work to fly solo. I don’t need to find another job. My job search has been uninspiring, so I’m taking myself off the market. And instead of a conciliatory message, I have a real scoop to share.

(Quick fun fact: When our CMO originally found out I worked freelance, even though my clients were not competitors, she threatened me with legal action.)

I was fired/quit from Fourth last December. It was a bit contentious, and most of the non-management marketing Americas staff were laid off a couple of weeks later. It’s pretty safe to say I was a marked man.

I was on my third boss in eight months. She gave me a PIP I didn’t agree with. The only time in my career I’d received written notice of poor performance.

I was blamed for failed ABM campaigns that weren’t my own but that I implemented. Also included were missed deadlines and failures to better optimize or report on advertising campaigns.

I also worked too well supporting our international teams in their own paid campaigns for my boss’s taste. This was in my original job description, but I get it. The Americas region took priority. Almost all of the international team members were laid off shortly after, regardless of tenure, in favor of mostly new, USA-based team members.

Not mentioned in my PIP:

How I warned leadership in many meetings that our ABM campaigns were poorly thought out and would inevitably fail.

Those missed campaign deadlines were due to factors outside my control. Issues included leadership failing to choose an asset for a paid campaign, or picking an asset but getting stuck vetting it with other departments.

I’m not entirely blameless – I failed to deliver a campaign the Friday before I received my PIP. Got caught up elsewhere. Three days seems more conversation than corrective action-worthy to me, but I guess in my third boss’s head, I established a pattern of behavior.

• Our website was undergoing a very-hyped transition that often led to leadership refusing to approve new paid landing pages or even updates to organic content. Calling it tough to optimize ad campaigns when the landing page you’re leading them to is still, frankly, garbage would be mild.

One part the PIP got right, but only by coincidence: I was disillusioned with Fourth. I was not putting my best work forward. In my mind, I couldn’t.

I refused to sign my PIP and quit immediately. Ignoring feedback from the team was already the name of the game. But blaming me for issues I had personally raised was a step too far for my own pride.

It’s water under the bridge now. Mostly.

If you need a hype man, I’m your guy. Check me out at my Services page – dedicated website coming soon.

#marketing #layoffs #advertising #leadership #management

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