Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Wet Seal Closing: Are Employees Better Off?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Wet Seal Closing: Are Employees Better Off?

Article excerpt

The coast-to-coast Wet Seal clothing store chain's abrupt closure of multiple outlets may be the emotional equivalent to being dumped by your fiancee the day of the wedding via text message, but like the bride left at the alter, some colorful benefits can come from being jilted by someone who didn't deserve you.

"If you were among those treated so shabbily by Wet Seal you have to realize all you were to them was part of a spreadsheet and all they are to you now is resume fodder," said Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace, a coaching and consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado in a phone interview. "This is an opportunity. The energy has shifted. The bubble of misery of working for people like that has burst. It's all going to be better from here."

At the moment, many of those left in the lurch by their employer are still engaged in the internet equivalent of keying the corporate car by posting signs in the store windows and on social media blasting the company's practices.

"Told us NOT to look for other jobs. Said we were re-modeling and getting in new product," states one poster at a Wet Seal location in Dayton Mall in Ohio. "Took away all of our benefits including sick time and vacation which we worked for, and were told we would receive. Btw, NO SEVERANCE PAY!"

Ms. Ryan, who coaches executives, human resource managers, and career-seekers said corporate America needs to take a lesson from this cautionary corporate tale.

"Boards really need to step-up their game," She said. "They need to ask the hard questions about the mental health of the culture and the CEO. CEOs need to over-communicate. Over-communicate! People would much rather navigate the twists and turns of the truth, than be lied to wholesale and blind-sided as it appears from all reports has happened with Wet Seal."

While this reaction by former employees was likely satisfying in the moment, Ms. …

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