Vixxie abandons ship

On the 1st of March, I got fired. Everyone got fired, the company that paid my salary for over 13 years went bankrupt. Now, getting fired is definitely one of the rougher experiences of being part of the workforce, but some sackings are worse than others. Falling victim to bankruptcy as an employee with more than 10 years of loyalty privileges, is definitely high up there on the list of things I won’t even wish upon my sworn enemies.  I’ve got a couple of first-hand experiences, war stories and ways to get financially screwed over to share with you.


Opinions are plentiful. I’m leaning towards a combination of the current economical situation and poor decisions on the management front. Blaming the pandemic for everything, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the insane increase in energy cost, the logistic problems for shipping from Asia, etc are common answers to an obvious question. But the truth is that there were multiple internal struggles going on, way before the first covid wave hit us. Basically ever since our former CEO and founder of the company deceased. What followed were years of  biting off chunks much bigger than what one could chew, following every new fab on the web and investing in every fart in a bottle, obnoxious management causing capable key colleagues to quit, extreme micromanagement and an overall outdated 9-to-5 mindset on the work floor. And of course we all knew our ship was sinking, the numbers don’t lie. For many years did I know, but I chose to ignore the naysayers and kept drinking my own Kool-Aid until I was one of the last rats to abandon ship. Foolish, in retrospect.


We hardly had any time to get over the initial shock of packing up our workspace and heading home to never return. We were all left with a million questions. When you get fired due to bankruptcy, your every bit of security vanishes into thin air. Your life basically stops in a heartbeat and that plays a serious trick on your system. If you’re lucky, you have a bit of savings lined up. If you don’t, well you go in full-on panic mode much like I did. You try to get yourself informed at the affiliated trade union (they facilitate the administration required to receive unemployment money), but spend half a day listening to the music of the waiting tune. “Due to covid all the physical appointments are cancelled. Make an appointment online.” You try to make an appointment online, it gives you a date 2 months down the line. When you are literally sitting there in tears with no idea how you’re going to pay next month’s rent. So you call around. And call some more. And no matter who you talk to, you get redirected to the same trade union that you spent the last cents of your prepaid cellphone value on, waiting in queue. Well, I finally managed to reach someone from the trade union after 6 hours of trying. And I have to admit they were quite helpful, after I urged them ever so politely *ahem* for being a paying customer for 15 years who never in all that time required their assistance. I got in contact with a lawyer who would handle my debt claim vs my employer in court. A lot of information to digest, in a very rigid difficult language that opened up a whole new set of questions. But the lawyer was helpful, I have to admit. I managed to fill in all the required documents after shedding blood, sweat and more tears. Getting sent documents that need to be printed, filled in, signed, scanned and sent back digitally. How can one assume that everyone owns a printer, let alone scanner? I used to print everything at work, I don’t actually own a printer, nor do I need to because we live in a digital era, amirite? Not when it concerns court, we don’t.


Imagine having lost a relative, and searching for a nice, understanding and warm undertaker to organise a beautiful ceremony for your lost family member. But you get a cold-hearted c*nt who doesn’t give two shits about your sorrow, who writes in such a pretentious way that is meant to make you feel insignificant and is about as engaging as a person who’s been struggling with a burn-out for the past decade. In comes the curator. Of course you’re going to have questions when your employer closes the books and you have no idea of what awaits you tomorrow. Of course you expect a certain degree of understanding and human decency from the only contact person that you have left in this whole ordeal. I got ignored most of the time and been told once to just be patient, that my paperwork was on the way. And when all my ex colleagues already got all of them, I still didn’t the week after. “They were very sorry, there was a mistake with the outgoing mail.” Just what you need when the only thing standing between you and dinner on your plate next month is a pile of fucking papers. What I did get, however, was a letter from them to return my company laptop to some auction house within 5 days. They didn’t misplace THAT letter :’) Which leads me to a whole other war story.

When you’re fired due to bankruptcy, you’re basically ordered to leave your workspace immediately and just go home. It’s over, there is nothing left for you there. What I did NOT think of, was to delete my personal data and files from my old computer. I received a laptop to work from home during the pandemic, but my old computer was still installed on my office desk. Imagine the surprise when I saw my old PC for sale on the site of the auction house. I immediately e-mailed the auction house to inquire about privacy policy. I’m pretty sure I was still signed into Google on my old computer. Were they selling it “just like that” without professional wiping? Yes, they were. Did they have any intention of cleaning up personal data from the computers? No, they were not. And they even answered me “what does it matter? They don’t have your password to the account anyway”.
I can assure you that the facepalm that followed afterwards was one for the history books. So I asked them politely first if it would be possible to wipe my hdd before selling it to a buyer without knowing what intentions this new owner had. The answer was “no, that’s not our standard policy. We just sell as is.” Since there were confidential documents, bank accounts and password files on that pc, I decided to contact an ombudsman in the GDPR. Not entirely sure what happened after, but all the PC’s up for auction disappeared shortly after. I can only assume it had something to do with it, because I have a very hard time imagining it would be okay to sell a confiscated computer with sensitive data on it, but I’d have to click okay to share my cookies on every single website I browse to. Bunch of sodding amateurs.


Nothing that I didn’t already know, but I still acted surprised when not even 2 days after I got fired, I got a call from an outplacement agency. I mean… I had not even gotten my official letter of resignation at that point. I wouldn’t get that letter for another two weeks. The corpse was still warm but there they were, the vultures, the ‘very nice people’ who were supposedly gonna help me find a job (read: who were going to call me every week, “invite” me to their offices every odd week and send me to the dumbest most pointless obligated, teams sessions.) Sessions that were supposed to help me grief with the loss of my job *slap my ass and call me Sally…* and help me write a good resume when I’ve had top notch portfolio websites and designer cv’s for a decade. Yeah. The first time I attended a meeting with my case worker, he told me I came across as very defensive and slightly aggressive when I told him he should have done his homework better if he thought I needed help with my resume. YOU THINK??!!! All he had to do was google my name, after all. So he sent me to online readings about the colour of my personality, how to communicate better with people and other hippie shizzle instead. No, I kid you not. And since outplacement is obligated (if you want to receive financial help from the government) for people who work in the same place for more than 10 years OR are over 55y old……. most of those sessions were spent listening to grandma and grandpa making themselves feel better by yapping on about the personal achievements in their long pitiful lives. What I’m trying to say is that I worked for 14 years straight and non stop. I contributed for a rough estimated amount of 150.000 euro in taxes. Heaven forbid that I would take a week or three off to recollect myself and my thoughts, and reassess in what direction I wanted to move onwards. Receive unemployment money for a couple of months?? Unheard of!!!! I don’t have the right skin colour for that. Privileged white and all, off to work it is for me 🙂 (In retrospect, the joke was on me. The unemployment money I got paid has been deducted from the poorman’s handout I’ve gotten to replace what was supposed to be a severance pay). Not only did I not get a single cent of governmental support, I also suffered those butt plugs from outplacement wasting my time while job searching. I even showed up twice to a meeting and got stood up. First time was apparently a bug in Outlook that didn’t register my appointment and the second time it was a last minute emergency which made it impossible to contact me a few hours beforehand. Great show of efficiency. Oh, by the way, 3 months after I’ve been working for a new employer, I still get follow up phone calls from that same outplacement agency, and apparently I’m obligated to pick op LOL. Ha ha, nice try.


There was no information. Never, at any point, did I ever get a benefit or document without asking for it myself after finding out its existence through the whatsapp group of my ex colleagues. 

  • Resignation letter from the curator? Had to contact her office myself after two weeks of not getting my documents in the mail

  • Documents for debt claim? Had to find my own way through the maze and contact the right instances who allocated me a lawyer to file for it. The calculations are impossible to do alone, without the help of a professional.

  • A tax reduction card for my new employer and a tax reduction on my salary for half a year to which I’m legally entitled to (for being a victim of a bankrupted employer)? Would still not have known it existed if I hadn’t been told by an ex colleague. Even though it officially states on the government website that this card would be sent out spontaneously to those entitled for it. No, sir. That’s not how it happened. I did receive it digitally though only 1 day after I sent them an e-mail about it, so there’s that. 3 out of 6 months had already elapsed at the time of acquiring the document, pretty sure they wont refund me the tax money retroactively, it’s the government after all.

  • A link to follow-up my online case file? I found out there was such a thing in September, yet again through the whatsapp group, well over 4 months after I had received written confirmation that my debt claim had been sent off to the right instance. Imagine the surprise when I logged in with that link and noticed that it said “no claim has been received yet”. Two angry phonecalls to the trade union and its lawyer to find out that they had made a small error in my bank account number, which caused the claim to be queued instead of registered. For approximately 4 months, they were unaware of this queue and it was me who had to find out accidentally that my paperwork was hanging in the ether, unprocessed. It’s scandalous. At the moment of writing this post, I’m still awaiting payment due to this “slight overlook”, as they called it. Very nice response I’ve gotten from a lady saying she was “holding herself personally accountable for this mishap” while she apologized wholeheartedly. Very kind indeed but I don’t see her personally loaning me a couple of thousands of euro’s to pay my heating bill while the delayed payment rolls in. 


The wages, holiday pay, loyalty bonus and severance pay of an employee whose employment contract is terminated after bankruptcy are paid by the “Fund of Closure”, a loose translation for what is basically an insolvency benefit. However, the amount has a ceiling of 25k bruto. While I show you a quick and simple calculation, bear in mind that I worked for this company for almost 14 years and my severance bonus on termination of contract would have been around 44k bruto+salary+benefits etc = 53k. This amount is the start point, 100%.

100% = what I should have been paid by the ex-company and was legally entitled to.

47% of that amount = the ceiling cap of the Fund of Closure.

  – 13.07%  contribution for the Department of Social Security = 41%

  – 26.75%  contribution for taxes = 29%

 29% is what I should have been paid by the Fund of Closure

  – 13% that had been paid to me in the form of provisional unemployment money 

= 16% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only 16% of the amount that I was entitled to will be paid out to me thanks to this bankruptcy. 

I’m allowed to be sour when I tell you that the former CEO, before his death, withdrew a scrupulously large sum of money from his personal capital contribution to the company and bought his wife and his two daughters houses worth a total of +/- 1 million of euro. May he rest in peace, knowing I won’t be able to take a single day of holiday for a whole year because I simply can not afford 20 days of unpaid vacation. Here I am, 14 years of loyalty and I get a poorman’s handout. And receiving a quarter of the amount I was owed is not hard enough a slap in the face…. On top of that, since one is not legally entitled to unemployment money during their official notice period (which you apparently also are categorized under even if your company is bankrupt and does not exist anymore), the money I have been paid to “survive” the sudden loss of income, was deducted from the handout. I have thus, technically, paid my own unemployment money for 3 months from money that I’ve never received. 

Go make sense of that. 

Looking at a 4 figure energy bill every month though. Go make sense of that too.


I started working for a new employer in June. That definitely closes down a heavy chapter in the open book that I just can’t seem to close no matter how hard I try. Getting to work with a new team of friendly colleagues and without the negative atmosphere caused by the temper of our ex-bosslady, surely takes the sting off things. The dagger in the back after finding out that dinner parties have been going on between ex-colleagues to which I had not been invited. I would have probably not gone to any reunion anyway but it would have been nice to not been excluded from the invitation list. I can’t really see a reason why I would be. Perhaps because I chose to show the goodness of my heart and went for a cup of coffee with the CEO, listening to her version of the story and realizing that perhaps some pointed fingers weren’t completely justified. If that is the reason, then so be it. I wasn’t waiting for a reunion with my former boss but running into her after an appointment at the outplacement office and seeing her in emotional turmoil… who am I to deny a person closure and relief when all I had to do was listen. I don’t see anybody else following my example and going a good thing. Alas, things are what they are and I’m happy that soon, when my payment finally comes in, I won’t have to ever look back.