If there's one thing Craig Pelnar knows, it's the pain of corporate downsizing - because it has happened to him. Twice.
The first time was after 16 years with the company. He went in for a review.
"And 90 seconds later, it was like I had a bullet in my head. My boss said, 'Due to corporate reorganization, your post has been eliminated,' " Pelnar said.
Fast forward 20 years, to the fall of 2010, and it was déjà vu, all over again.
The upheaval was all the motivation Pelnar needed to take his nearly 35 years of human resources experience and start Counseling & Outplacement Group LLC, a job- and life-coaching business.
Pelnar runs the start-up out of his house, a stone's throw from Wauwatosa, near 83rd Street and Lorraine Place. But mostly, he meets clients in coffee shops and delis, connecting quite a bit by phone and email, even Skype, helping with everything from resumes and job searches to career planning and personal development.
These days, Pelnar also contracts directly with downsizing businesses, meeting with employees shortly after they've gotten the bad news.
"I meet with most of them before they've even talked to their families," Pelnar said. "I cry along with them. They call me Captain Cupcake."
His services are often part of severance packages for employees suddenly adrift in an uncertain job market. That's part of the reason Pelnar also offers some emotional support and advice about dealing with the stress of job loss, which he said can erode the best of marriages, wear down the most committed of parents and leave once-confident employees shaken.
"If you've ever been let go once, you never sit in your chair comfortably again," Pelnar said.
His goal is to take clients from a fire to a hire. But he also hopes to help them find a new path, as employees and as people.
"Whatever I do when I'm through with my clients, I want to make sure they're in better shape than when they came to me," Pelnar said.
If you would like to suggest a business to be featured in the Business Spotlight, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (262) 446-6643.
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Counseling & Outplacement Group
PHONE: (414) 774-8315
OWNER: Craig Pelnar
TYPE OF BUSINESS: employment services and life coaching
PEARLS OF WISDOM: "If you've ever been let go once, you never sit in your chair comfortably again."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Therapist finds himself enriched by a life shaped by transitions
- Business Spotlight: Milwaukee Map surveys the world from a small store near you
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight Yoga instructor practiced the art before it was all the rage
- Business Spotlight: Alfa Flower shop weathered some tough years, and has flourished in the economic
- The wheel of life keeps rolling at Johnson's bike store
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Bridgetown Framing Gallery
- Wauwatosa's Harwood Hair makes styling about more than hair
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Arte Wine & Painting Studio
- Business Spotlight: Wauwatosa yoga and massage center aims to bring body and mind into focus
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Tuesday's Child
- Wauwatosa's Village is home to stores, restaurants — and museum exhibit design, of course
- For Josh Saiia, there's olive oil, and then there's olive oil
- Business Spotlight: Designing, contracting go hand in hand for French Country Pine
- Sisters took a chance on Wauwatosa Ruby Tap, and soon there will be one in Mequon
- Business Spotlight: Salamander changed shape, until it took on women's clothing
- Business Spotlight: Wauwatosa's Fair Trade is a retail shop in the 'helping people' sector
- Christian book business in Wauwatosa is a gem, but not a small one
- Wauwatosa's Bloom Floral does wedding flowers with a conscience
- Business Spotlight: Fiberwood Studio is not just a yarn shop
- Pet project in Wauwatosa pays off for owners and animals alike