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 email@example.com 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."
- Business Spotlight: Cranky Al's has grown from desperation to a Wauwatosa institution
- Business Spotlight: Duckpin bowling alley has been an exercise in creative thinking
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: The Flower Lady stays true to the Village, and finds room to grow
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Perspective Design specializes in being a generalist
- Business Spotlight: Tosa Bowl and Bun
- Business Spotlight: For Loriena Harrington, the land kept calling her back
- Colonel Hart's is a bar that will make you feel like family
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: At Legacy Gym, it's not just about abs
- Business Spotlight: The Wauwatosa Historical Society keeps up to date with the past
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Chiropractor found his way by a fortunate accident
- Business Spotlight: On a quest for good brews, they found a World of Beer
- Business Spotlight: Jenny Kyle Smith hits the sweet spot after years of struggle
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Kirchen's Car Sick Art is more art than cars
- Business Spotlight: Wauwatosa-based Irish Fest Center does more than put on a summer festival
- Business Spotlight: Sheeley Service puts the zip in your beverage of choice
- Business Spotlight: Face time is the best time for photographer Stephanie Bartz
- Dog trainer finds it's people who need aid
- Business Spotlight: Russ Drover finds beauty in the original
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: When he left the corporate world, he made new arrangements
- Business Spotlight: For Ruckus & Glee toy store in Wauwatosa, it's all about play