The phone call came at a little after 2 p.m. on the Monday before Labor Day. I glanced down from my computer screen to see my boss’s name flashing across my phone’s small display in large digital type.
It was at that instant I realized something was wrong. My boss often had meetings on Mondays and rarely came in. In fact, I realized she was in the office before I was that day. Like puzzle pieces falling into place or a mystery about to be revealed, I watched something flash before my eyes.
I picked up the receiver, and she said, “Can you come to my office, we want to talk to you.”
Sheer dread as I laid the receiver down.
I grabbed my notebook and a pen just for appearances, then everything went numb, the lights dimmed a little, and a sort of low-grade buzz developed in my ears. Probably high blood pressure, or so I’m told.
I didn’t hear much of the actual layoff. A few words. Your position, luxury, cutbacks, budget, sorry. Whatever.
Just tried to hold still and breathe through it like you do on the first drop on a big roller coaster.
It’s strange to just let go of everything you were working on, a load that is almost unbearable at times is now a pile of useless rubble, as there is no one else in the world who could possibly pick up where you left off. Or so you tell yourself.
Cleaned out a few things I wanted on my computer, handed over my key card and my company credit card and walked out.
A brief conversation with a former co worker in the parking lot got me thinking about this job as my past for the first time, and by the time I started the car and dialed in my wife’s phone number on the cell phone, I had a handle on the fact that I was just laid off.
Thanks God for kids, a wife and a mortgage. When you are forced out of a career that is so much more than a career, it’s good therapy to have to consider others over yourself.
My mind raced as I waited for my wife to pick up the phone. In those split seconds I was analyzing my reaction, the few questions my former employers asked and the future all at once. I saw it all go down again, but this time I was sitting on the window sill watching the boss and her layoff assistant struggle between pity and remorse. Or maybe I just thought that.
I found myself thinking about opportunities and excuses all at once. Some sort of apology I could give my wife for my failure before she would have a chance to think it.
I was beyond feeling sorry for myself and not once did I feel the embarrassment some thought I should feel. Bewildered but not surprised, I reached a conclusion that I had known this all along and that I had not planned accordingly. Whatever one needs to tell one’s self, I guess.
– Hi babe, how are you?
-Are you ready for the next adventure?