Monday, August 31, 2009

Life Doles Out The Sour Citrus

Well, here it is, the last day of August and I'm sitting in front of a monitor, fingers on keys typing away. Something I've done every day for years - a few months more than 20 years, in fact. Another typical Monday for a Married Father of two. Except the venue is different these days. Decidedly . . . homier . . . you could say.

Because, well, it is home after all.

And so in that respect everything is different about this Monday. In fact, just about everything has been different every day for the past 5 months.

It was on April 3 that things changed. Had I been more curious, I might have noticed that the meeting notice my manager had scheduled a few days prior was not quite in line with the usual meetings she scheduled with us. Longer, this one. Kinda had a vague-ish subject. And not back to back with similar meetings for the others on the team like usual. It was also scheduled in the cafeteria. It's not an unusual thing for meetings to be held there, except my manager was usually very good about finding appropriate meeting rooms . . .

I only recall a slight unease as I headed down the elevator and toward the seating area of the cafeteria. I'm sure I dismissed it as the typical twinge one feels when going to see one's supervisor one-on-one about something. See, I had just been given a raise not even a month prior. Even though the economy was tanking and Management had warned us that very few if any of us would get any raise at all - my manager was extremely pleased with me and my work performance and pulled all the strings she could to get me the maximum raise possible. She had even given me an important and challenging assignment for this year, proving her confidence in me and my ability to get the job done.

But then I caught sight of her and immediately sensed something. My smile sagged and my shoulders drooped a little. A few more steps closer and the alarm in my head started banging away at full alert. I could now see that her eyes were red as if she had been crying. This being completely out of character for my "no nonsense" boss, I was now quite shaken - Something serious was about to be related to me - My mind reeled with the possibilities . . . Was her team being disbanded? Had some or all of us been reassigned to other teams or duties? Had someone died? My thought in that instant though was that, whatever it was, I could handle it - there would be a change, but that's often a good thing . . . I had just gotten a raise . . .

Then she said something - we were going to another place so we stood up and she led the way. I remember a numbness; There was a soft buzzing sound and a vibration in my limbs. Through tunnel vision I saw people passing by in a slow motion blur. I have no idea if I was smiling or grimacing. Then, as if through thick, cold molasses the two letters naming our destination finally managed to push themselves into my consciousness: HR. We were going to HR! The alarm in my head flew from it's mount and exploded - and in a defensive spasm my thoughts were taken over with trying to think of anything I might have done to have gotten myself fired.

But before any concrete thoughts could come together in my head we arrived at a small meeting room in the HR office. The door was closed and I was being introduced to a younger man who, I noticed when I shook his hand, seemed to be much more nervous than I. He was shaking. Strangely, I was not. In fact I had suddenly grown very calm. Even as I was being told that I was being laid off, that my job had been eliminated due to market downturn and budgetary constraints, I was returning to a much more normal state of being. My normal senses returned, and I actually felt sorry for the two people now sitting facing me, their faces full of concern, sadness and regret. Sorry that they had to be the bearers of such unhappy tidings.

My first words at this news? "OH GREAT!"

Now, as I sit here in hindsight, I wish I had said something with much more force; Though I'm not sure that even the obvious "F-word" choice would have done justice to the event. . . For there was so much more I didn't know about what being laid off means.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

News Flash! This Blog Is Not Dead . . .

Well, it has been a long time since I've managed to post something. And a lot has happened over the eight months since my last post - The most dramatic thing being that I was laid off in April.

I'll surely be able to get a few posts out of that, but a lot of other things have happened that are blog worthy too: Our beloved dog died. We managed to get a small vacation in. Both of our children have started a new phase in their education. A favorite Aunt passed away. I even managed to sign up for Facebook!

Look for my musings on these and other topics in the near future.