Sunday, February 8, 2009
At A Loss
I realized today that I have not yet mourned for the loss of my job. You know, the one that cut me adrift six weeks ago. I know I wrote a bit about it and vented a little here and there, but then I started to enjoy the freedom of not having to punch a clock day in and day out. There remains the practical consideration of money, however. I do need it if I want to continue to eat and watch T.V. and have a roof over my head.
Then, suddenly today, I started to feel real sorrow. I loved my job. When I first started there, I felt as though I had been yanked up out of Purgatory into Heaven. I was well paid and felt valued. I could wear jeans if I felt like it and bring Rigby to work if I wanted to. I had my own little office with a sunny window and a desk that I helped to design. I was allowed to choose the color and style of the cabinets and countertop. I picked out the shade of celery green paint on the walls. I lined the window shelf and countertop with plants. I brought in all my music and loaded it onto my computer so I could listen all day. I burned fragrant candles and worked happily away at my own pace for the most part. At certain times of the year it was insanely busy, but even that felt good...the satisfaction of having done a good day's work when I punched out in the evening.
I got along well with most of the people there, and I felt that my supervisor was truly a good friend. It was a great job, the best job I've ever had.
On the day I was laid off, my supervisor told me I could just leave anything I didn't feel like taking that day. No one else would be using my room, he said. Maybe he was in denial too. I took everything I wanted and threw the rest away, except for the two "excellence" awards that I left on the shelf as an ironic statement.
Today I was in the area, so I drove by my old workplace. I had heard that due to the downsizing, the building is now too large and pretty empty. To further cut costs, they decided to lease half the space to a different company. The few remaining employees were all moved into one half the original space.
As I drove by my old office, I saw a silk flower arrangement sitting on the window shelf of my little office room. My office! Someone else's flowers! A shock of realization hit me...it's really not my office anymore! Someone else has taken it over and now it's their office. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. Even though I knew there was a chance I would not be hired back, today for the first time it feels real. If another company is leasing part of the building, they can't just toss them out after a few months. There literally won't be any room for any of us to be hired back.
My son said, "Mom, cut your losses and move on. Looks like you really will have to find a new job now."
With seven percent unemployment and companies still letting people go, that will be much easier said than done. I really have to say goodbye to that part of my life-the past seven years. I know I'll never see most of those people again now. I don't even have their phone numbers. Many of them live hours away and we had little in common other than work, but still... Writing about it now, there is a lump in my throat and I want to cry. It's NOT FAIR!