Thursday, September 30, 2010

Laid Off

Yesterday, I was shown the door. "We would appreciate it if you would leave", were the exact words of the two cold pale men across the table from myself and two of my colleagues. Funny this is a social service organization and that's as much compassion they could find for three long term employees. I worked there for three years which is a record for an organization with such a high turnover rate. My colleagues Mr. W put in two years of hard labor and Mr. L was released after 13 years.

"Your position has been eliminated.", the usual refrain for those who get laid off. Someone is guaranteed to hear those words every quarter. "Your position has been eliminated" means the organization has changed the job title for the same duties. Four times a year, employees scoured through the online job postings postings to see if their job description appears. Its a life on edge I gave up a year earlier. I knew my day was coming, but admittedly I was shocked as the new Chief Operating Officer called the group in for the 4 o'clock meeting.

" You can apply for the new positions, but we reviewed your resumes and you just aren't qualified." He said sliding a three year old resume in my direction. The one I submitted when I applied for the job. Ok up until this point I was calm but this was ridiculous. No. This was an insult. He really told us to apply for our own jobs and then told us we were unqualified to do the work we were doing for years. Surely the file he retrieved the three year old resume from contained my last three job descriptions at the organization. I wanted to scream "spare me the theatrics." We are going in a different direction would have been sufficient.

They escorted us to our cubicles. I noticed the pile of files I was working on just before the meeting. I stopped short of putting them away. I don't work here anymore. "You can collect your personal items on Monday when you receive your severance package."They watched through the glass windows of the door as we walked into the lobby. I looked up at the photographs on the wall. It was a wall of fame of sorts. Each of the photos belonged to my former clients. I recalled their stories as I passed. The 19 year old the bad attitude. I got her her first job at a major tourist attraction. She told everyone I was her aunt afterwards. My clown of a client who got that job as a porter in a restaurant. Then there was my favorite the one who got a cooking job after spending years in prison. He looked beautiful smiling in front of the restaurant wearing a white chef's jacket. I loved them all. I was going to miss seeing their faces in print.

I remembered our current clients. We did not have a chance to say goodbye. We each developed relationships and we were making progress. There was no closure for any of us.

So much had changed since I lost Pop, and It was about to change again. I was once the star of the organization, now I would have to be my own star. I would have to trust my faith.

Two happy hour drinks later, I arrived at home soaked from the rain and began to pack for my trip to Connecticut. My friends wedding was this weekend. I got laid off, and I am on my way to a social gathering when all I want to do is mope. What kind of timing is this? I guess God doesn't want me to descend into a state of depression. How can I? I am the maid of honor. I am reading a poem. My friend is depending on me. I am going to celebrate. I am going to move forward.