Friday, February 29, 2008

Flower the Road

"Flower the road as you quietly walk on out.” This is a quote from “First Shop of Coffee Prince” – a Korean drama I reviewed a few months ago.

I got laid off in January. I’ve been struggling with it for a while but couldn’t find it in me to be public about it until now. I probably should have been blogging the process or minimally journaling it but I just didn’t have it in me. It took me a long time to really write anything. I had sort of shut down.

I knew that layoffs were coming, but I thought that they were related to unfilled positions in the office. On January 15th, an out of town representative from HR arrived as I was blithely going on with my tasks. At 10:00 am, I was called into a room by my supervisor and told my position was being eliminated. The role I was in was being recategorized and I could stay in it taking a $7,000 pay cut, or I could leave on March 15th and accept the severance package I was being offered.

Hard to absorb all that in a span of 15 minutes. Mr. HR was there to explain the severance package, what benefits would continue to accrue throughout, we talked about COBRA, and the myriad of services the company offers to staff that have just been marginalized. “We’ll help you with your resume, your job search, we’ll send you to a class to learn how to interview…” bwaahh bwahhh bwah bwah bwah. “Oh, and we recognize that this is hard news, so if you like, you can go home for the day.” Uh, f*ckin’ A I’m going home for the day.

During many of the intervening days I dropped the ‘f’ bomb a lot. I am a single parent and I was terrified. I followed that by getting advice from family, friends and former colleagues. I got solid advice on next steps, finances and analyzed all options. I asked a lot of people to pray for me.

One fabulous piece of advice I received was to behave “Flawlessly”. That was hard. That was reeeeelie hard. I didn’t struggle with the bitterness; I let it blanket me like a soothing protective cocoon. I had been told that the force reduction wasn’t personal; it was business. I decided that that being the case, no one should consider my change in attitude personal either, in fact, they could all go F themselves and I wouldn’t take that personally either. That was the anger stage of my grief and I embraced it.

The worst day was when I cried at my desk. 25 years in the workforce; I’ve never cried at work. Ever. Bad for the sisterhood. But as soon as I got into the office, the last straw had been placed on my back, I put my head on my desk and wept. I didn’t just sniffle. I wept those hard, wracking sobs that you can’t stop; you know, the ones that make your eyes sting all day? Fortunately, I sit in a place where no one can see or hear me. After a few minutes I pulled myself together. The emotions were just below the surface however, and if I allowed it, I could have started off on another jag and let rip. Which I did in the car on the way home.

I got my shiny new resume out there. I shored up my interview skills. I bought two new suits. I interviewed with one company, the process of which took three weeks and several hours of my time and theirs in an attempt to establish a “fit”. I apparently didn’t "fit" because they “decided to go with someone else”. That sucked. The next day, I interviewed with another company and I had an offer letter three days later.

I will start the week after I leave my current employment, take my 2007 bonus, thankyouverymuch, pocket my vacation, bank my severance, and go to a company with terrific and less expensive benefits.

It is easier for me now to behave “flawlessly”. The crushing fear is gone; the excitement of change is upon me. I’m going to start cleaning up and clearing out. I’m going to say goodbye to colleagues and will look forward to meeting new ones. I am grateful for the advice, the support, and the prayers that helped get me through this incredibly difficult time.

I’m going to start flowering the road as I quietly walk on out.


Anonymous said...

Yeommy, (you know who you are)
I knew we were soulmates from our first letters. The Ghost and Mrs, Muir is also one of my all time favs. as many times as I have seen it cannot gibe up watching it whenever it is being shown, like last week for instance. No matter that I knew ewery word of the dialogue, still love it.
take care M'dear
Geommy (you know who I am)....

E said...

Oh Geommy (a name fit for an amazon)!

How you make me smile! Yes, we are soul mates. I hope that someday we can sit together and watch Captain Gregg finally take Lucia by the hands forever. "And now, you will never be tired again." *Sigh.


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