Sunday, November 19, 2017

When the Dream Job Ends...

One of my very best days at my Dream Job. Gonna miss it, especially my friends there.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Obviously, the person who said that oft-quoted cliche meant to comfort has never been laid off from their Dream Job. Exactly one week before Thanksgiving.

I was WFH... working from home... my swollen ankle propped up on a stack of pillows. I had taken a tumble in a poorly marked puddle in the bus tunnel on Tuesday, went the to doc on Wednesday and was feeling grateful that an X-ray revealed "no fracture." Still, it hurt like hell to walk, so I was taking an extra day to heal up when an instant message popped up from the HR director: "Please come to my office."

I'd worked at this company long enough to know exactly what that means.

I answered back: I'm working from home.

What's the best number to call you on? she asked.

Five minutes later and my heart was broken. I barely remember the conversation. Something about "I'm very sorry to tell you, but your position has been eliminated. Thank you for your service. Good luck."

This wasn't just about a job I loved, this was about being ripped from a warm and supportive work community. I looked forward to going into the office. I admired and appreciated my colleagues. Sure, it wasn't always wonderful, but it was always a place I felt I belonged.
I'd seen others before me go through this "re-org" process, blindsided by decisions made by bean counters beholden to stockholders. It would be so easy for me to wail and cry: Fuck Corporate America!

As it turns out, I didn't even have to go there. Friends and family and now-former colleagues went there on my behalf, calling the timing cruel and heartless. I got a steady stream of texts and posts on social media. When I posted the sad news on Facebook, the outpouring of love and support helped get me through the initial wave of searing hot pain.

Grief is a process, and I've been sad, shocked, angry. I've tried bargaining, asking the HR person if there was the possibility of another job at the company that no longer wants me around. Nope. I've felt strong one day, but weak and defeated the next. I wake up and then remember what happened. It's a nightmare.

Yes, of course, I believe there's something out there for me. I will survive. I've been through worse, the death of my parents, the end of my newspaper career, the challenging years being a freelancer, always hustling, never knowing exactly how it's all going to turn out.

I know this isn't going to kill me. I hope it makes me stronger. But getting there is a real bitch.

1 comment:

Pat Cunningham said...

I had the same thing happen to me - I started working at Sur La Table in May of 1999 and was working for the President of the company who was also an owner and pretty much out of the blue in January of 2005 I (and 10 others) was called into a meeting in a conference room with the director of HR and we were all told our positions had been eliminated by the (fairly new) CEO - I had no idea at the time that a CEO trumped both the Chairman of the Board and the President who were the family that owned the company at the time. We all had an hour to get our stuff and get out (my boss the owner did go to bat for me and I was allowed to come in the following Saturday and get all of my stuff). It was mind-blowing and although you do get over it in time, the feeling never really goes away - you think you are part of a family owned business and that these folks are not only your co-workers they are your friend and then you never hear from most of them again.