While I had clarity last Monday, I don’t have complete clarity after what happened last Tuesday. And that’s okay. I have been experiencing a range of emotions not unlike the grief cycle. When I walked out of the president’s office after being let go, the first person I saw was one of my dear friends, EPW. She had just returned from dropping off another of our coworkers who had been let go. She took one look at me and swooped me into the supply room away from all the cubicles. I was bawling and physically shaking I was so upset, and then I leaned over and nearly threw up. She decided to take me to the bathroom, and in there I went from nearly throwing up from crying to slight clarity and cuss words. Yes, I was ready to “cuss and discuss” as she likes to put it. And then more of my friends began to trickle into the bathroom, so I got teary again, and awfully sweaty. Leave it to me to wear the sweater that fits tightly on my arms and traps in all the sweat when it’s triggered on the day my world drastically changes.
We eventually left the bathroom so I could return to my desk to begin the process of separation. My boss came in and said he had just been told the night before and hated to see this happen. He said he barely had enough time to go to the bookstore that night to get me something he hoped would help. I’m now currently reading A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser. He also got me a lovely card, which I knew I couldn’t read until I got home, so I packed it into a box to save for later. My boss is a good man who believed in me and let me run with my own projects. He never micromanaged and had a propensity to make me laugh with some of his one-liners. After he left, I was absolutely devastated and profoundly sad as I and my friends at work packed up all my belongings and toted them out to my car. But we got all of it out in 1 trip, a nice visual of how many good friends I made at my job.
I drove home feeling surreal. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. Every morning I prayed for my company and for the business development people to bring us new and repeat business. I thanked God for my job and all of the blessings that have come with it. Not once did I ever feel completely comfortable, or settled in, if you will. I consciously remained mindful of and present in the fact that I was fortunate to get paid to do what I love: work with the written word. So it hurts to be let go from a job I so loved. It hurts to be plucked from my daily routine, the daily lunches I had in the kitchen with my friends, the emails I received from program managers telling me it was a joy to work with me and when was our next program together? It hurts to not sit across from the girl whom I used to be afraid of at work, whom I ended up bonding with and being a bridesmaid for the very first time in her wedding. What fun it was to watch 3 of my friends at the office get engaged and walk around the office shooting rainbows. How neat it was to watch another’s belly grow and be able to rub it when he kicked. I’ll also miss the annual bake sale fundraiser put on by a friend to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Let’s not forget my fellow Italian who was always game for a lunch outside of the office if it involved pasta or calzones. I even found another coworker who has hyperhidrosis! Definite bonding occurred with that one when we discovered we weren’t the only one in the office who made her keyboard messy.
Maya Angelou said, “We can make family as we make friends.” I will take these people with me. They have become my family, and my employment or lack thereof can never take them away. I will not give away my power. I will triumph in the face of adversity, which may be easier said than done at the moment. These coworkers who became my friends were placed in my path for a reason. If it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten through the toughest time in my life about 2 years ago. They were the ones who picked me up, took me out for drinks, let me cuss and discuss, and rallied around me when I thought I had nothing left. For that, I am thankful. I even told the president and VP at my friend’s wedding that I was holding them partially responsible for getting me that place in the wedding party. I sent Christmas cards to the owners of the company, even! That’s another thing– I’m going to miss the birthday cards that were circulated around the office by the office manager for each employee! I’ll miss writing in others’ cards and receiving my own with messages from everyone. I saved those cards. Love is in the details.
Today and in the coming weeks, I am focusing on the little things in life that make me happy, and my language. I was at Petsmart the other day to get dog food and happened to stop at the bird cages. I never stop there. But I saw some very pretty zebra parakeets (or something like that) and some parrots that were pretty cool. It was nice to stop for a moment and watch them hop from branch to branch and hear their chirps. When I went down the dog food aisle, there just happened to be a $4 off coupon sitting on the shelf for the exact brand of food I was going to buy. The morning I was let go, I snapped a picture of the sunrise on my way in to work; there was a clearly visible cross in it.
As far as the language goes, I want it to reflect my beliefs and how I see myself. Take this sentence for example: I believe in God. versus I believe in Satan. One word changes everything! I believe that I will find another job where I can live out my passion for the written word. My words can take me from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Thank you to my friend Jane who took my first post-layoff phone call. Many of these ideas and wording have come from her after we shared breakfast at Village Inn. They have pretty good potato pancakes, P.S., which rounded out my layoff dinner from Chick-fil-A quite nicely. Not that I’ve been stuffing my face with greasy food or anything to feel happier for the 20 minutes I’m consuming it. 😉 Thanks also to Emily who brought me a very fitting bottle of wine the next day. Did you know Dave Mathews does wine now? It’s called The Dreaming Tree. Yep, it has a tree on the label and quotes from his song lyrics on the cork. So here’s to new dreams that I will share with old friends as I create the next phase of my life.
(I bet my neighbors thought I was nuts when I took my empty wine bottle out to the front yard to photograph it in the leaves.)
I am grateful to my employer for taking a chance on me almost 4 years ago, for seeing in me the passion I have for what I do. I am grateful for the professional experience I can now put on my resume for others to see. I am grateful for all of the fabulously wonderful people with whom I worked. I know that I can return to the office and check in, and I already did so this past Friday. For a taste of bravery, try going back to your office after you’ve been let go. It was very hard to open that door and run into coworkers I hadn’t said goodbye to on Tuesday. But I’m so glad I did it. I know they will welcome me with open arms when I return again to tell them the news that I’ve found something else. It will be okay. God can dream a bigger dream for me than I can dream for myself.
Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle