Life After Lay Off: Week 1

Your boss asks you to come up to her office and you know it’s not good because in the eight years you’ve worked there you could barely get her to even answer an e-mail, much less grant you a meeting. When you arrive you instinctively close the door. You note that the witness she has chosen is a woman whom you’ve considered a sort workplace mother figure - onewhose shoulder you’ve cried on many times. Even though you know there has to be a witness you wish it wasn’t her.

As you hear the news the tears begin to flow – silently, but humiliating nonetheless. Your boss is saying something about how hard the decision was and how it breaks her heart, and the snarky voice inside you laughs at the charade. Your co-worker/witness offers a hug and you shrink back. “Don’t you get it,” you want to scream, “You are the enemy in this scenario.” You let her hug you anyway. You know they are just following a script that calls for their characters to be sympathetic; almost apologetic. The part of you that left your body as soon as you entered the room is hovering in the corner as an objective observer and wonders just who is supposed to be comforting whom. Finally you ask if you can leave.

You go back to your desk; somehow managing to not trip as you go down the stairs. You pick up a box and put it on your well worn black office chair. You know that if you sat in it your chair right now and leaned back you’d still have a brief moment of panic thinking you were going to fall, because even after all these years you still never got used to its tilt. For some odd reason you check your e-mail and then delete them all while still standing. People chat behind you at the mailroom as if everything is still normal. You pick up a picture frame and put it in the box then remove it and place it back on your desk. You realize that there is nothing you want to take with you because it is all worthless now. Symbols of when you mattered. You take the box off your chair, push it under your desk, pick up your purse, and you walk out. Your sole goal is to get out of the building without falling completely apart. It’s hard to maintain any dignity at all when you’ve just been told you’re not good enough, but you’re determined to hold on to what little of it remains. The receptionist smiles at you curiously because usually when you leave before 5 you tell her when you will be returning. Surprisingly you are able to smile at her before you push through the paned wooden door of the firm for the last time.

Somewhere between the parking lot and your own driveway the ugly tears are unleashed. By the time you reach your front door you are a hysterical mess in full-blown snotty cry.
Your neighbor has also just come home and when he says hello you are unable to respond. You can only shake your head through his concerned questions. You are glad he doesn’t try to hug you.

It’s weird to be in your living room in the middle of a weekday. Even the cats look confused. You lie down on your couch and sob for two hours. It’s too much to process. It hurts too much to even try to think about it.

You wash your face before your son comes home. As soon as he walks in the door you ask him to sit down and calmly tell him the bad news. He takes it remarkably well and somewhere underneath your own pain you feel proud of him.

Then you go to bed, where you stay for the next five days. You cry until there are no more tears and then you fall asleep. Whenever you wake up you cry some more. You refuse to talk to anyone. You don’t bathe. You don’t eat. And every morning when the sun comes up a part of you is disappointed that you didn’t die during the night.

You know you have to get up, but you are too terrified to try. A week ago you had purpose.

Today you are unemployed.

Comments

Rob said…
Wow Riggs Abney laid you off? Riggs did Lay offs?! Ive heard they are having problems but didnt know they were that bad off. Sorry.