Things aren’t going too well. I feel guilty about writing that, since some people have real, scary problems, and most of my problems are of the annoyance variety, but there it is.
I got fired in December. Whenever I talk to my parents, my mom says, “say laid off, not fired.” So anyway, I guess I was technically “laid off” since they eliminated my position due to budget restrictions, but it doesn’t feel any different. Plus, there were five people with my exact job and two of us got fired. I had the least seniority and the other guy had the most seniority. Translation: I was in the bottom 40th percentile in my job. Or even worse, they thought all three other people did a better job than me. I wasn’t the best person at my job, but I thought I was still better than two of those three. (Notice I’m assuming I was second on the chopping block, not first. I guess my ego needs its defense mechanisms.)
The worst part is that they fired me over the phone. I mean, really? I had that Tuesday scheduled off for a couple of weeks, so it’s not like they didn’t know I’d be out of the office. Maude had to go to New York on business, so it was just me and Rod all day. He started freaking out at about 4:00 pm, we think due to a thrush infection. Maude had just got back from New York and was waiting on a call back from the pediatrician and I was washing a syringe so we could feed Rod with it since he couldn’t bear even having a bottle in his mouth. Maude hands me the phone and says it was work. Stupidly, my first thought was that they were calling to remind me to bring something for the Yankee Swap the next day. Instead it was my boss’s boss and the company’s legal counsel.
My boss’s boss asked me we could talk or if it was a bad time. I told her (over Rod’s shrieks) that I had a crying baby and could we talk tomorrow? Of course, it didn’t matter that it was a bad time. She said she wanted to send out an email this evening so we’d better talk now. Blah, blah, blah, and of course I knew at that point that I was getting fired. It’s amazing how much they want to say to you. “You’ll be receiving a FedEx package tomorrow morning with three checks. One is for your outstanding pay as of today. The second is for your unused vacation time…”
Finally, my boss’s boss asked me if there was anything I didn’t want mailed to me from my desk. This caught me off guard. “You mean, I shouldn’t come in tomorrow?” I asked. “No, it would be better if you didn’t.” Sure enough, THEY MAILED ME THE CONTENTS OF MY DESK. What kind of messed up b.s. is that? I understand (but don’t agree with) the indignity of having security escort you off the premises, but to not even let you clean out your own freaking desk? I am still curious who got the job of emptying my drawers and examining every piece of paper to determine if it was work related or not. Had I known I was getting fired, I would have gone to the newsstand and purchased a puzzling and disturbing array of magazines to leave in my desk drawers. Cat Fancy, Guns & Ammo (with post-it notes on every page), Archie comics, and hard-core pr0nography. True to their word, a week after I was fired, I received a FedEx box with my personal effects in it. They did not, however, include my box of Kleenex or the Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi I left in the fridge. I am still considering my legal options.
So basically, I took a Tuesday off, and I haven’t been back since. I haven’t had any contact with my supervisor or boss. My last words to my boss, my supervisor, and my co-workers were, “See you on Wednesday!” I guess that’s not uncommon, but it seems weird to me. I thought my boss and I were chummy; he offered to give me his TiVo for God’s sake! I guess not. I didn’t even get a phone call from him. In the weeks after I got fired, I’d remember little things and get upset all over again. My supervisor assigned me a project in November that she made due on the Monday before I got fired. I remember thinking at the time that it was an arbitrary deadline, since it didn’t need to be done for another few weeks, but I forgot all about it. But it irritates me now to know that she knew way in advance and didn’t give us any hints. My boss had said everyone in our department should be safe until at least July 2009.
What really sucks is that I had made plans dependent on being at this job. We got a daycare place nearby so I could drop Rod off on the way to work. I was planning on taking a class this semester (employees get free tuition) and I had about 7 books out from the institutional library. Also, it was a hard job to find and pretty cushy once I was there. No overtime, few deadlines, and I could listen to my iPod while I worked. It’s just depressing to think that my next job almost certainly won’t be as nice as my last job. It’s supposed to go in the other direction.
I shouldn’t be upset since it was a nice place to work, but I really think they handled it poorly. It reminds me of the Seinfeld where Elaine is dating a nice guy, and she doesn’t understand why his ex-girlfriends throw drinks in his face when they see him. Only when they break up and he calls her “big head” does she realize that he’s a Bad Breaker-Upper. That’s how this job was. There were some nice people there, they gave four weeks vacation (!), which is unheard of, and there were some nice side benefits, but ultimately they fire you over the phone and rifle through your desk. I guess I’m the big head.