Sunday, February 22, 2009

Exit. Expendable. Ecstatic!

A co-worker who has connections approached me on Friday to tell me confidentially that we are among those slated for the next layoff this week.

"Really?" My grin was ear-to-ear. I noticed her glum expression and remembered that there are people who, despite stress-induced illness and a general dissatisfaction with their work, still prefer the unpleasant they know to any change.

I spent the day singing and being in the best mood. Of course I couldn't say why. I called SP to whisper the news:

"I'm being laid off in about a week."


"You are so jealous," I whispered.

"I'm so jealous," he acknowledged.

By knowing ahead of time, I can get things in some order to make the inevitable chaos that will ensue less of a nightmare for those left behind. I can also start transporting home the small jungle of desk plants left behind by others laid off before me. As I dealt with piles of paperwork and file-uploading, I kept thinking, "I won't have to do all this in a little while. I won't have to worry about chasing down some final lien waiver. I won't have to send a gajillion reminder emails about quarterly accruals to people whose estimates will be a half-million-dollars off. I. won't. have. to deal. period."

I smiled all through the phone call about title insurance and recorded subdivision surveys and parcel sizes. I will never again have to repeat that I don't make those decisions or have the information they need to reach a conclusion.

My purported severance check will not be huge, but it will be. I don't know about health benefits and of course can't ask for details, because I'm not supposed to know.

If there is one thing I do know about, though, it's starting over. I've had enough changes in my life that this is just one more. I've known people who were laid off; they either responded by facing their situation and finding ways to pay the bills (one friend worked several jobs including part-time at a Target), or they get all undone. I'm thankful that I'm not afraid of uncertainty.

Yesterday I broke the news to the 13-year-old intern, telling her I'd make sure she had someone new to report to, giving her a big hug and telling her how proud I am of her and how much I enjoyed working with her.

"I don't want to cry," she said, her pink lip-gloss trembling.

I promised her I'd email her my personal information if she ever needed a reference, and for her to drop me a note from time to time to let me know how she'll be doing.

Today I told the boy. He looked stunned, and I felt terrible. I was reminded how hard it is for goodbyes at that age; I'm used to them, and have had a lot of change; they take it much harder. I promised him he'd be fine.

I'm really going to miss them; they rock out loud. They are a combination of adorable and impressive. They give me optimism for the future.

So rumors are flying of course, but we won't know for sure the extent of the next purge until the board meeting tomorrow, My running joke is that we have a corporate bulimia: we Board, we purge. One of the older Construction Managers sent me a nice message of appreciation. Once the announcement is formal, I can touch base with the others. I have entertained myself by wearing the Freudian Slippers that SP bought for me and sent to the office. (of course, he thought that the numerical ranges indicated age, not shoe size, so he got me ones for "12 and up," meaning the slippers are huge. Lots of jokes about Slipper Envy.) They are beyond fabulous, and we are all having a good laugh.

Today SP called to let me know he'd ordered all the celebration preparations, and would be ready to go once I gave the word. At noon he called me at work to say the clowns were getting tired. I suggested he keep them occupied for another day and feed the ponies.

"What if they decide to keep you?"he asked.

"Don't you even think that," I said.

Sick, sick pervert.


SP said...

Of course, you are forgetting that the celebrations are scheduled for when they tell you that they decided to keep you. AND! You forgot to mention the pony rides for the kids.

JC said...

I mentioned the ponies. I MENTIONED THE PONIES.

And I got laid off tonight, which you won't know until late because you are on your way to Philadelphia. Oh, by the way, I'm showing up; I have time now.

SP said...

You won't even know where I am or how to get in touch. And Andrew doesn't know either. I made sure of that. You didn't mention that there would be pony RIDES. You just mentioned ponies. Anyone could do that.

JC said...

I'm guessing:

Elsevier, Inc
170 S Independence Mall W, Suite 300e, Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 238-7800

JC said...

Oh, and anyone can pretend to hire ponies.