It was a dark and stormy night.
Okay, it was the morning after. I arrived at my Day Job bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with my lunchbag full of mason jars, my regular bag full of gummy bears and caramel corn, and my heart full of song. Tomorrow was my six month anniversary in my new position and I was, in the words of my supervisor, crushing it. Finally I was going to get a formal Review with a tidy row of boxes and maybe a gold sticker at the top that said so. I had waited over two years for the system to catch up to my presence on the payroll. It was about time I had something stuck to my refrigerator for it.
The first two months in my new cubicle were delightful, the second two were surprising, and although I was the right person for the job, the last two had been filled with a determination to prove that I was the right person for the office, as doubts had been raised. I had been invited to play a game or two and politely declined, knowing my own abilities as an actress would have cost me a daily forfeit. Meanwhile, I checked in regularly with my supervisor to make sure I was on track with my tasks and my letter of resignation was stuck in permanent limbo. I hoped a work Review would override it altogether.
Wow, the whole building was empty. I congratulated myself on arriving a few minutes early as I flipped on my computer and walked my lunch to the break room. From a far corner, my supervisor’s voice asked whether we could have a quick meeting before the day started.
Hmm. I hadn’t seen her there. I also hadn’t seen the senior staff guy who materialized at the far end of the table. Intrigued, I sat down, thinking, “There must be some new procedure or activity to work on. How exciting.”
“Things aren’t going entirely the way we’d expected,” she began, “so I have here two different items.” She slid them across the table, upside down.
“One is your termination paperwork and the other is your letter of resignation. All I really need to know is which one you want to sign.”
In that very telescopic moment, as I stood in the road watching the monster truck about to hit, I thought:
- Hallelujah, I’m free! (joy)
- Oh cr*p, I have a lot of work on my desk, who’s going to get it done? (guilt)
- Wait, she told me right up to yesterday what a great job I was doing. (betrayal)
- Where are all my office friends and why can’t I say goodbye to them? (loss)
- Wait, do they all know what’s happening right now? (shame)
- How will I explain this one to Hubby? (anxiety)
- Why? (rejection)
- Oh yeah…(gobsmacked)
…because, until an employee passes the six month mark in a new cubicle, said employee has no rights. Legally, my supervisor didn’t have to tell me anything and could fire me without cause. Personally, she owed me an explanation – unless of course, it was personal. Expressionless, we waited to see who would flinch.
It was one last shell game, forcing me to publicly lie about the circumstances of my departure and keep her hands clean. I glanced at the masculine presence in the room, realizing that he was here to watch the show. When it stalled, he baited us with some mansplaining; he was the opening act for the Femme Hysterics. How cool is that?
I handled myself like the professional I am and I hope everyone took notes. Perhaps she’d forgotten that I was in her exact position, not six months earlier. Basic protocol involves placing your items into a box, turning in your keycard, and being escorted from the building by a burly man. It took me two trips to my car and a Costco sized cart to collect the stuff I had squirreled away at my desk. And the break room. And my gym locker. The orchid I received for Admin Professionals Day perched on top of the pile like a saucy hat.
Then I timed the monster truck, leaped onto the bumper, and took that free ride right out of town.
The pep in my step may have come from the sure knowledge that I had a blog-worthy story.
But it was probably from the fact that I was now free to write it.
And you, my friend, are free to write yours in the Comment box.