Awesome. Just awesome.

nature-beautyOh, thank GOD. They finally scheduled an announcement about what’s to become of me/us at work. Tomorrow’s the day we have our team meeting – ostensibly to get the news about whether we are going to keep our jobs and/or if our duties will be changing in any way for the foreseeable future.

They’re having the meeting at 4 p.m. on a Thursday, so it might be “bad” news — it could be they want to tell us at the end of the day, so we can all go home and have a good meltdown. And since it’s being announced on a Thursday, people can take Friday off. Or spend  Friday clearing out their desks. Or pretend to work from home.

OR… they’re waiting till the end of the day, so that the people who are spared don’t have to spend the day surrounded by those who are getting pink slips.  And seeing as most people work from home on Fridays, anyway, it should be even more quiet than usual.

I got off to an early start today — I had an ungodly-early meeting at 8:00, which meant I left the house early  — but it wasn’t so horrible Voila! I missed all that terrible traffic in the meantime. And now I’m home early — it’s not even 6:00 yet, and I’ve had time to grocery shop and get a little exercise in. I’m going to start doing this regularly — get an early start, so I can beat the traffic in the morning, leave the office before dark, get home at a decent hour, and then just relax. All those late evenings at the office got pretty old, pretty quick.

And the fact of having the rest of the evening to myself is absolutely magical.

It gives me time to myself.  To prepare mentally for the day tomorrow… And focus on the things that I want to do for myself and my own work, despite what everyone else is up to.

Ironically, I won’t be in the office tomorrow for the team meeting. My spouse and I have dentist appointments in the afternoon, and I need to act as chauffeur, because my spouse doesn’t drive well in the little city we’re going to. I don’t mind at all. It gets me out. And it gives me the chance to spend some time with my spouse that I normally don’t have. We’re going to make an evening of it, doing some Christmas shopping and having a nice dinner — steak!

It’s our favorite “date” trip — going into town, running errands, having a steak dinner, and then heading home after all the traffic has cleared. If I still have a job tomorrow, I’ll celebrate quietly and not say a word about it. If I’m losing my job, I’m not sure what I’ll say — probably keep quiet about it, so we have some much-needed quiet time to ourselves.

I don’t want to ruin a perfectly nice evening. Not over a job.

Anyway, right now I have a whole evening to myself, and it’s really, really good. And it’s  actually much better than my usual schedule of getting up early and writing and reading, then going into the office later and staying later. I’m more awake after4 p.m., versus 9 a.m., so I might as well do my writing when I’m actually with it. I am not a morning person — never have been, but was forced to become one,because of work — and I’m tired of having early morning be the only time I can get to myself.

Time to change that around and take back my afternoons, when the creativity is running high… and I have no more work-work to absorb my attention.

Whatever happens at the end of the day tomorrow, it’s fine. I really don’t care. Whatever happens, I will handle it, and it will be awesome. In fact, my future will very likely work out better for me than where I am now. I’ll see to that.

And if I had the holidays off, that wouldn’t bother me one bit. Heck, I know a number of people who would love to hire me back, if they can. Maybe I’ll pick up a few days’ work, here and there. Whatever. It’s all speculation, anyway. Not a good use of time.

A better use of my time is to think about what is. What shall be. What I want to be.

And do the legwork towards making that happen.

For me.

For real.

Onward.

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Live blogging from layoff-central

The herd is about to be thinned

Actually, I’m not at layoff-central right now – I’m at the public library down the street where I can get my own internet access on my own computer, login to WordPress, and get away from the generally unhappy atmosphere at work.

I just overheard the librarian here saying, “Times are tough…” and she would be right about that.

This is very hard for people. The tension is very thick at work, and it’s very glum and bleak-feeling. I’m not sure which is worse – being on the “chopping block” or being left behind. No, I know which one is worse – it’s being left behind. Because then you have to do twice the work with half the people, and you don’t have the same expertise as the folks who left, so you have to work that much harder to keep up. And you don’t know whether to be happy that you don’t have to look for another job, or to be unhappy that you don’t GET to look for another job.

The suspense is killing me. I’m pretty tired, as it is, from a very busy  and physically active weekend, followed by a late trip to the airport to pick up my spouse, and then this morning being sick and my spouse being sick, and some things I did over the weekend getting screwed up and having to fix them before I left the house to go to work.

To work… I was really conscious of the fact that I might not ever be doing that commute again. And ironically the drive just flew by, because it was such a beautiful morning, and I was noticing every little detail about it. I tried to be really present as I drove, just soaking up what good stuff I could get. But my hands were really shaking, and I felt sick and trampled and un-needed… expendable, like I didn’t matter anymore.

Oh, screw them. Really. (Now I come to the anger part of my grieving process.) I seriously considered changing my computer password to FUCKY0U – with a zero instead of an “O” for added password security 😉 Then I realized that the person who would be unlocking my computer when I’m gone is probably going feel like crap, already, and I don’t need to take it out on them, when it’s the company, not them, that’s making these changes.

So, I nixed that idea – tho’ I must admit I got an evil smile out of it, when I thought about doing it.

And I paid attention to my drive.

And when I got to work, I pulled on my good dress coat over my best suit (one of our reader community suggested that I dress well for my exit interview, and I did – pulling out my best dress shirt and suit and making sure I had good socks to wear). I pulled myself together and strode into the office like I owned it.

Just one last time.

And then I got to work.

It’s been extremely hard going today. The layoff is a huge elephant in the room, and nobody is saying anything about it, because I don’t think anyone knows anything for sure — all we know is that it really sucks. After years of being reassured by HQ that the division would be allowed to continue as it is, that’s all about to change, and between the sense of helplessness and the sense of loss and the sense of betrayal, it’s hard to concentrate on much of anything.

So, I wait for the word… I will be at the library for another half hour or so, then it’s back to the office to finish up. I had anticipated having another couple of weeks to finish things up, but they may just tell us to go home and not come back. That has happened to people already – just pack up the workspace and go home. No handoffs, no transition. Just boom. That’s it.

And I really feel for my coworkers, because they are basically screwed without the knowledge and experience I have. I’m not being conceited – it’s true, that I have made a point of learning to do all the things that others don’t want to do, and I’ve made a point of doing them very well. So, there’s a massive learning curve, and some of it will never be learned, because it comes from 17+ years of on-the-job experience, and nobody in my group who does what I do has more than 10 years “in the saddle”. Most of them have maybe 4-5 years, that’s it.

Yeah, it will be much easier to go, than to stay.

But still, my hands are shaking, my gut feels like it’s filled with iron shavings, and my head is pounding.

Keeping it together under conditions like this… it’s hard work. But I’ll survive.

I just wish they’d make the announcement and get it over with, already.

Packing up, getting ready to go…

Might be time to move on

Interesting… Monday they are making a big organizational announcement about staff movements and changes.

And next week, everyone from my team will be out on Monday, and everyone except for one person will be either out of the country at HQ or on the other side of the continent for the rest of the week.

Hmmm… I wonder if they’re trying to tell me something…?

I just got done clearing a bunch of stuff off my company-issued iPhone, because I’m pretty much expecting to get let go on Monday. If this works like it has with others who got let go in the past couple of months, they may ask me to leave immediately. Or they may give me two weeks. But I think not, because the uber-boss asked the one co-worker who was planning to be out till Thursday to come in on Tuesday. So, maybe they need coverage for when I’m gone?

That’s what it’s looking like… when I think about it. I’ve been so busy trying to keep my head on and keep a positive attitude and not lose sight of the big picture, that I chose to not give a lot of weight to the uncomfortable silences, the team meetings with everyone but me, the way my closest coworker has been especially dismissive towards me. And the apparent roller-coaster of emotions that everyone has been going through at work. Some of my coworkers have avoided me for days, while others are all mopey around me, like someone died.

Or someone’s about to.

And me, being all can-do and chipper and what-not… What a dope.

But it’s been really obvious, for the past week that something is amiss – my boss and their boss, the monumental combative pain in the ass, have both gone out of their way to be nice to me. That can’t be good. When I’m doing well, they tend to treat me with a mix of dismissiveness and incredulity, because I pose a threat to them.

No more, apparently.

<mood swing~freak out>Oh my God.  I cannot afford to be out of work. I really cannot. I have almost no money. Literally. I have to earn a living. I need income.</mood swing~freak out>

I just pray that they will write me a nice check for severance and leave it at that – it would be ideal, really, because it would give me a nice little safety net before the holidays, and it would leave me at least something to float with, for the time being. And what I wouldn’t give for a few months off…

I hope you’re impressed by how calm I seem to be right now. It hasn’t been that way all day. I have been on a pretty intense roller-coaster all day, with the sick, sinking feeling of it all starting to sink in… and then the uber-boss stopping by my work space while they were on their way out (of the country), to tell me The Overlords will be making their Big Organizational Announcement on Monday.

I said, “That’s exciting,” and the boss kind of rolled their eyes. They didn’t make eye contact. Wuss.

Yeah, I’d bet good money (if I had any) they’ll be letting me go on Monday. This evening while I was driving home, I kind of went into a panic… started to freak… started to despair… thought about killing myself so my spouse would have my insurance money (which would not pay off the house, by the way), then I realized that it wasn’t ME who deserved to die over this! — in fact, no one does, this is just one of those really shitty things that happens now and then when companies have acquired other companies and are cutting costs and they realize they have more people than they know what to do with… then I thought about going out and getting stinking drunk, until I realized it would be really expensive and I would end up feeling like total crap for days afterwards (and who knows how much damage I’d do when I was drunk? hell, I might even end up in jail, and my spouse is out of town for three days, so I’d have no one to bail me out till Monday)… then I thought about all the snarky, accusatory, threatening things I will say to the person who lays me off… then I decided that would be really stupid, and I’d probably end up losing my shit and looking like a total friggin’ pansy-ass by the time all was said and done… I might even get escorted out of the building between a couple of burly bouncer types… then I realized that this could be a really good thing — humiliating, sure, since I’m not calling all the shots, but potentially good, if they cut me a nice check and give me a good reference… then I made myself dinner and watched Jet Li kick ass.

Now I’m going to watch a little inane t.v. and go to bed. Tomorrow is another day, and I will work on y skills. I actually have a lot of recruiters contacting me these days, so all is not lost and I’m in a pretty decent position. But geez. I hate when this happens. It really reminds me of when I got shit-canned from the job I had when I had my TBI and couldn’t keep my act together. That’s what it feels like — like I’m deficient and nobody needs me, and I’m useless and too long in the tooth to be much use to anyone.

But that’s bull, because I have a ton of great experience, a lot of knowledge, and anyway, I friggin’ hate the people I’ve been working for, so this will work out extremely well for everyone, if it happens with a nice severance package.

Now I’m starting to feel chipper and happy and hopeful. Aside from being sick to my stomach and feeling like I’ve been kicked by a horse and trampled by a herd of wildebeasts.

Oh, shit. I’m just going to turn off my head and laugh at t.v. shows about stupid people driving their snowmobiles onto thin ice or falling off trampolines. I’ll probably feel like crap tomorrow, but who knows? I may feel like a million bucks.

You never know.

Vacation lifestyle gone bad

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

A good friend of mine has not held down a regular job since 1998. They have had a bunch of unfortunate things happen to them, and they have been fighting off panic/anxiety attacks for over 15 years, now. They actually had to leave their job because of the panic attacks. And they haven’t really made a full-on effort to find full-time work, since they “dropped out” of the work scene in ’98.

It’s been a little frustrating to watch, I have to admit. Looking at them, I see someone who is perfectly capable of living their life, but they have this perception of themself as not being able to hold down a “real” job. They’ve done a lot of contracting and taken in odd jobs over the years, but nothing more, in no small part because they keep telling themself (and the rest of the world) that nobody wants a worker like them.

What do you say to someone like this? They are actually quite employable, and when they were working, they were popular, well-liked, and often got offers of advancement. They’ve had the panic/anxiety under control for several years now. But still, no genuine attempts to make a living have been undertaken.

They keep saying they “can’t” — but in my gut, I am sure they could, if they just gave it a shot and didn’t give up.

They fret about not having enough money. No, “fret” is not the right word. “Bitch and moan” is more like it. But talk to them about getting a job, and it’s like you’re suggesting they start selling drugs on a street corner, or start peddling their body to dirty old men in expensive cars.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encouraged them and given them pep talks about getting on with their life. But the words seem to fall on deaf ears. What do you do, when someone you genuinely like and care about won’t take the initiative to do for themself — when they’re even more fit to do so, than a lot of people you know — even, at times, yourself?

It’s a quandary. Because even when I was wandering around in a funky daze, unable to understand what people were saying to me, and sitting for hours just staring at the computer screen, I still made the effort to have a job. And even when I was sent away from the position I had, because my temper and outbursts and hostility were just too much, I still went out and found more work.

I don’t know what to do with this friend of mine. They’ve been there for me tons of times, and I really want to help them out. But I seem to be unable to say or do anything that reaches them. They’re kind of teetering on the brink, and they’ve started asking relatives to loan them money, which is the beginning of a bad pattern, if this persists. What to do? I can let them stumble, sure, but is that any way to be a friend?

Well, maybe so. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

In any case, it’s bugging me. I wish I could find a way to get them off their duff. Truly, they are a very gifted individual with a lot to offer, and they are their own worst enemy, telling themself that they don’t have what it takes to get and hold down a job.

I guess it goes to show, you can never know what’s truly in a person’s heart or mind or spirit. And sometimes it’s not the severity of one’s injury/-ies, but a mysterious mix of character, chance, and some secret ingredient, that determines your ability to deal with life.

Bottom line — what a waste. A perfectly capable and valuable person frittering away their years on a story about not being able to do something that they most certainly can do, if they’d only try.

Sears is hiring

My clothes dryer started making scary noises the other day, and since malfunctioning clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires, my partner called Sears to have someone come and look at it.

We’re on the special warranty program — if they can’t fix what they find, they’ll replace an appliance at no charge. Sweet.

Anyway, it took all day for the repairman to arrive. There were scheduling issues and he got reassigned to some other customers, before he got to us around 5 pm. All day, we waited… on such a beautiful day… bummer. But at least he got to us.

And guess what — Sears needs 400 more repair personnel to meet all the demand. They are hiring. They will take anyone — men or women. You just need to know how to fix things. And that’s a learned skill.

So, if you’re wondering where your next meal/mortgage payment is coming from, get up off your ass and get out and get some training. And take your skills out into the marketplace. All those made-in-China appliances are breaking, left and right. Somebody needs to fix them — and keep people’s houses from burning down.

Now, if we can get some of these retailers to get a clue about the crappy quality coming from overseas and get some manufacturing jobs back in the States, it will be a good thing. But in the meantime, there’s a future in fixing crap that breaks.