If Found, Please Return.
I knew this day would come.
I’ve had a bullseye on my back ever since we moved away from Oregon and I started working from home. I felt it grow larger last October when my most recent boss (I’ve had 8) was hired. 3 weeks ago the bullseye moved from my back to my forehead when I got wind of a few more people being laid off from an already too-lean organization.
5 years from the day I started with the company, I got a frantic cell phone call from my boss. I knew the news would not be good. There had just been a last-minute company meeting, and as he cut to the chase I felt my shoulders go numb with tension.
He blathered on about timing, and budget, and severance, and how this had nothing to do with performance. I answered his queries with clipped syllables while my mind raced through unintelligible thoughts and I successfully subdued my desire to hang up on him. When we were done there was nothing to do but let it start to sink in.
I spent several days feeling bitter and panicked. I surfed the Internet, and spent much time staring at our bank balance. I made some calls, sent out emails, and generally wondered “what next”? I had mental conversations with God…. “You know, when I said I was having a hard time juggling the kids and maintaining my productivity, I didn’t mean that I couldn’t handle it. I was having a tough day, but I kept plugging away and I was getting it all done. I’ve never been late for a conference call – even the late night ones with Hong Kong. I didn’t want to not work, I just wanted some guidance on better time management.” This was probably the most intelligible of these many discussions, as most consisted of “Why?” and "What Now?”
It’s always hard not to second-guess yourself. Would we have made some different choices in the last 6 or 9 months if I had known this was a hard reality? Yes. But I take pride in being a productive person, and find that obsessing over the past creates no forward motion. And I am all about forward motion.
Now I am spending my time wrapping up loose ends and forming a plan. A final whirlwind business trip and many doctor/dentist/eye appointments have kept us busy. After much consideration I have lost all hesitation about participating in any – and every - program available to us. Social services is out there for this exact situation, and while I have no illusions about the fact that they are overcrowded and underfunded (fyi – Detroit’s unemployment is at 20%), it doesn’t hurt to try.
I have 4 days left, and see the crossroads looming. Even though I feel a little better about things, I can’t help but keep thinking……. What Now?
PS - Did I mention that I can't wait for 2009 to be over?