Day 1 — Fired

Day 1 -- You're FiredI was stuffing a Payday candy bar in my mouth while dragging a too-heavy-to-carry box across my office carpet before the axe fell. I had been thinking about going home because I didn’t feel productive after I had finished creating a table-top display for the company’s Christmas party.  I laughed to myself when I thought of the gag gift I had already bought for the gift exchange—a Marie Antoinette doll with an ejector head.

Two hours earlier, my boss had sent me email saying she would like to see me in her office at 4 PM.  When I’d walked through the mailroom earlier, I’d passed one of my usually friendly colleagues who drew a pained look on her face that made me feel like she knew something was up but had to keep her mouth shut.  Her body language spoke loudly, but at the time it didn’t register at a deep enough level.

She worked in finance and must have known my fate. But my boss’s email had concerned a report that I’d recently completed and praised its valuable insight.  After something like that, who would suspect they were about to walk into a plane propeller?  Like a good employee, I hung around.

Back in my office and suffering a sugar low from the candy, I looked up to see the head honcho framed in the doorway. He had never, ever come to my office before.

“Ann,” he said.   “I want to see you in the conference room.” My stomach tightened when I followed him down the hall to where the second-in-command was already seated at the table. My boss wasn’t in the room. I knew whatever he was going to say had to be bad and surmised that I was about to lose my job. Our eyes locked when he said in his soft-spoken voice that the company decided to eliminate my division, making me one of 10 employees to lose their jobs. My jaw dropped, but I didn’t say anything until the end when I asked him when my termination was effective. I didn’t see the value in being combative or trying to convince him he was making a mistake. He told me I had to leave “right now.” I then asked if I could get my belongings the next day, and he said no. I had to arrange a time with HR to come back at night.

I didn’t believe they would fire me after I’d told them that I needed back surgery. What was I going to do about insurance?  I was also a single mom over 50 and thought that would protect me

Walking out of the conference room, I kept thinking how could they? But they had. I was offered a meager severance for my several years of dedicated service. I felt ambushed and angry that they didn’t know the true value of the person they were letting go.

No one else at the company had my expertise about the Internet. With me gone, they were exposing themselves to technicalities that they couldn’t begin to understand. I also felt that the real reason they gave me the boot was because I was taking advantage of benefits, which could raise their insurance premiums. I knew I would fight back. They dealt me a raw deal, and I wasn’t going to let them get away with it.


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