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Day 2 — Out Now

Day 2 -- Out Now

The HR director was waiting in my office to escort me to the door, and a secretary was waiting by the curb, to hail a cab to send me home. My arms cradled an overflow of personal belongings, and I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.

What surprised me the most was being treated like a criminal when I didn’t deserve it. The HR director had acted as if the building was on fire and given me barely a minute to gather my belongings. She promised that I could come back for the rest. The only bright moment in all this is she didn’t know that I didn’t have much more to retrieve. Secret: I had cleaned out my office in anticipation of this day—months ago.

But my hasty exit still seemed so surreal, even though I had thought about the day I would be let go and had somewhat prepared for it. In a worst-case scenario, I’d imagined that I would have two weeks to finish assignments, much as you’d get if you’d quit voluntarily.

Still, I’d known our company had lost a major account and was facing a budget shortfall. I thought my department might fall victim, so I backed up my email, deleted the “sent” mail, cleaned out my drawers and kept a very “green” office—meaning I sorted through my paper files, removed anything personal and kept an electronic document archive of company material.

Three months earlier, I’d also removed some big, framed pictures and put up posters that could easily be rolled up on my D-Day. I’d brought home some pottery and other decorative items. All of my personal files were already on a flash drive, so I didn’t have to worry about deleting anything I wouldn’t want others to see. I’d begun the process of taking a little big home every day, much like the fictional prisoner Andy Dufresne did in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” when he tunneled walls with a rock hammer over the years for his eventual escape.

I didn’t take any office “secrets,” because I didn’t know any that I thought would be valuable. Even if there had been, I’m not that kind of person to steal. Sure, I used the office copier and postage machine for personal use on a few occasions, and maybe a long-distance phone call or two. But I don’t think that’s uncommon, and I didn’t abuse that perk. I wished, however, that I would have deleted more personal email and backed up my email one last time. I kept thinking about doing that but always thought I’d do it the next day. But when tomorrow became today it was no longer possible.

Nonetheless, the unreality of losing your job comes down to the reality of how your life changes, and mine was about to be transformed in ways I’d never imagined.

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2 Responses to “Day 2 — Out Now”

  1. gotb says:

    How were you fired?

  2. gotb says:

    How did you find me. I’m like a needle in the proverbial haystack, still trying to figure out the technicalities of WordPress/Twitter? — Ann

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