It's very, very early Monday morning. I slept soundly for a few hours, but around 3:30 I woke up. After almost two hours, I gave up on going back to sleep.
The past four days have been crazy on so many levels.
On Friday I got laid off.
I saw it coming. When I returned to work, I realized I had missed something major the week before. There were a lot of empty seats.
The word was they thought they were done letting people go.
I got sucked into another project with another team when I returned. But I slowly realized my team was doing a lot of finishing, and not enough starting.
And then Thursday, they scheduled a meeting. My supervisor asked if I could come in early (since I still had about a week of part time left.) He seemed way too concerned about everyone being there. Yet he never told us what the meeting was about.
And that's when I knew.
Friday morning I had an appointment to see the doctor about my elbow. (More on that later on.) The practice my family has been going to for years is just minutes from my parents' house. So I had already planned to spend the night there to avoid having to drive across town twice in a row during rush hour.
I wasn't going to say anything to them about it at first. But when Dad asked how work was going, I spilled everything.
We did a lot of talking that night. Maybe I was wrong. Things would be ok if I was right.
When I woke up Friday morning I convinced myself I was working myself up for nothing.
Then I thought they couldn't possibly cut all of us. Maybe I'd be one of the "safe" ones.
I went to the doctor, and headed back up to North Austin. I didn't have to be at work until the meeting (remember, I was still part time.) I didn't want to go home. So I just wandered.
I ended up at Borders, but they didn't open until 10 a.m. So I drove down the road and decided to have a bite to eat at Einstein's Bagels. I sat near two women who were having an intense conversation that seemed to be work related. I almost jumped in and asked them if their company was downsizing like mine. But I kept my mouth shut.
Then I went back to Borders. I set the alarm on my phone so I wouldn't be late, but wouldn't be early enough to be around during the awkward moments before the meeting.
I was too distracted to really read anything. I didn't even go to the knitting section. I wandered around flipping through various books. I considered getting a card to say goodbye. I decided that was premature. I flipped through various self help books. In the humor section I found a bank featuring Lucy from the Peanuts. She was at her famous "Psychiatric Help 5 cents" booth. It would have been a nice edition to my desk.
Ball and Chain by Social Distortion was on the radio on the drive to work. I sang the chorus as loud as I could all the way there.
We were whisked into the meeting almost immediately when I got in. When I saw the HR guy in the room, I knew my fears were confirmed.
The client hadn't renewed it's contract with our company. It was that simple.
After some discussion of the HR stuff, I was the one who broke the awkward silence. I couldn't tell you exactly what I said. Basically that it was nobody's fault, that we all did the best we could and that this company had treated us well. I cried and a box of tissues somehow appeared in front of me.
We aren't completely done. We have one week together as a team. Then there are three optional days in the first week of August, where we can work on a special project. Working these days will allow us to keep our benefits for another month. There is a possibility of being rehired, but we can't count on anything.
However, we were given the rest of Friday off with pay. Most of us ended up at a nearby pub. I was there at least four hours. We played a lot of "Monday morning quarterback." I still maintain that we all did the best we could. I know it sounds a cliche, but it's the economy. It's not personal, and it's not our fault.
I called my Mom and Dad and cried. I called Jules and cried. We went back to Mom and Dad's for dinner. Katie and Aaron were there to support me, and when I hugged them, I cried.
I'm pretty cried out right now. But I still tear up at times.
At times I complained about work. At times I celebrated work. I'm not that worried about getting a job. (Well, I am a little bit.) I'm grieving a loss. I'm attached to that place and the people in it.
But I think the universe is giving me an opening to move on to the next phase of my life.
I'm going back full time a little early. I was pacing myself for a marathon, but now I'm sprinting for the finish line.
Going back to work for the next few days is going to be tough. I may not be at the top of my game this week, but I'm going to do my best. Some may goof off the whole time. Some may not return at all.
But I'm not going out like that.
Now it's time for me to get dressed for work. I have some calls to make.