There are some changes in life that are slow progressions…you can see them coming. You can prepare. You can steel yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally – for the new ways that your life will unfold. Someone you loves falls ill and passes on. An engagement is announced, a wedding is planned, and a marriage takes place. A new life is conceived and your body swells as a precious child comes into your life. You work hard, save your money, and plan for retirement. All change is stressful, but having some warning that change is imminent can reduce that stress and make it bearable.
And then there are some changes in life that leap on you from out of the bushes, knock you on the head, and steal your lunch money.
Yesterday afternoon I was informed that I am being laid off. My last day is September 29.
Simply put, the department in charge of deciding how much money the managers receive to pay their underlings (“Resource Allocation”) decided to give my manger two-employees-worth less money for fourth quarter. As I am one of the two newest hires, I am considered the most expendable. I am assured that this has nothing to do with me, my performance, my abilities, or anything other than money. It’s simply the way that events fall out, we’re terribly sorry, good luck with the rest of your life.
So goodbye, spiffy cubicle. Goodbye, my first ever nameplate, with my name etched in plastic. Goodbye, living wage and health insurance. It’s been fun. Or not.
And while it is, of course, a kick in the gut, I am perhaps not as distraught as I might be. It’s no secret that I hate my job – that it’s not what I wanted, not what it was advertised to be, and that it’s slowly sucking out my very soul. Considering this, I was never planning on being here very long. I stayed because felt morally obligated to see this project through, to finish the work I was assigned, to get it all done so I could leave with a clean slate and a clear conscience. And suddenly, my slate is clean and my conscience clear. So while I sat here and listened to my contract manager tell me that my last day is not even a full two weeks away – while I sat and saw the sincerely sorry look in his eyes, while my heart beat in my chest like a frightened bird – I was struck by a heady rush of freedom. I’m done. I don’t have to see this through. I’m escaping. I’m free.
I am, in so many ways, lucky. Though there’s no question that this is a blow, emotionally and financially, it is wholly survivable. I have a wonderful man in my life whose job is (for the time being, at least) secure, and who is willing and able to help me make ends meet. I have parents who love me dearly and who spoil me rotten, who are not going to let me go hungry or cold, and who have the means to take care of me if it comes to that. And though I detest being a burden and depending on the charity of those who love me, I am reassured that this is something that I can live through. I will not be hungry, I will not be homeless, my bills will be paid, my cats will be fed. And, eventually, I will pay back those who help me, by whatever means necessary.
In an uncharacteristic display of optimism, I think that perhaps this turn of events is the Vast Ineffable Benevolence’s way of saying, “Hey…I’ve got something better in mind for you.” I think it’s a nudge, a gentle push to tell me that no paycheck, no little plastic name plate is worth the soul-sucking misery I’m going through. That there’s something better – more meaningful, more beautiful – for which I’m destined. That’s it’s time to let it all go and open myself up to possibility. Time for the blind leap into the darkness, to see what catches me.
So you can imagine that when I opened my fortune cookie after dinner at last night’s BloodShadow’s GM meeting, I had to laugh at the fortune contained within.
Okay, Vast Ineffable Benevolence. I’m listening. Now what?