Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hello, Cruel World

You know how you get certain moments burned into your memory forever?  Those moments in time that you can replay as if they were yesterday, that cloud your thoughts and haunt your dreams—you know the ones I’m talking about, right?  Sure, we’ve all got the biggies:  where you were on 9/11, or when you heard that Bin Laden was dead.  But I’m talking about the smaller, more personal ones.  First kiss.  Last time you saw someone really important to you that’s now gone from your life.  Those memories.  Well, now I’ve got another, and it’s not a good one. 

Last week—Thursday, March 1, at approximately 8:30pm—I lost my job.  And I’ll admit that it’s not as world-shattering as the last time I talked to my mom, or the first time I kissed my husband-to-be, but I’m pretty sure it’s just as ingrained in my mind.  It’s like a punch to the gut followed by a quick upper cut to the jaw, and that’s just not the sort of thing that’s easy to forget.

What the job was isn’t important.  What is important, though—at least to me—is that I had devoted almost twelve and a half years to the company, poured my heart and soul into doing what I could to contribute to success, and in the end, it simply wasn’t good enough. 

I shouldn’t have been surprised; things had been off-kilter for a long time.  The job that used to fit me like a glove felt more like an oversized overcoat, working against me and weighing me down.  There were reasons, of course; there are always reasons.  But, really, none of them matter.  At the end of the day, (or at 8:30pm), the only thing that really matters is if an employee can give the company what it wants.  Turns out I could not.  So, there you go.  Thank you for your service and good luck to you in the future.

Except, that’s where things have really sort of started to annoy me.  As I mentioned, I was there for a long time.  In fact, I started the same time as the person who ended up firing me; we were in the same training class together.  But, even with all that history behind us, when it came time to call it quits, she didn’t thank me for my service or wish me good luck in the future.  In fact, she didn’t even really say good-bye. 

Not only that, but the vast majority of people that I’ve worked with for years have not reached out to me at all.  They haven’t called, or sent a text.  Heck, they haven’t even sent a Facebook message.  It’s like I disappeared without a trace, leaving behind no void, no history, no nothing.  After more than a decade, that sort of stings.

And that’s not to lump all of my co-workers into that category, of course; a very few have sent along words of encouragement, and I really do appreciate that.  But I could count on one hand those who have—and I’d still have some fingers left.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but that sort of sucks.

So, though the memory of March 1, 2012, 8:30pm will live with me forever, it will never bring as much sadness as the memory of the days that followed, the days when I realized that I was expendable, not just to a company, but to those I thought were my friends.  That’s the kind of thing that’s not easy to forget.