Tuesday, October 18

Happy Birthday, you've been RIFd

Techically I was RIFd yesterday, the day before my birthday.  But the timing still sucked and there is no way to describe sufficiently the emotional cacophony that accompanies those words "and your position has been eliminated."  Really?  My position?  I literally did not hear the words the first time.  My brain simply refused to process them.  I heard waves crashing through my eardrums and someone sounding as though he was talking under water.

"Sorry?  What?"  Yes, I made him repeat them.  I think I did.  I'm not really sure.  I was too flabbergasted.  Angry.  Shocked.  Blindsided.

The HR guy tried to explain the severance package.  I know he has to do that, but it's not fair to make someone try to process that information as the brain is going into shock.  Seriously.  I told him I could not possibly process the information and he calmly said I could call him later.

They let me go back to my office to get my things rather than have someone go to my office for me.  I am somewhat grateful they afforded me that dignity and respect rather than the equivalent of what might feel like a perp walk to the front door.

I got in my car and waited as I knew there would be others from my team.  Those dreaded "different direction" words were the clear indicator that others would be let go.  I waited and met one of my former team in the parking lot.  She was in tears.  I could not comfort her.  I could only be angry with and for her.

I waited a bit longer.  No one else came out and then I really didn't want to be in that parking lot any more.  So I left.

A former colleague, who did not yet know he was a former colleague, called to report on a meeting.  We chatted.  I gave him the news.  He was shocked with me.  We talked for a long while.  As we talked, I realized I wasn't really angry any more.  I was okay with it.  Not because I won the lottery or have a ridiculous number of options from which to choose, but, well, anger gets me nowhere.

To be honest, I was most ticked by the timing.  I was feeling bad for my team because I figured they might do something for me for my birthday and how awkward that would be to have a card and a decorated office and treats and no birthday girl.  I wanted my office birthday party, dammit!

So here's the really weird thing.  Today has been one of the best birthdays ever.  Except for the missing office birthday party, it's been a very good day.

I miss my team.  I'm sorry for the rent this creates for them, but they are a resilient bunch and they will go on.  I regret that all of the good work we were doing is now wasted; that seems tragic.  I regret that others lost their jobs and wish I could have done something differently to prevent it though it's unlikely I could have done anything differently.

What's so odd is that last week I'd been thinking I should take home some of the stuff in my office, though I had no idea where that came from.  And Monday morning I was thinking it was the last day of that year of my life and I was really looking forward to a new sort of beginning with my birthday and the start of a new year.  Here it is.  Unfolding even now.

Happy Birthday to me.  Yes a very happy birthday to me.

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