Friday, June 10, 2011

You're fired!

I got the axe yesterday.

"Your position is no longer required," the head of HR tells me. "It was a business decision. It wasn't your job performance. If you like," she goes on, "we can give you a recommendation letter." Then she hands me this lame pamphlet on life changes. My boss is out in Calgary, visiting film sets and riding horses with his daughters and she tells me, "He wanted to be here to tell you."

I was shocked, relieved, angry, resentful, happy, and bitter often simultaneously.

Here I was, sitting in the office of another departed colleague, being told "it gets better" by a woman with a frozen face. I asked her twice if it was something I did, but she stuck to the script and insisted that it wasn't. What the fuck does a "business decision" even mean when it comes to laying off the CEO's only assistant? I know he's an independent guy, but who's going to put together his expense reports and schedule calls and book all the bullshit that comes with being a rich SOB who rides in a style in a 6-figure car paid for by the company?

HR personnel escorted me out.

Spiritually, I feel like a success: I make friends easily, I've helped a lot of people, and I've achieved an equilibrium of the soul. Materialistically, there is now a sudden dissonance. How can I reconcile living in a handsome home with handsome furniture when I no longer have the income to maintain the bubble of stability? The contrast is palpable.

I had a good cry before bed last night. Paul held me as I soaked his neck in tears. I told him I wasn't mourning for the loss of my job; I was mourning for a future in jeopardy. He countered that it was merely on hold.

The job had been coming between us, encroaching on our sanctuary. I'd check my Blackberry and return emails at all hours of the night. "This is the nature of the job!" I'd tell him when he showed signs of irritation. "It isn't right," he'd say. "They can't treat you this way."

I'd wave away his comments: "It's what I signed up for."

The scariest part of this ordeal is that I am back where I was before this: Trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. The job distracted me from that continued journey and I was punished for my complacency. There might be some magazine commissions headed my way in the fall. I asked a former colleague for help; she currently works at a publication specializing in luxury goods and services. Fingers crossed.

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