I Saw It ComingI got fired today. It's not my first firing. That one happened years ago and left a deep wound. This one was different. It stung, but only a few tears came, and only after I left the building. I felt like I retained my dignity through the process. It was more like stubbing my toe than the gut wrenching experience of many years ago.
I saw it coming. I had been written up for performance issues several times. I am not a dumb worker - I'm pretty bright, actually. However, I am not an office politics expert and a flubbed things right from the start. I challenged the status quo and was disliked immediately by the establishment. I am not blaming others for what happened. I just know that had I been more liked, today would have been less likely to happen.
The volume of work the department I worked in was huge - never ending. And it is understaffed by almost half thanks to the economy. The pressure is enormous and mistakes are often made. And I made my share of them. Today it was pointed out that I had made one too many and they let me go. I knew that my work was being audited, and I really did my best, but the numbers were against me and I knew it was just a matter of time. The chances are good that others make similar mistakes. Or, perhaps not. Perhaps it really was only me, but I doubt it. My work revealed many mistakes made by others - mistakes were inevitable with the work load, it's just that mine were used as a way to get rid of me.
I spent the evening feeling almost numb. Truth is, I still am a bit numb. But underneath somewhere is relief. I was so miserable there. I hated the thought of going. On my days off, I never felt free because I knew it was only 48 short hours before I was expected back there. I used to joke about feeling like a Guatemalan five year old chained to her sewing machine. (A horrid analogy, I know, but I possess a rather dark sense of humor, at times.) I won't feel like that tomorrow, and for that I am grateful. I know this gives me opportunities to pursue some things that I have had rattling around in my brain for a while. It gives me time to spend with my kids - I have always resented working during the summer months when they are home. I also see that I can spend some time organizing my life again. Working full-time, being a wife and a mother of four leaves me exhausted. Many other women pull it off with grace and style, but I struggle. And I am so sensitive to stress any more. It takes very little to trigger depression, anxiety and my diabetes getting out of control - all of which has happened in the past several months.
Good things will come of this, it is just hard to escape the inevitable fears that creep into my mind about money and health care since my salary is what kept us from sinking below the waves and provided our insurance. Belt tightening will happen, and will help. And my husband's work is going better than ever and is expected to improve even more. But the fear lurks, nonetheless.
I just want to make it through this having used this opportunity to do things I love, rather than squander the time being afraid. I don't want fear and the paralysis that almost always follows to set in this time. I don't want to make mistakes that will ruin my unemployment just as I made mistakes that ruined my employment. Ironic, huh?