“Sales are down. We’re going to have to let you go.”
That was how my Friday started last week. I was unceremoniously let go from my job. The job I was recruited for. The job I left another job for. Four months in and sales down, I was let go.
The Executive Director and owner of the facility sat in the chairs in front of my desk and delivered the news to me like they were talking to me about adding a rider on an insurance policy. Dry. Stoic. Lifeless. I was given an awkward and unnecessary half smile, as if it would somehow soften the impact from their just thrown (and landed) throat punch. I managed a meager, “um…ok”, and with that, I packed up the few items I had out on top of my desk, stole a few notepads and pens (they’re like soap and shampoo at a hotel and it was the least they could do for me), and went out to my car.
As much as I wanted to be angry, that anger never boiled to the surface, it just bubbled quietly. Instead I felt like when I had been dumped by my girlfriend in college. I couldn’t help get over the feeling of inadequacy. Incompetence. The 30 minute ride home only exemplified those feelings.
What hadn’t I done? What had I done? Could I have done something different? What was I going to do now? How was I going to tell my wife and kids? Over and over I played the entire situation over in my head. I recalled the last months of my employment trying to find out where it was I messed up? I thought about the stack of bills sitting in the house needing to be paid. All the feelings I had on the ride home were the same ones I had in college when I tried to rationalize why I had been dumped.
By the time I got home, I was in the process of ridding myself of any insecurities or “why me” thoughts (thus seriously reducing the chances I would drunk dial my former company). I decided things happen whether you want them to or not. Complaining about them or making a mixed tape of songs that remind me of them won’t change the situation or bring back my job.
My wife came home and I told her…she only stopped crying two days ago. My kids took it in stride. My oldest now asks me every morning if I have found a job yet. My 5 year old could care less, especially since now I will be able to have lunch with her at school at the end of the week. And any lingering feelings of inadequacies or not being “good enough” that rise to the surface now, are dissolved the moment they hug me or tell me I’m “the best Daddy in the world”.
This is not to say my anger over the firing doesn’t flare up from time to time. Just like I had wished the girl who broke my heart in college would lose all of her hair, I hold no good will for my former employer. And if asked, in an honest moment, I would tell you that I hope the company goes in to a tailspin of misfortune (and I hope all of them lose all of their hair too) but now is not the time for that. Now is not the time for hexes, curses, wishes of misfortune, or voodoo dolls. (plenty of time for that later).
Now is the time, like it was in college, to pick myself up and dust myself off. Forget about the girl who broke my heart. Now it is time for me to start dating again because I’m back on the market.