Dec 05 2007


Published by MsQ at 1:03 pm under Life, Relationships

I'm still breathing

“Effective twelve-oh-five your position will be eliminated.”

These are the words my manager said to me early Monday morning.

Today is officially my last day at work.

Yesterday I handed in all the paraphernalia of my job: laptop, cell phone, and ID card.

I’ve been with my company over 11 years. I’ve survived 2 acquisitions and too many “reductions in workforce”, “riffs”, “expense relief” and say-it-like-it is, “layoffs” to count.

As much as I expected that it might happen since work has been so slow, it still felt like a “punch in the gut” as one friend aptly put it.

I had a few things to get through that day and held it together pretty well. I figured I was shocked and I’d have some kind of meltdown later.

I ended up bursting into tears while on the phone with one of my closest friends. Do I realize that there are worse things that can happen? I sure do. I thought about all the good in my life and tried to focus on the positive. I thought: I have to be strong, stay positive, this is not a tragedy! I’m not a paycheck away from destitution!

But feeling bad is totally valid and okay – being laid off isn’t fun stuff. Not unless you like nails in the eye. I had to allow myself to not be strong. I have a difficult time with feeling or being weak. I don’t even like writing the word, I mean, sheesh, “Not be strong!”

I sent the word out to my friends and family and wow, the love and support just keeps coming. One friend told me that she had a spare room and I was welcome to stay with her and her family if…it came to that.

When she first told me this I started to say, “Thanks, that is such a generous offer..” but I wasn’t really feeling it because I didn’t think I’d ever have to take her up on it. Then I realized, wow, that is some offer, it really IS generous, she really IS a friend indeed.

Calls and emails have been coming in, some job leads, I’m engulfed in a flood of loving support.

I asked myself this question: What is good in my life?


One definition for wealth is “abundant supply.”

I am pretty damn wealthy.

Lest you think my manager was a jerk or cold, he wasn’t. I didn’t think it was easy for him to call me to tell me that. He could only call me since he lives in another state. He then had to transfer me to someone from Human Resources and I assumed he was limited to informing me of my termination and then getting off the line. He called me later to end things on a more personal note. He told me he hates giving people notice.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Wealth”

  1. Jillon 05 Dec 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Oh no Ms.Q I’m so sorry! There’s no easy time for it, but this time of year is particularly hard.

  2. Derek Wongon 05 Dec 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m glad that you’ve discovered and learned, but I’m still sorry that you’ve had to go through it.

    I don’t know firsthand, but I’d imagine that I would hate to have to give someone notice as well. Any reasonable human being would feel likewise about giving notice to good workers (as I’m sure you are).

  3. Sueon 05 Dec 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Awh, Ms. Q.! I don’t know what I can offer you right now, but I want to help you!

    Would it make you feel better if I told you I got a kick-ass postcard from Seattle Monday? I was meaning to say thank you sooner, but I got distracted. My kids enjoyed looking at it and the picture drawn on the back! And the story was very interesting!

    After reading about the Texan who wanted to return to his roots, I am reminded that my true passion these days is photography, and I should get downtown while the snow is still piled high and try to get some shots!

    Thank you for the kindness and generosity. I wish to someday return the favor!

  4. MsQon 05 Dec 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Jill: Thanks for your support! Yeah, there is no “good time” but many companies lay people off at end of quarter when “the numbers” come in. I worked for a public company so they are always watching the numbers.

    My friends are into “stuff” as much as I am – meaning, we’re not big on gift-giving and when we do exchange gifts, they are either fun, silly items (like M&M Candy Canes) or small luxury items we’d never buy ourselves like a bar of expensive soap or a bottle of wine (!!) or a small bottle of balsamic vinegar. Christmas is definitely still on.

    Derek: Thank you as well for your support! I know I will have even more to learn. It’s been a long time since I have had to do a job search and interview and all that. That job was good to me – I was able to travel, met lots of great people but I have realized that I needed to stop traveling for work. I still love traveling but it really does take a lot of time and it makes it difficult to keep in touch with all my local friends. It also makes it very difficult to date. It’s not like meeting all these married men on the road is a ticket to a lasting relationship!!

  5. MsQon 05 Dec 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Sue: Yes it DOES make me feel better you got a kick-ass postcard from Seattle! Didja notice that the Space Needle has a Christmas tree on top? Well, it’s made out of lights but it’s there. I thought that was timely for the season. I am glad your kids liked it, too. I remember really liking postcards as a child – I tried sending a few to the son of a neighbor when on the road. When you’re a kid, getting your OWN mail is really cool.

    I am glad the Texan story (which maybe someday I will write about) resonated with you. You’ve been sounding like someone at a crossroads as well and your passion for photography does show! I like the photo of a closeup of green metal rail in the rain (if I’m recollecting it right) and you definitely have an eye. Maybe you could take photos of your kids making Snow Angels??

    I purchased that book you want, “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hays. I was feeling a bit anxious this morning (”eeee, no job!”) and as I tried to meditate I recalled her book. I opened up a page at random and came on one of her affirmations: “Everything is working in Divine Right Order” as well as, “All is well.”

    I’ve always believed that “things happen for a reason” in my life but “Everything is working in Divine Right Order” is more eloquent! While being out of work is not fun, the timing of it is actually not bad for me. If this had happened to me during the summer, I would not have been able to handle it as well. I don’t even want to guess at what I would go through. In fact, there have been many events that have led up to this that show to me that yes, everything is working in Divine Right Order and I may go through some emotionally difficult times but all will be well. I am looking forward to being the stronger for it. Friends who have gone through being laid off – they said that it was difficult and is difficult when it happens again but they can handle it.

  6. Christineon 06 Dec 2007 at 6:40 am

    UGH! So sorry to hear it, MS. Q!

    5 years ago, my husband was laid off the day before Thanksgiving. It came completely out of the blue.

    They gave him a couple of months to find a new job, but that trip over the river and through the woods with 4 young kids who didn’t know they weren’t necessarily going to have a Christmas, that really sucked. And people treated my husband like he was a bit radioactive—like, he must have done SOMETHING to deserve it.

    He found a new job, and actually didn’t miss a day of work–one job flowed into the next (although the months of searching didn’t feel very Flowy. He was scrambling).

    As it turns out, the company went on to lay off a boatload of other people, a few months later. And Mike and I felt kind of fortunate that he’d gotten the ax early, so he could look for a job alone, instead of in a pack of several dozen workers in the same field, in the same small town, all at once.

    He also LOVES his job. Loves his boss. Is advancing. Is growing, at work. It turned out PERFECTLY for him.

    Take a deep breath…you’re gonna be OK.

  7. Jillon 06 Dec 2007 at 6:49 am

    Ms.Q – I’m glad Christmas is still on! Even so presents to buy or not, it is SUCH a stressful time of year. I often wonder how people make it through December at all.

    My ex husband got laid off this time of year when my daughter was in second grade. My son’s birthday is this month too, as well as one of his best/oldest friend’s birthdays. Soooooooooo not fun.

    I didn’t realize that about the numbers, although it comes as no surprise. It would be nice if companies could be a little more human this time of year – after all, they’ve been carrying employees for whatever amount of time it took to process the numbers in the first place. But no sense in holding our breath.

  8. Urban Thoughton 06 Dec 2007 at 6:53 am

    My eyes started to water when I read your post. It isn’t easy losing a job, especially this time of year. You truly have the love and support because you are love and support. Friends always show their true colors in the toughest of times and it seems as though the colors of your friends are true, strong and able to be there for you.

    As a former manager it is one of the hardest things to do, letting someone go. I’ve done it more than 30 times. I always feel that it changes someone’s life no matter what the reason. Glad to know he called you later… That shows a great deal of appreciation for what you’ve contributed not to mention a true testament of your rapport with people.

    But this isn’t about me. What I would say is that this is a new beginning for you. You’ll have the opportunity to explore other avenues and have a fresh start moving forward.

    You are in my thoughts. Your next move will be a good one because when you move you put your heart and your soul into it.

  9. Eric "Speedcat Hollydale"on 06 Dec 2007 at 7:16 am

    MsQ, if you were standing here right now, I’d give you a big hug :-)

    I know EXACTLY what this is like. 1 1/2 years ago, a company that I had been with for over a decade was suddenly sold. We all expected to just get a new boss, and move on. This was not the case. The new owners ripped my old company to shreds, and basically absorbed the traffic into the Twin Cities. They gave me an application to a “Temp Service” that they hire from. A kick in the gut, yes. I tore this paper to shreds as I sat at a table with these corporate raiders. I explained how my efforts had held my now former company in a profitable and viable standing for so many years, and why I was different than most workers. They could care less. At my age, a new direction seemed to be quite an undertaking.

    I dabbled in the thought of venturing off on my own, and did just that for a while, but 2 co-workers showed interest in taking our “team” to new companies in the area, and pitching the expertice and experience that we had together. We found a local Company just starting an affiliation with Arpin long haul, and fit in like a glove.

    Through this whole ordeal, I found myself reaching inside, and found a strength that was not there earlier in life. It was a defining moment, and ultimately was what “I could handle” at the right time. Character is niether earned or learned, it is something that comes with time, and the helping arms of our higher power. When you talk of “not being strong”, I totally understand. Sometimes we need to admit that we are powerless in certain circumstances. Dealing with emotion IS a positive thing. I consider myself to be a pretty tough man, yet there are times when a tear does leak from my own eyes. As I walked out the door for the last time (my old job), I stopped, reflected on all of the memories left in this building, and tears flowed for some time. It was what I needed to do at that moment, and accept the feelings inside of me.

    Ultimately, the things that are truly important, are indeed the examples you have mentioned in this post. I do not mean this in a condescending way… but I am proud of you for taking the standpoint and view of what has transpired. This positive strength, combined with your intellect, charm, and appeal, will lead you to somewhere that fits in your business life. You will prosper wherever you end up, and may even look back one day and see this as the best thing that ever happened… but you probably know that already.

    I wish that I had all the right words to brighten your day, and I understand that this will be hard for a while. I’ll send a small prayer your way :-)

    Your friend in “Hollydale”, Eric

  10. Urban Thoughton 06 Dec 2007 at 12:41 pm

    I read your post over again… I don’t know why I failed to mention your great outlook. You are truly wealthy. You are seeing the good in what is a critical life changing situation.

    You are in my thoughts.

  11. esofthubon 06 Dec 2007 at 11:59 pm


    You have such a positive attitude, and I only see this as a small “speedbump” in your life.

    Others and I are certain you will find something soon — hang in there. You’re a winner.

  12. MsQon 07 Dec 2007 at 12:38 am

    Christine: Thanks for sharing your husband’s story and I’m so glad things worked out so well for him! I’lll be referring to you comment in my upcoming post.

    UT: Thank you for your kind words! I know it’s a new beginning for me.

    Speedy! I’ll be responding to you in the next POST. Such a long comment deserves a POST.

    esofthub: It’s funny you write “speedbump” because that’s how I see it. I’m not seeing it exactly that way now but when I think of where I’ll be in a few years, I know that I’ll look back and know this is a speedbump!

  13. HMTKSteveon 10 Dec 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Sorry to hear about this, and you just got that spiffy new condo!

    I’m sure you will find something else out there. If not you can spend more time with your mom and build up your Vista skills!

    Try craigslist, they have lots of job openings on there. I think arstechnica also has a lot of tech job postings on their site.

  14. MsQon 10 Dec 2007 at 3:24 pm

    HMTKSteve: well..I’ve had the condo for a few years now. My series about buying it were about my experiences several years ago. But thanks for the sympathy! And my condo is still spiffy.

    Building up Vista skills?? Uh. Interestingly, I just visited my dad and configured Outlook on his XP system. It only has 1/2 GB ram. Eeek. But at least he has DSL.

    I had forgotten about Craigslist – thanks! I just checked out asrtechnica but nothing in my area. I don’t live in Australia. Or Chicago. I did see a listing in Seattle, WA though.

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