Sacked

September 24, 2010

I hadn’t had déjà vu for awhile.  Then, in the past few weeks, it’s come over me again and again.  Little moments, like dreams.  Like things I already knew.  They came as a relief.  I’d begun to wonder if I was so far astray that my life’s path couldn’t even recognize the person I’d become.  When a person begins to feel that way – when I began to feel that way – I started to question everything.  Even the good things.  So when the déjà vu started up again, I took solace, and walked forward.

I’ve taken déjà vu seriously for a long time.  I figure it goes like this: if all our paths are determined … if there’s one straight line from point a to point b that would be a life lived perfectly, and we all meander this way and that over the course of a lifetime, then from time to time, we’re bound to pass over the line.  To me, déjà vu happens in those moments.  It’s the memory of something that hasn’t yet happened.  It’s something we already knew would happen, happening.

Another thing that occurs from time to time is that I’m stricken with intense, and somewhat whimsical premonitions.  These prophecies tend to ultimately amount to nothing, but rather signal that something else of import is near.  Once, years ago, I was laying around with a boyfriend and I said, “The phone’s about to ring,” and it did.  He was a superstitious Venezuelan who flew from the bed, eyes wide, and would have no physical contact with me for forty-eight hours.  Voo doo witch stuff and all that.  A couple days later I had a life changing revelation.

At any rate, these moments, like déjà vu, also indicate to me that I’m somehow facing northward.  About a week ago I stood on a city street and thought how I hadn’t seen any smart cars in awhile.  They were everywhere, and then all the sudden, so few.  As I thought that, I also thought, “Well now I’m thinking of them, so I’ll probably see one.”  And wouldn’t you know.  At that very moment, a smart car drove past.  The incident made me laugh to myself a little, and I settled into the gentle reality that okay, something big is going to happen.

Two days after my useless smart car clairvoyance I was called into my boss’ office, and was summarily fired from my job of four years.  They cited a piece of writing I wrote on this very site last month as the reason.  It was very matter of fact.  Very, we read this thing and so the end, see ya bye. They gave me ten minutes alone in a room to pull myself together.  Told me to throw my shit in a box.  And escorted me to the door.  Literally.  Escorted me to the door, handshake, good luck.

When I started there, I loved my job.  I really gave the whole businesswoman thing a go.  For the first couple of years I came in early, worked late, and gave it every last thing I had.  I reveled in the challenges.  I ate up the frustrations.  It made me feel … important.  One time, sick with a stomach flu, I lay curled around the toilet and sent emails from the bathroom floor.  At family holidays I’d run upstairs and hop on an aunt’s computer to check in.

Along the way, I realized it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but the rewards were worth it.

At the time.

When my artist friends and very non-traditional life-walker friends asked me how I could handle an environment like that, I’d answer that while it was corporate and icky in some ways, they basically let me be myself, and that basically, I liked what I was doing.  It was true.

At the time.

At some point, though, being “who I am” became a liability.  That’s when Sundays became a day of quiet torture in dread of the coming week.  As the company changed, I realized that people like them don’t want people like me.  I hate to be so general.  Broad strokes almost never work, but to explain simply and tersely, in an environment where plain conversation is regarded as “pushing back”, this pushy broad was not thriving.  The place was no longer right for me, or I right for it.

Still, I did my job well.  Frankly, I killed it.  There were so many aspects of it that I believe basically no one else can or will do better.  There are also plenty of aspects that just about any monkey could do better, or at least just as well.  There are those middle bits of the job.  Those tasks that will require some creative and analytical thinking, that I can concede some newly committed and enthusiastic person will likely tackle with more gusto than I’d been able to rustle up in the past few months.

In the past week or so, I’ve had lots of um … attention.  Yeah, attention is fair to say.  So many people have come to my defense.  So many have sent lovely little emails of support and encouragement.  The list is quite long, and is full of unexpected names.  Equally interesting is the list of people I haven’t heard from. But everyone handles things in their own way.

A lot of people want to use phrases like “blessing in disguise”.  Frankly, there’s no disguise in this blessing.  Even as I sat at the table in the middle of getting the axe, my heart racing and my neck prickly, fighting back tears, I already had feelings of gratitude.  I’d been so frightened.  Of myself.  Of my life.  Of what it might become.  I was afraid that I was turning into one of those people you hear about who abandon their truest passions entirely because they’ve become addicted to paychecks and security.  What was I thinking?!  I’d weakened.  This was an ignoble slap in the face, to be sure.  It was also exactly what I needed.

If you read my last piece, you know I’ve been through the wringer (and the Reality Resume wasn’t even half of it).  So this termination barely even ranks on my Most Devastating Shit list.  Even so, I woke up the next morning mid panic attack.  I sobbed and brayed and wiped snot off my face with the back of my hand, while my partner (my from-the-heavens-I-don’t-know-what-I-did-to-deserve-him-partner) sat very near to me, letting me get it out, only reaching for me once I’d controlled myself a little, which was the right thing to do.  This job wasn’t the first thing I’ve been asked to leave.  I’ve left most places I’ve been through the back door.  So my upset – my relative hysteria – wasn’t even really about the company.  Or what I’d done.  Or specifically what had happened.  It was more about my path.  It was about the fact that I’m ready, I think, for it to be a little easier to walk down the road.

Deep breath.

So.  What might I do differently, given the choice?  Not a whole lot.

Firstly, I regret that I might have hurt someone’s feelings.  I exaggerated an erstwhile colleague’s negatives for the sake of the essay I wrote last month.  Really, it was her role more than her personally that I scorned.  I would like the world to know that I believe she is a woman larger in the world than she is in her job.  I’d hate to think she internalized what I wrote about her.  I’d like to offer her an apology.  Here.  For everyone to see.  I used her physicality and her function as a device to tell a story.

Secondly … there is no secondly.  That’s about all I’d change.

Now.  I bet there are those among you who might say, “But you crazy girl!  Here you are, all over again, making the same choices.  Publishing all the details on the internet for everyone to see!  When will you learn?  And you’re breaking the fourth wall, too?!”  And to you I say, But!  This is how I want to live.  If this post, or the one that preceded it, cause me trouble getting the next gig, then so be it.  Trying to fit myself into the wrong mold is what caused this nonsense in the first place!  And that’s the only mistake I don’t plan to make again.

I expect that for the next few weeks I’ll vacillate between wanting to write thank you letters to those who brought on the change – since I wasn’t able to bring it to myself – and concurrently wanting to say come here, if you would, so I can knee you in the balls with all my might.  In short: I’m all over the map.  Though I haven’t cried since last Saturday (and that was Yom Kippur, a day where Jews everywhere are compelled – nay – required to be morose).  Then, it will fade.  And it will all become one more flag marking one more spot on a map full of flags indicating all those places where I’ve parked myself for a time, and then moved on.

So, what’s next?  I don’t know.  We have bills to pay, after all.  We’ll see what we can work out.  This has been a big thing.  Everything feels different.  There hasn’t been a moment, not a single moment, when I’ve wondered whether I’d be okay.  Of course I’ll be okay.  I am already okay.  I was okay in the moment and ten minutes afterward.  I’m enjoying my time off.  Visiting with friends and sleeping late.  Long luxurious showers.  Slow strolls through the produce store, picking up tomatoes and papayas.  Staring at them because they’re so fucking interesting again.  Giving them squeezes, even though I’m still not sure how to choose ripe fruit from the bunch.

My life feels like it’s mine again.  And for that.  I send a thousand humble thank you’s.

11 Responses to “Sacked”

  1. C42 says:

    Lauren, We writers knew you cared. Judging from comments off-the-official-line you're already missed. Wear your scarlet letter proudly.

  2. Barb Rolek says:

    Lauren, I can relate to your first essay and to this one and the situations they "created." You're pretty incredible. Rock on!

  3. LTL says:

    Ha! Thanks for your support and general funniness. And definitely stay tuned.

  4. LTL says:

    Thank you, miss. 🙂

  5. LTL says:

    I happily accept your well wishes. And THANK YOU for the papaya-picking tips! I think that information may well change my life. 🙂

  6. LTL says:

    Thanks, Lee Lee. It's a great reminder. 🙂

  7. LTL says:

    Well there's something I've never been praised for before. ha! Thanks for saying so.

  8. LTL says:

    Thanks. 🙂

  9. LTL says:

    {{{hearts}}} Wish I knew who you are! Thanks for saying so, secret admirer.

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