When You Know Something Is Wrong

As I walked toward the subway this morning, I felt something was wrong. Ah yes: Forgot to wear a belt. Not a big deal. I’d be late if I walked home, so I trudged on. My trousers would not fall down.

A few minutes before 11 a.m., the boss asked me to come into the “corner office.” The HR lady was there, and her eyes were turned toward the floor. The door was shut, and in a terse manner I was told my position in public relations was being eliminated. My duties were being reassigned to people who already might had too much to do. I handed in my company ID card. There was a comment that I would receive a glowing recommendation as I pursued other employment.

Shocked? Not entirely. Relieved? Some what. The organization had severe revenue shortfalls and long range projections for revenue growth were guarded at best. Nearly two dozen colleagues were laid off over the past four months. Perhaps it’s all for the best. The severance terms were fair, I suppose.

This was not new. I’ve been fired or laid off before. It’s never easy, but one has to look at it very pragmatically: One door closed, now it’s up to me to open others that should lead to something better.

The HR lady and a colleague helped me pack up my personal stuff: Plants (they really help freshen up a room), photos, paintings, little wooden boxes. I like my office to be a personal space. Now it’s an empty space that someone else will probably occupy. You could see the outlines on the wall where paintings and framed stuff hung.

These days, of course, much of your personal life is replicated in digital files. So, the HR lady watched while I deleted some personal images stored on my computer and sent a few personal files to my personal email address. Even with advancements in social networking, there are some things digital that I still consider personal.

We filled four boxes, which could be sent via messenger or I could retrieve. I’ll come back the next day rather than have some stranger handle stuff I’ve felt were reflections of me – my work, my environment, my style.

I was escorted down the elevator and to the door. The HR lady gave me a hug, and I walked out into a street filled with passersby and visitors. The sky was azure and cloudless.

Now I have time. To think, write, relax and not worry about being the next one to be let go. This is my first blog post. I will write about my search, public relations and communications in general.

13 thoughts on “When You Know Something Is Wrong

  1. In all the years, did you ever have to show anyone that ID card?

    As you said, other doors will open. Take it easy today.

  2. Hey Edward,
    Terribly sorry to hear about this. Such an unfortunate turn of events. The best of luck with searching for a new job, and for prolific success with this blog!

  3. I know from my own experience when my last boss at BofA called and said “I have to have a difficult conversation with you” that things were going to be different that day. But they gave me a very precious gift, as difficult as it can be to realize at first. It’s the gift of being able to take your skills, knowledge, and expertise and use them in a new and different way. You will be great!

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