As an efficiency expert and a certifiable neat-freak I would say that 99 percent of the time I’m on the ball. No detail is overlooked. No project is unfinished. Imagine my shock when I was informed my beloved company was performing some “restructuring” changes. After analyzing my risk in comparison to my accomplishments I had decided not to get too worked up. After all, I was only an administrative assistant, and an underpaid one at that. I went about my daily tasks cheerfully with an undertone of despair as I noted multiple co-workers packing their personal items into cardboard boxes. Mid-morning, after watching as four dear employees were solemnly escorted from the building, I began to worry about the remaining four to be hacked. I was reassured by many it couldn’t possibly happen to me. “With all that you do?” “With how efficiently you work?” I should have known better by the hints of regret I could see in my manager’s eyes. I assumed it was for the others, deluded myself into disregarding any thoughts that it could be for me.
Not minutes after reassurance, with my confidence still only pitifully hanging by mere threads, I was asked “Hey, you wanna come talk to me in here” followed by a head jerk to the conference room. My stellar ability to control my tear-ducts reared its ugly head as I squeaked out a scared, “Sure, is this what I think it is?” A simple nod and the waterworks exploded; a full-on ocean careening out of my baby blues. If only I had gotten the waterproof mascara, I might have looked slightly less deplorable.
They went through the procedure, our HR Manager coolly explaining the severance package and a giant legal packet I was required to sign. My manager sat awkwardly across from me with a decidedly somber expression. After the legality of the whole thing was through I was taken up to my desk with a cardboard box in hand, a huge neon sign to all that I would be departing. No one made eye contact, out of respect or shame I couldn’t tell. I packed what few personal things I had into the ‘box of shame’ and was escorted by my manager and the plant manager to my car. I tried my best to remain composed but still managed to whimper as I how professed much I had loved my job. “We know, and we loved having you work here. We did everything we could to keep your job but we just couldn’t.”
So now, after cluttering my apartment with used tissues and updating every job-finding profile I have, I sit in wonder. If I was so valued by my co-workers, why me? Will I find another job I will love as much as that one? Will I lose my apartment? I choose to wallow in this pity only momentarily. Tomorrow it’ll be back to pounding the pavement, as my father would say. I’ve been hit where it hurts, but I will not submit to being another recession blues story.