Sometimes I write from musings, and sometimes I write from things that happen to me or someone I know. Today I’m writing about something that happened to me. Something I had actually never heard happens, but now I know it does. And it sucks. On Thursday, October 24, 2018 at 1pm EST, I was brought into a meeting with my supervisor. She started off the conversation with asking how things are going and I gave her an overview and report and expected her to either make suggestions or tell me I’m on the right track. What I did not expect and I know no one can ever prepare for, especially when there were no signs of discontent from my employer, were the next words that came out of her mouth.
“Amy, I’m sorry, but we have to part ways.” Just like that. No explanation. Just, “Thank you for your service, we wish you well, but it’s time to move on.” I have to say, when I woke up that morning, boarded the first of two buses and headed to work, I was not thinking that by 1pm that same day, I would be looking for work. I was blindsided. I was shell-shocked. I honestly couldn’t breathe for a moment. I just sat there, trying to comprehend what my supervisor was telling me. After over a year and a half with a company I had worked faithfully for, loved and saw myself staying with for a minimum of five years (as in, ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ ‘Working at this clinic, managing and seeing it grow and hopefully thrive.’) I was being let go without a single word of explanation.
I asked what I had done and was informed that it was nothing I had done. That was it. Through the haze, I tried to think of how my co-workers would be without me, without a manager to help things run smoothly. In any job change, I have always wanted to make sure I never leave anyone in the lurch. When I asked if they would be okay, I was informed the new person starts on Monday.
Jaw drop. Disbelief. Gratitude that I wasn’t sipping the water in front of me at the time, because my former supervisor may have gotten sprayed with it. How does it feel to know that your leaving of a company through no fault of your own was planned well enough in advance that the person filling your position comes in on Monday, creating no gap in your employment (I work four days a week and another staff member covers Fridays, so essentially, there was no gap between me and the new person)? How does it feel? Horrible. Gut-wrenching. Sickening.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and could barely comprehend as my former supervisor slid an envelope across the table detailing my severance and reminding me that I had to immediately return any clinic property, such as my key and uniforms and I didn’t need to work to the end of the day but would be paid anyway. She asked if I wanted my co-worker to pack up my things and bring them down to me, thus somehow ‘saving me any embarrassment’ as I did the walk of shame. I told her that no, I wanted to collect my things myself, that there were no patients at that time to witness my downfall and that I wanted a chance to say goodbye to at least the few staff who had not yet gone on their lunch break.
I said goodbye to a few people, puzzled as to the reason, simply telling them I was being let go and wished them well, unable to hide the tears I tried so valiantly to hold in. I left hurriedly like a thief or someone who had done something shameful, instead of being given the dignity of holding my head high, knowing that I had done nothing wrong. I called my husband immediately to let him know, then got on a bus to head home, not sure where I was and what I was even doing.
How does it feel to be in such a situation? It’s a grieving for sure. It’s disorienting and easy to be bitter and exasperated and a host of other negative emotions. Your feelings go in waves, from disbelief, to anger to relief that some of the stresses you had when working in that job are no longer there, to fear that you will be unemployed for a long time and then how will you pay bills even if you have EI, which is only 60% of your salary anyway, to anger again that your former employer treated you in such a fashion after all the hours of service you put in without a single complaint, to feeling crushed by the weight of rejection.
Ironically, I can write this objectively two days after it all happened. Maybe not so ironically, since I have an incredible network of friends and family who have been supportive, praying, urging me not to give up and to move on, giving me good advice on the best way to go forward, and generally not letting me get down on myself. Some of my friends have shared their own experiences of being let go with no good reason, and knowing I am not alone, has been a huge help.
I am trying, with God’s help, not to be bitter at my employer, not only for the manner in which I was dismissed, but also for how little they seem to care for my wellbeing or the wellbeing of my family, as the severance was a scant two weeks salary, which means I had better to get a new job that pays at least as much as I was making before with equal or more hours because now I have higher bills to equal the previous higher salary, just before the Christmas season where most employers aren’t hiring, in the scant space of two weeks, or we stand a chance of going into arrears for bills. I am fortunate that my husband also works, though we are a dual income family because it is just too expensive to live in Toronto without that.
Now, I don’t write all this for you to feel sorry for me or even be angry on my behalf. I am simply writing my experience and thanking you all in advance for kind words and prayers for our family. It’s tough suddenly being unemployed in today’s economy and so close to Christmas, but I know God will provide as He always does. I just find that, especially as a writer, I need to get my thoughts out and sharing them with others is cathartic.
I also hope that my experience will make others who have or are going through the same or similar situations, feel less alone. So, if you have a story to share, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your stories and how you got through or are getting through the tough times. And if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, know that I’m in the same boat as are many others in this world. As my mother says, “God won’t drop you.” I feel at the moment like He has, but I know there is a bigger, better plan He has for me. I just need to be patient. And take the time I have while unemployed to rethink what I want to do with my life. And maybe be there for others who are going through or have gone through what I am currently going through.
I am also really sorry I haven’t written a post in ages. I have been going through a real dry time in my writing, not really feeling like sharing my thoughts online. I know that this too shall pass. I hope to be blogging again real soon. Maybe I will even do a series on job hunting. I guess we’ll see.
Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!