Monday, November 29, 2010

Days Going Downstream

Laid Off Day 19-ish

It's alarming to me the way the days are going by. Time is dripping like water out of my hands and flowing away into a whole river of yesterdays, and making me feel like a wastrel.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly three weeks since I stopped working, and I STILL don't have the spices alphabetized, the grout cleaned or the leaves raked up (okay listen, the leaf people aren't coming till DECEMBER 29 - I have lots of time to get that done, really I do. They aren't going anywhere, except maybe over onto the neighbours' driveways...). And I still haven't lost that "five pounds in a hurry" that I was going to get on right away (made four kinds of shortbread last week - kind of counterproductive to the weight loss effort).

The awareness of time's relentless flow only really comes when there is an abundance of it. When I am busy,  I don't worry so much about time, except that there never seems to be enough, so I just do what I can with what little I have. But now there is a big river of time before me,  and if I don't DO something real with it, it will just dribble away.

I guess that's why we're all about the to-do lists and the calendars  - anything to containerize our time - to create and preserve an illusion that we have some mastery over its inevitable flow downstream.

So today I'm going to write down a bunch of things to do, and then I'll climb out from under the duvet and actually attempt a couple of them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dreaming of Work. And Mayonnaise.

Laid Off-Day 8

So I've been feeling remarkably zen-ish about this whole layoff thing, especially now that I've got most of the paperwork out of the way.  Basically what happens is that your former employer agrees to give you some money (and my understanding is that it's generally an insultingly small amount) to go away.  Really go away.  Like, you have to sign something that says "I'll eff off and not bother you anymore, about anything, ever again.  And thanks for the minuscule amount of severance pay. I promise to tell nobody how much money you did or didn't give me to eff off."  And of course in our society it's ALWAYS personal when it comes to money. So even after what you think has to be the final insult - the actual layoff- you then have to deal with the "severance package". Another judgement, another blow to the fragile ego. And another reason to freak out about the fact that You. Don't. Have. A. Job.

But we're all sorted out now and, as promised,  I'm focusing my attention on properly effing off. Not physically, cause I've settled in fairly nicely here at home. But properly gone in my own head, which seems pretty good during the day about the whole "I don't work there anymore" thingy and the part where I threw all my in-progress projects (and hours, days, weeks of work) in the recycling as I walked out the door last Wednesday.  And the conscious me is cool with the half-jar of Hellman's Light I left in the lunchroom fridge.  And I'm only faintly irked (more puzzled actually) to learn that some random guy from some other random department is sitting at my former desk, and has assumed something vaguely resembling my former job.

But at night I've been having fever-dreams about my work. The work itself. Wanting to give it to people who refuse take it.  Being forced to hand it off and not wanting to give it up.  Trying to explain what needs to be done to people who don't understand or who won't listen. And people I only vaguely recognize are making sandwiches, filling my emptied file folders with assorted meats and cheeses, and generous dollops of reduced-fat mayonnaise (okay, I made that part up, although one particularly bizarre dream did feature tiny Scottish TV nutritionist, Gillian McKeith, in a cameo role).  Just frustration after frustration, all night long.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Part of Life's Rich Pageant Where Mary Gets Laid Off!

Laid off – Day 1

I guess this I my first “official” day of being laid off, although I did have some practice yesterday since it was Remembrance Day and everyone was off anyway. 

I’ve been preparing for this day for a while now, although part of me (the part that made, packed and brought lunch to work on Wednesday) was hanging back.  To be honest, that hanging back part was the part of me that said “who cares if you are totally miserable at work, and that the company is imploding, and that nobody has either known or cared how you were spending your workdays for months now, it would just be wrong to WANT to be laid off.  I mean, what kind of person besides a total slack-ass would hope to be let go from their job? What kind of fate-tempter would go to work on a Wednesday without a lunch, just so they didn't have to schlep it, embarassingly, back out of the building when they were escorted off the premises?” 

So it was that part of me that got out of bed this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, put on appropriate clothes, did the hair (but did go VERY easy on the eye makeup in case of tears, of which there were none, by the way), packed the lunch, worked on the projects (meaningless or not), returned the emails and phone calls, and smiled and chatted with everyone.  And waited to see which way the axe would swing.

My way, as it turned out. And the way of 36 other of my friends and colleagues. My former employer is practically halved from what it was less than a week ago, and about 75% smaller than when I started with the company nearly four years ago (did you notice the part earlier where I mentioned “imploding”?).

So welcome to a brand new scene in Life’s Rich Pageant.  I do hope you’ll  join me as I explore the exotic new land of the unemployed.  Cause I think it might be just a little lonely here at home with just the dog for company. And I’ll be much more likely to shower, dress and brush my teeth each day; and much less likely to lace my orange juice with vodka if I think someone is watching.