I was worried Monday morning. Not because of anything work-related; just because I’d scheduled a dentist appointment, and the last check-up I had resulted in a root canal. Thankfully, this appointment was much more successful. I got flossed, cleaned, and polished, and the hygienist told me I practice good homecare. She said I have beautiful teeth.
I left the dentist and headed to work. Well, first, I went to McDonald’s and bought a sausage McMuffin and a cup of coffee. The McMuffin was delicious; the coffee was old. (I’ve since emailed the Mickey D’s hq to complain, and am watching the mail for free coffee vouchers.) I hopped on the interstate and headed to work.
I arrived at the office at about 10:20, and L, my designer, whispered to me as I set my bag down, “JD got laid off this morning.”
“What?! JD?!” The N&O’s user support manager and a friend of ours, JD is a commodity here. I didn’t see that one coming. We knew layoffs were coming in the next couple of weeks, but I wasn’t expecting them Monday morning. I wasn’t expecting JD to go.
I saw M crying in her office and my chest tightened. Not M. Our creative director, she’s worked here for 18 years. She’s 58, has a grown son and a daughter in college. Her husband died suddenly three years ago.
I sat down at my computer and began to check my 54 emails. I opened a document to begin typing skirt!‘s May calendar. I heard the quick, light footsteps of S, the magazine department director. I heard her coming into our office, coming toward my cubicle…and then I felt the touch of her hand on my shoulder. “Faith, can I see you in my office for a moment?”
No. Way. Me?
I knew then, before I ever walked up the stairs onto her floor; before I ever stepped into her office and sat in one of her rigid metal and cloth chairs; before J, the VP of our department, ever looked at me with bleary, red, eyes.
It was all very surreal, as J began his speech, a bit choked up, “Faith, this is not personal. It has nothing to do with your performance…” I nodded and said that I knew. I can’t remember what else they said, but I remember nodding, and I remember hugging them both, and saying, “Don’t worry about me.”
You see, Sunday night, before all this happened, I got that panicky Sunday evening feeling I always get. In anticipation of the stress of work, I feel uneasy, and a sense of urgency that things have to change. I cried at our kitchen table, Simon read some scripture to me while tears ran down my cheeks. We prayed at the table, then moved to the floor, to our knees, finally lying prostrate on our hardwood floors…silent but for the whispers of “Jesus….please…”
He didn’t speak loudly to me, as I had hoped. I didn’t hear him say, “Move to Charlotte/Greensboro/Winston-Salem/New York/London.” But I felt peace come over me. And Monday morning, it all made sense.
So, when S and J were finished telling me that my job was eliminated, I thanked them for their sensitivity. I told them not to worry, that Simon and I had been praying, and this was obviously an answer. I hugged them, went back to my desk, grabbed my things, and drove home to digest the news. In shock, but also breathing more easily than I have in months…
My last day is April 21…watch this space as I walk through the emotions of this new experience.