It’s strange how I can go from one extreme to another in just a few posts.
Yesterday, I was recalling the proud moment six years ago when our son Anthony entered our lives. It was something I’ll truly never forget.
And to celebrate his birthday in 2009, we spent the day at Disneyland:
But don’t let the smiling faces in that picture fool you for one bit because as it was being taken, my life was being changed. This was evident by the e-mail I received from a former co-worker, who had just been given her “former” status.
The very next day, March 31, 2009, I trudged my way to work like I had done for the previous three years. I hopped on the train, made the transfer, exited the train, walked to our building, went up the stairs, put away my lunch, sat at my desk, clocked in at 8:30 using Lotus Notes.
By 8:31, I was being called into the HR office and by 9:00 my desk was free of all personal artifacts.
For it was one year ago today that I was laid off from my position at Learning Tree International, which in all actuality wasn’t that much of a surprise to me. Things had been going on behind the scenes since I arrived, namely rumors of the company moving to Reston, VA, our CA offices closing, the company being sold, etc.
But despite all of this and even after getting confirmation from those in the know (read: CEO), the news of my layoff was still hard to take.
Once I had received my paperwork and obligatory cardboard box, I went back to my fellow proofreaders to say my goodbyes. I had never seen them so subdued in all my years working there, and I’m almost certain that one of them was starting to well up. Having worked with him all this time I can honestly say that I was shocked to see that. In fact, they were the only ones in the office I said goodbye to because at this point, I just wanted to go home.
Leaving that place for the last time was definitely a strange experience. This was it–I wouldn’t ever be returning. There would be no more train rides, no more going for a mile-long walk during lunch, no shopping at Mattel’s Toy Store, no more hanging out at the Toyota Center watching the L.A. Kings practice. All of these cool things I had experienced and knew I could rely on while working there suddenly became distant memories.
While making my way back to the train station that morning, our receptionist had just stepped off the train and we crossed paths. She looked at me and my box of stuff curiously, then I told her what happened. She gave me a big hug and wished me well.
It was a long, strange train ride home. I sat there looking out the window at passing freeway traffic knowing that unless I found another job in the same area, this would be the last time I’d be riding the train. And for the first time in a long time, my mind was absolutely blank. I mean, it was a blank sheet of paper. Shit, everything around me was blank: people, the train…my life. I suddenly became lost.
The next day was even more strange. I woke up at my usual work time and upon realizing I had nowhere to go, I sat at the edge of the bed and silently sobbed. I did this quite frequently during my first month of unemployment. Losing that job–they put their trust in me despite not having a college degree–was probably one of the hardest things I’d ever experienced in my life because a huge chunk of it was now being ripped away from me.
Even now, a year after I was let go, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about all the good times I had at that job, the experience it gave me (which seems to make little or no difference in today’s job market) and most importantly, the pay and benefits. It definitely still hurts. So well was the pay that my unemployment checks are significantly more than what I was making at that job I held for six months last year. How sad is that?
And while this has put us in a position I wouldn’t wish upon anybody yet is being experienced by many these days, it has given me the opportunity to take part in many of Anthony’s school activities and coach his t-ball team, something I probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
You take the good with the bad, it seems. And if spending more time with your child is a bad thing, I don’t want any good news any time soon.
Well, other than my unemployment benefits being approved again…