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When Life Gives you Lemons (Sort of Updated)

October 3, 2010

Fun Fact:  I got laid off Sept 1st at 6:30 p.m.  At 7:10, I issued my last set of drawings, specifications, and load calculations for a project that I was no longer the PM for.

Another fun fact:  I would like to point out that our work day officially ended at 5:30, so on the day that I got laid off, I had already put in an hour of overtime when he laid me off, and I ended up putting in another hour of overtime to finish my job, and clean up my desk. I couldn’t just walk away and leave it all unfinished, when I knew the client was waiting.

The 40 minutes between finding out I was laid off and issuing that package was not fun.  I had to work on a project that I no longer had any control over, and I had to do it in a professional manner.  I had to write an e-mail in which I casually mentioned another person’s name as a contact point, but made it look like I wasn’t doing it because I wouldn’t be there the next day.  And I had to do it without crying, because I really, really, really didn’t want anyone there to see me cry.  My pride was wounded enough, I didn’t need any added humiliation.  I casually handed off binders, and information to a superior, cleaned up my desk (How did I accumulate so much stuff?) and left with two bags on my shoulders, and an orchid in one hand.

On the street, it’s the plant that gives you away.  It’s very normal to see individuals walking down a street in Midtown carrying a lot of bags.  We don’t have cars, so we carry all our stuff in our hands.  You don’t even notice.

But the plant.  The single, solitary, leafy green plant.  Small enough to fit properly on a desk without taking up too much space.  The pot is probably something mundane, something that won’t stick out too much in an office environment.

That’s the give away.  The damn plant.

I actually considered leaving the orchid behind.  It was just so cliché.  However, it had just begun to flower.  It’s been a year and a half since it flowered, and most of us know how difficult it is to get an orchid to re-flower.  I really wanted to see the blooms unfold.  So I took it and endured the walk of shame with the traitorous orchid firmly in hand.

I had never concentrated so hard on my crossword app on the subway in my life.

23 down: Staring at a person with sympathy and shame (9 letters).

I felt all eyes on me, although in reality, it’s possible no one noticed me.  But that’s what shame and embarrassment does to a person.  Convinces you the whole world is just as ashamed and embarrassed for you as you are for yourself.

I was the only one laid off.  And we all know that really means that there had to be a reason, and I won’t lie.  There were a few.  One was that a new associate and I didn’t really get along.  It wasn’t that we didn’t like each other, it’s just that we had very different ways of communicating our points.  In a small company that’s a problem.  That was the beginning of the end, I suppose. I fully understand why it was me, and I have no hard feelings about that.

It’s been a month and while I was very upset and hurt the first week, I’ve slowly been accepting my unemployed state.  This is the first time I’ve felt comfortable enough to write about it, despite the fact that I started composing the blog in my head the second I picked up the orchid.

I’ve had very few moments of unemployment in my life since I was a teenager.  And this was the first time it wasn’t my choice.  I’m a bit confused about my future.  I was not that happy at that job- mostly due to sheer boredom.  I’m not sure there were more than a few months that I had enough work to fill my days there.  Monetarily, Baba and I are fine.  Baba took a 6 month job and I think it’s been good for his mental health to finally have a job to go to, and unemployment benefits are filling in the rest of what we need.

I’ve decided to take my time to make the next decision.  I need to.  I feel like a weight has been lifted, because when I get up in the morning, I know I don’t have to find ways to pretend to be working.  I can just do what I need and want to do.   We’ll see where this leads me, but I believe that in the long run, this will be a great move for me, even if it wasn’t my choice to begin with.

The orchid has settled well into its new home- my home.  And the bud grows a little every day.  It should bloom in a month or so.  I’m sure it will be lovely.

Edited to add:  What the heck, it’s my blog and I’ll advertise if I want to-  I’m currently looking for freelance writing gigs.  If you know of any and aren’t offended by my writing style then let me know.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 9:51 am

    This was good for me to read.

    Also, I find it funny that we both have a flower analogy going on. . .

  2. October 4, 2010 1:15 pm

    Oh dear, Angie. But at least you are making lemonaide. I really do believe that this will open a door for you and you will find something better. Love, Leslie

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