Nothing ever prepares you for getting laid off. No matter how strong and sturdy you think you are, the news does catch you off guard; hitting you on the head like a half ton brick off the wall of Jericho. You go through a whole palette of emotions and too many thoughts race through your head.
At first, you get shocked; literally dumbfounded. Your words get taken captive in your voice box, restricting them from coming out. You take a moment to let it all sink in. you get thrown into turmoil, not sure of what next; having no answer to the question, “What now?”
Almost immediately, you get angry-mostly at yourself. You begin to look back at your lackadaisical ‘moments’ and periods of mediocrity with a lot of cynicism. “You should have known better!” “You should not have come late to work so often. We all know that a FIFATM tournament on a weeknight is not a good idea” “What is wrong with you?” “Such a wonderful opportunity and you had to mess it up” You act as your own personal judge, jury and executioner.
Shortly after, another family member joins the fray-and his name is denial. “It cannot be. Me? No, this must be a mistake.” In spite of the fact that you just heard it with your own ears, you somehow convince yourself that it must be a ruse. It makes no sense. I mean, you tried your very best; you were not the most faithful, yes, but at least each time you ran an errand, you brought back accurate change and a receipt. That, and don’t forget that you refused to partake in the plan to forge procurement documents that gave everyone in the department, except you, a fat bonus check in December. So how is it that you are the one being let go; it is just not fair.
You then spiral into a wannabe Sherlock Holmes. You delve into your work history, wondering if there was something that you could have done-or done differently-that could be used as a clutching straw for your already shipwrecked employment status. Maybe if you worked an extra hour, or agreed to work on Sunday when you had been requested to, you would not be in this quagmire. Maybe you should have been a little less outspoken about the injustices you saw and about what you believed in, and become more of a corporate ass-kisser. Maybe then, you would not be in this predicament. Now look at where your progressive rebellion has gotten you…jobless.
Well, atleast these are some of the things I went through when I got called by my boss, telling me that they had decided to terminate my services due to blaberdy blah blah blah.
So, after getting laid off yesterday, I reported to the office today. I was allowed to run down my remaining days of the month so that I can get my full pay. Right now, I am sensing that it was not the most sensible thing to do.
When I got into the premises, I felt all the pump and near-bipolar excitement that I normally carry around decide to rebel against me and refuse to go past the door. They adamantly stood at the door and said, “There is no jazz in there. We ain’t goin’ in. You on your own bro”
Everything felt foreign, like I was in there for the first time. As I walked down the corridors and up and down the stairs, I felt alone. Isolated. Like we were all sharing the same physical space, but were in different time frames. Everything just felt wrong.
I tried to do a few things here and there, trying to make myself feel ‘useful’, but nothing did. I look back at it now and I feel like that was an entire day wasted. I could have spent it editing my Spiritual father’s books and allowing my head to get all crazy as I did the layout design. (Yes, we have actually started a publishing company) These are actually projects that excite me, that I look forward to doing because they are in line with my gift…writing. Even while I was still employed, I could not wait for the days to end so that I could find myself in front of my computer again…just so I could write, just so I could design. I was never as happy during my day, as I was at night when I got to do these.
I did not enjoy today at all.
However, in the midst of all this, something funny happened which I feel is worth mention. My heart was at peace the entire time. This was funny because I have a heart with a talent for fretting. Letting things go is not his strongest suit. You should have heard what he had to say the other day when that matatu guy tried to overcharge him. Almost started a revolution. When he feels like something is not fair, he will not just smile and roll over.
However, today of all the days, when my mind had what it termed as a solid case, he chose not to partake in it. When called upon, he sat up and rolled the shades halfway down his nose; looked at us; heard what we had to say and without uttering a word, pushed the shades back over his eyes and lay back on his recliner. His statement was clear, “It is not worth my time”
So here I am, penning this about 10:45 at night, with no thought for tomorrow. For the first time in a long time, I have what I have been whining to God about: TIME. Time to chase after what I want; after what I believe in and after what thrills me. I have time to spend with my wife and our unborn little sunflower; both who were the greatest casualties of my former job. I have a clean slate; an opportunity to do something better and create something better.
Today, is my first day.