Friday, July 22, 2011

I Was Not Fired

I had had my tonsillectomy (see Three out of Three Doctors Agree) and I was due for my check up. All went well. Except for that painful, can't swallow, can't talk feeling, all went well. I had my Mom to take care of me and walk my dog. I had my previous Dogwalker, my nephew, come over before the surgery to show Mom the ropes. Marlowe is a very good dog, if he knows you. I had wanted my nephew to walk Marlowe while Mom went along for a couple reasons. One, to show Mom the route that we usually take. And two, to show Marlowe that Mom is, by extension, part of his pack. I didn't want any surprises for either Marlowe or Mom while they were on their walks. This was my chance to rest.

Mom stayed with me for four days. I was doing well and she wanted to get back home. I had placed my nephew on standby for driving me to the check-up appointment because I wasn't sure how I would be driving after being on pain pills for a week.

My nephew dropped me off, and then went back to my house to take care of Marlowe. I had no idea how long I would have to wait and since I live close, no sense having my nephew wait with me, when he could be earning some money walking the dog--or taking a nap, as it turned out. College kids.

My doctor's office is on the same campus as the place where I used to work. I had been back, of course, for the pre-op visit, the surgery, and to pick up prescriptions. I don't know what made things different this time. I think it's because I ran into several people I knew on the way to my doctor's office. Why couldn't he have his office at the beginning of the hallway not the end? And why did it have to be on the fourth floor?

I saw the volunteer who used to used to work with us. She asked me how I was doing and what I was doing. I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I was let go-- that my position was eliminated-- because it felt so shameful. Like I had done something wrong. I couldn't bring myself to tell her. I lowered my head. I told her I was taking some time off because I had a surgery. I couldn't even talk that well. I wasn't lying. I was taking time off because of the surgery. I neglected to add I was taking forced time off for other reasons.

As I was walking down the hallway, I ran into another co-worker, or rather an ex-co-worker. He knew I was laid off. He said he was sorry to see me go. I thanked him. While I was talking to him I couldn't help but have the sense I was under dressed. You know that feeling where you show up to a function in Friday Casual but everyone else is in Black Tie Formal? That's the feeling I had. I wasn't badly dressed, I wasn't wearing my ripped jeans, my ratty tennis shoes, a worn t-shirt. I was dressed comfortably, cleanly, and nicely. I wasn't wearing a business suit and high heels. It didn't matter what I was wearing. It was me who was out of place.

I no longer belonged there. I no longer worked there; I no longer was part of the team, the family. I was an ex-co-worker. I am ex.

The shabbiness that I attributed to my clothing, was attaching itself to me and the sense of shame I felt for having failed. Even though I, as I keep telling myself, I had done nothing wrong. It is not my fault. My position was eliminated and I was laid off. I was not fired. I was laid off.

That still does not lessen the feeling of shabbiness.

That still does not lessen the feeling of shame.

© pranaknits

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