Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day Two - The Dreaded Return

Thursday, May 19th 2016 - Another night where sleep eluded me.  Why didn't I just have them send my final checks in the mail?  I didn't want to go in.  If I didn't already have business in town to take care of there's a good chance I would have just sent a cowardly email requesting them to mail the checks.

Since I had other appointments, I dressed a bit more nicer than I usually do.  I'm glad that twist of fate influenced my attire, otherwise it probably would have been sweatpants and a tee shirt.  Slacks and a collard shirt was just the right amount of confidence I needed to get through this.

My timing was perfect.  I arrived just as the receptionist was coming back from lunch.  No awkward "ring for service" moment.  While my check was being retrieved I made an awkward walk past my former desk.  Was happy to see my favorite hoodie still slung over the chair which I retrieved.

Most everyone was to burred in their work to notice me, either that or just avoided eye contact all together which I guess is understood.. really.. what do you say to me?  "How's it going?"

I was a bit surprised that when my checks were brought out they were short.  Just didn't make sense and even less so that I had to point out the error.  Since they were only two-days short I told them to just mail it and I really don't see myself coming back anytime soon.

I had the good fortune of catching someone in the elevator that I had missed saying goodbye too.  It was nice chatting with someone I consider a friend to take the edge off my emotions.  A friendly hug for good luck and off I went.

Pulling out of the parking lot for the last time wasn't as emotional as I had thought it would be.  In fact, I felt a sense of relief and anticipation for the possibilities that are now open to me.  Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy popped into my head and I started singing to myself "So long and thanks for all the fish!  So sad that it should come to this; We tried to warn you all but oh dear - You may not share our intellect; Which might explain your disrespect; For all the natural wonders that grow around you!

So long, so long and thanks for all the fish!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day One - Getting the ball rolling.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 - Sleep was elusive and I was functioning mostly through autonomous nerve responses.  First order of business was to get the unemployment insurance process started as soon as the State website was accepting applications.  The site was as expected, inefficient and didn't even ask for enough information to complete the application process.  It forced me to place a phone call for such rudimentary information such as the name of my former employer.  Really?

Very much to my surprise the calling process went well.  As expected I was placed on hold but given the option of hanging up and receiving a call-back in "more than one hour".  In not much more than an hour that call came in.  A young man that I'm guessing had some sort of disability by his precise and deliberate speech pattern.  He was very knowledgeable and didn't appear that he was reading from a script.

I did get slightly annoyed at one point after he informed me that a verbal hearing would need to be held in two weeks to determine if my vacation pay would delay the start of my benefits.  Seemed to me that given the facts presented it would be a simple matter of policy to determine that.  The company simply gave me a check for the value of my remaining accrued vacation time, really nothing to deliberate over.

The remainder of the day was very emotional.  I was overwhelmed by so many random thoughts.  How will I manage my budget?  Do I have enough money to get through this?  What are people saying?  What will I do now?  What type of work should I be looking for?  Should I relocate?

Random questions and random answers.

By mid morning the news started spreading through the office and my network of friends.  My phone began chiming with text messages, emails and social media notifications.  Even voice calls.

I couldn't believe the range of people reaching out to me.  Friends, co-workers, even customers and vendors from my former employer.  I actually felt a little shame in not realizing the support I had and that I've taken many of these relationships for granted.

This really was a highlight of my day.  Though I've been confident from the start that everything will turn out okay, this just reinforced it.  I'm now armed with some very solid references and a network of people looking out for new opportunities for me to explore.

As the day winds to an end the excitement begins to give way to anxiety.  Tomorrow I have to return to the office to collect my final pay.  Signing in as a "guest" will be awkward.  Pulling out of the parking lot will be emotional.  Why did I say I'd pick up my checks in person?  I could have easily just had them mailed to me.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day Zero - Taking Charge

As expected, breaking the news to everyone when I arrived home brought me nothing but support.  My composure remained calm.  Perhaps my experience of being laid off from my previous job, being divorced twice and windowed once has desensitized me to these spontaneous life changing events.

Before putting a whole lot of thought into the future my instincts are to take care of the "now".

Step one was to figure out how the Connecticut State unemployment compensation system works.  Was happy to see that it could be done online and that was the preferred method.  Unfortunately the website is only available during business hours.  Really?  At least I was able to browse the informational parts of the site and learn about the process.  Oddly it appears that there is no way to do the process entirely online and that it would involve some phone time as well.  Looks like tomorrow is getting filled quickly.

I'm very confident that I will be working again in short order.  But the realist in me knows that confidence doesn't always equate to success and so many events outside of my control can affect the process.  So it's time to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Rather than getting wrapped up in fine detail, I opt for pencil and paper over spreadsheet to refine my budget in such a way to lessen the urgency in finding new employment.  I want to have enough time to find a position that will be a good fit and mutually rewarding for everyone.  I figure I have a good 15-year run left in me and my next position will be the one I will retire from.

A deep sleep will be elusive but my body is physically drained.  An early night it is.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day Zero - "Your Position has been Eliminated"

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 - Just another day.  Woke up begrudgingly after stretching the snooze limits of my morning alarm.  Poured my morning coffee as a get ready to begin my commute only minutes later.

I've always been an early riser, preferring to be early and beating the traffic.  Knowing I can be prone to stress I do everything I can to avoid it.  Being on the road by 6 a.m. my commute is as usual, uneventful.  What would normally be over an hour drive during rush-hour is barely a half-hour for me.

My day was typical.  I had my morning routine of maintenance items to address which kept me busy until there was a fire to put out.  As usual a few I.T. issues popped up that was immediately addressed.

After lunch this routine would repeat.  I'd take care of the afternoon routine tasks and waiting for the next fire.

In the course of my work I run into my (new) boss in the hallway.  "Got a minute?" he says, as he continues walking.  I follow and say "Sure, what's up?" and without any more dialogue we're entering the office of the CEO and the door closes behind me.

Comic relief is how I typically handle a potentially stressful situation and I said "Whoa... High school flashbacks being called into the principals office."  which met with a long pause and a cold monotone "We're eliminating your position, the company is moving into a different direction" followed by generic HR related information about unemployment insurance and healthcare.

Not expecting this my brain quickly tried to search for an appropriate response.  I could either blow up into a rage or just accept it.  I reasoned that there was no argument I could make to alter this decision.  So I extended my hands explaining that I understood that business is business.  Thanked them for the 21 years and that I had no ill will towards the company.

He then handed me his business card and told me that he would be willing to write exemplary letters of recommendations as needed.

I then awkwardly headed out the door asking if I was free to leave on my own or will I be escorted out...  I was allowed to roam freely.

The next four hours were filled with emotional goodbyes and holding back tears.  After all, it's been a long run.  Some of the people were the adult children of people who were barley adults themselves when I started 21-years ago.

Finally, after gathering my personal belongings and hauling them out to the car I pull out of the driveway.  Already feeling the anxiety of knowing that I will have to return in a few days to pick up my final pay.

I don't really have any recollection of the drive home.  But I was sure glad that I had a wonderful spouse waiting that I know would comfort and support me through this.