Too Close to Home

I lost 3 friends today to “right-sizing.”  One friend was closer to me than the others but it hurts the same for them all nonetheless.  I’m having a hard time thinking about them without crying.  Imagining being escorted out of the building if it had been me – which it very well could have been – is hard to bear.  

She was gone so quickly.  The one I loved the most.  We’d had our moments; our ups and downs.  But isn’t that the way it is with family?  I’d seen her every day for the past 3 years of my life and suddenly she’s been strategically plucked by some higher power.  I may see her again some day.  There’s a baby shower or two coming up she may attend.  But how can I go to work on Monday without seeing her smiling face to greet me when I finally roll in around 8:30?  Not a shred of judgement did she have for me.  Ever.  She was always on my side, always my ally.  Allies are important in the corporate world and she led me in the right direction many a time.  She used to assure me that whatever I had on that I was concerned about looked just perfect on me.  She would assure me that the boss did trust me, in spite of my childish ways.  I was always the first person she’d go to when some drama popped up around us.  Who’s going to tell me what’s going on around the office?

I’m just wallowing in my own guilt right now, I know.  But it’s just too close, just too complicated, just too unjust.

It’s different when you know someone who’s been fired from a job.  In that case there’s someone at fault and they’re paying the consequence.  In this case, the company is losing money like blood seeping from an open wound.  The company can’t be to blame and certainly not the one being let go.  It just sucks.

I was the only one crying today when the announcement was made. Probably just because the feelings had been building since she told me she knew it was going to be her.  She didn’t know about the others, but she’d told me a friend of hers in HR had called her the night before.  I didn’t totally believe her.  Either I didn’t want to believe her or I had become accustomed to the fact that she enjoys being the center of attention.  I thought hoped this was another of her games to deposit herself in the center of the attention.  I was wrong.  I wish I wasn’t.

When I came in this morning, I went over to her to tell her I’d been thinking of her all night.  What if it was true?  What if she really was about to be let go?  What would she do with a disabled husband and no income?  

She looked beautiful – full makeup and a dress.  She said she wanted to go out with grace.  She was planning on hugging each and every one of us, giving us each a special goodbye.  I know I’m being dramatic but so was she.  What else did she have?  She wanted to say a proper goodbye to each and every one of us and you know what?  She wanted to make us feel okay.  That was her goal.  But she didn’t get the opportunity to do that.  

About an hour after she dropped a sticky note with her address and contact information on my desk, she was called into the conference room for a discussion.  Our boss delivered her scripted, pre-packaged speech and Vicki was let go.  She was given options, sure.  Did she want to take the severence package?  Did she want to wait and try for another job in the company…no guarantee, by the way.  Everything was scripted, down to the walk to her car.  I never heard a thing.  I didn’t even realize it had happened.  How could I be so dense?  “Didn’t you hear them?” she asked me tonight on the phone.  “No,” I admitted.  I didn’t hear a thing.  It was so discreet.  So quick.  So seamless.

So inhuman.  

Vicki drove to Little Rock to see her family when she left.  After she complimented the  boss on her delivery of the message.  Apparently there was no consideration of performance or status in the company.  It was all based on position.  If you were the unlucky fool to hold a position no longer needed within the company, you were out of luck.

One of the other unlucky bastards was a young dad of a baby girl less than 2 years old, Stella.  He might have been the nicest person I’ve ever met.  Our last conversation he told me about his trip with his wife to Disney World, without the baby.  He went to Disney World because it was a dream of his wife’s.  That’s the kind of guy he was.  I’d never heard a negative word come from his mouth and he was always willing to do whatever was asked of him.

That’s the frustrating part about this whole decision.  It wasn’t the person, or the performance or the person’s status.  It was strictly the position they happened to have at the moment.  It could’ve been anyone.  Why them?  Fate.  That’s all I can think of.

I haven’t come to terms with any of this as of yet.  I don’t know that I will.  I’m just terribly affected…even if I’m not one of the affected ones.  I’m just sorry, you know?  I’m sorry it had to be this way.

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