Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Terminated. Effective Immediately.

In a fog, I gathered up my belongings and put them in a box used to house paper for the copy machine, the sturdy ones that once had holes for handles punched into the sides, but not for several years. I guess it's cheaper this way.

Minutes earlier, I heard the words that sort of sucked all the air out of the room.  It was not a cliche Donald Trump dismissal, but one that was far less dramatic yet equally as punishing. I heard the words and not much else. At that point there were simply lips moving to the sound of the blood pumping in my ears. My focus was on trying to understand the vagary of why.




There was debate over who would escort me to my car, a longtime coworker or the station "bodyguard."

The latter's presence is standard in case a recently terminated employee becomes a loose cannon.

I was not embarrassed by my situation, though I easily could have been-- cleaning out my work space in the middle of a busy newsroom. I've never been fired before and had no idea how exactly I was supposed to behave.

So I did what felt right: I held my head high in the knowledge that I had worked hard, learned so much and achieved a great deal in the year since I moved into the digital department, a change that was not presented to me as a choice.

That pride cannot be taken from me in a tiny office with no windows.

And as I later learned, others were also proud-- believing in me and proud of my performance. I hear there were whispers of my unceremonious departure and lamenting about the unfairness of it all.

My message to anyone who may ask is this: I left with a smile on my face. Perhaps I am in shock. Perhaps I really am giddy that I don't have to be in that basement again. I have spent several hours since being let go simply wandering around my house picking at my cuticles and wondering when I might get my appetite back, neither activity a true gauge of how I feel.

Every journalist has one fleeting thought when they are not in the newsroom, when they leave a desk or duty unmanned: they're gonna miss me when I'm gone.

As much as I would like to believe my absence will cause the news beast to tilt I've been in the business long enough to know that that's only a bitter fool's daydream.  Those who still report to work every day will get it done because it has to be done. I know. That's usually the side I'm on.

The unemployed girl's guide to not falling apart