Average Jane

Right-Sized: The “Real America”

As I took off the disposable underwear, I thought to myself, “It really could be worse.” My trip to the spa was possibly one of my last indulgences — but it was well worth it. Yesterday was not going to be about “it”. The day was going to be about me. It was a continuation of the celebration that I had been so blessed to share with my very dearest friends in California — a trip of a lifetime for my birthday. We ate, drank, and were merry to say the least.

They were bright days both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They were 80 degree days spent with the top down on a white convertible. They were days spent standing up for what I beleive in. They were days of yoga and knitting and cooking and baking. It was perfect. My company was lucky I came back.

It made their task much easier.

I lost my job yesterday. Downsized. “Right sized.” Laid off.

I came into work after an early morning therapy appointment and a trip to the dentist. I saw people with boxes but thought nothing of it. “He should have been gone a long time ago,” I callously quipped to myself.

Late for a meeting with the VP, thanks to an incompetent dentist, I arrived to find a note instructing me on the meeting’s location.

I arrived at the obscure “privacy room” to find a closed door. *knock* “Come in.” There were two of them. And the envelope. That envelope. The “you got hired” envelope. The “here’s your promotion” envelope. The “we’re so sorry” envelope.

“I think I know what this is about…”

“We’re so sorry.” (See, called it.) “The company, as you know is going through some tough times and we need to made some significant cuts, and unfortunately you fall into that group.”

I said it was fine. I get it. What can I take with me? I didn’t cry. Not a tear. Not one tear until I said, “Thank you. For putting up with me. I know I’m not easy. It’s meant the world to me to work here.” The hardened other woman in the meeting didn’t say a word. She pulled out a stealthily hidden tissue box. She shed a tear. Offered me a tissue. Silently. We went through the motions. Severance through the end of the year. Your access will be turned off at the end of the day but we don’t expect you to stay if you don’t want to. “No. I think I’ll be going.”

I went back to my desk in tears. Who else was gone? Who else knew? Who could I tell?

Word spread quickly but I was ok. This is a remarkable opportunity for me. It has to be. It can’t not be.

The last thing I did was stop by HR. Again, I thanked her. I thanked her for the opportunity to be a part of the company. I told her that what sets that company apart from other companies is the people. The willingness and desire to have dynamic, interesting, diverse people. The fun. The spirit days. The cookouts. The “thank yous”. The little things. I implored her not to let that slip away. I told her that it would be a shame to let that go. She cried, too. I cried. I meant it. I will miss them all.

My boss offered to walk me to my car. I am glad we weren’t alone because I would have lost it. She is… well, she’s the best boss anyone could ever ask for. She is more than my supervisor, she is a friend. She is my body pump partner. She is my confidant. We have shared so much.

I have conspicuously avoided talking about my job on this blog. Mostly because I have nothing snarky nor negative to say about it. I struggled. I felt incompetent. I wanted to leave over and over again, but my boss, and the knowledge that I had the abilities locked somewhere within me kept me there. My colleagues who put up with me kept me there. My Justin Timberlake poster, lite brite, easy button…Β  My iTunes network, “duck cracker/nut quacker”, Guapo’s picture colored in crayon… They kept me there. I won’t say, “I could have thrived there.” Because I did thrive there. I am a better person because of them.

When I visited Berekely this weekend, I asked my friend, an economist, if “it” was as bad as it seemed. The economy. “It’s worse. You have no idea.” So, what does it mean to be in a recession? What happens… practically speaking. “People lose their jobs.” Right. But then what?

I will soon find out. I suppose the answer is, we move on.

For months I have heard about the economic crisis. I put my faith in the new government to pull us through. I knew that people “over there” were getting laid off. It was happening, but not to me. Never to me. Our company had gotten through worse. They told us so. But now I am “them”. I am the “over there”. It has come “here”. And I am not alone in this. 16 people got laid off yesterday. People with families and houses and pets. I have nothing. I have me, and I’m going to be great.

So I went to get a facial. I had a coupon. I returned a flat-iron and took the cash over to the spa and sat in a steam room and was pampered. The woman who gave me the facial was from Iran. Her accent was intoxicating. I told her what had happened and she said she was sorry. When it was all over I thanked her. She told me not to worry and told me her story. She was an immigrant and had nothing. She lost job after job because she didn’t have the skills (never having worked in Iran) and didn’t know the language. Her husband was the 3rd most noted engineer in the middle east and came here for opportunity. He couldn’t pass the language test and was forced to take hourly work. Now he owns a company and her daughters are in graduate school and she has a great job that she loves. She said, “Another door will open for you. Just be strong.”

I am fine. I am. Overwhelmed. A little fearful. But fine. I have a plan (involving coffee and free wifi) and a good head on my shoulders. I don’t need pity. I need a job. That door will open for me and I will walk through it.

I’m not alone in this. I am just a part of the Real America.

P.S. If you need a really nice, smart, super fun marketing professional… πŸ™‚


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Jolee says:

    Ouch- that sucks but I wish you luck with your future!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Beach Bum says:

    Sorry to hear that!!! I work for one of those places that gets stronger when recession hits — our downsizing was at the beginning of the year, because the lack of an economic crisis means we’re not needed. Now we’re hiring like crazy (but no marketing needed — we don’t need to do marketing).

    Good luck!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Bill says:

    I’m sure you will find something very interesting and fun. It looks bleak now, but the world is about to change, and you will change for the better with it.

    Who knows.. my job may open up soon, and I’ll be saying what you said, but less eloquently.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  4. * Eva says:

    We are here cheering you on m’dear! πŸ™‚

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  5. * Me says:

    You’re right. You’re strong and will get through this. However, you’re missed here. Don’t ever think that you aren’t. You know I’m here, so just let me know if you need to talk, complain, cry…whatever it is, I’m here. I miss you, but lucky for me I didn’t only see you here. I’m one of the lucky ones. ❀

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  6. * KassyK says:

    I am so sorry. I am one of the unemployed ones out there searching and no matter how bad it gets for me, I still feel so awful when I hear of someone being laid off. But you know what? You are 100% right. Another door will open and your optimism and skills will allow you to be in a better situation soon.

    It is a really really scary time and has been for a while…I just hope we all get through it with the kind of optimism you have–it is really great to read and feel inspired by.

    Take care of you. πŸ™‚

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  7. * Sam says:

    As I took off the disposable underwear, I thought to myself, β€œIt really could be worse.”

    Write a book. Start it with this sentence.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  8. * Sam says:

    Okay so I kind of wish I’d read beyond the first sentence before submitting that reply.

    I’ve been laid off before. It was pretty crappy. It gets better. The funny thing is, you get better. You get tougher. You get smarter. You get stronger. You learn to appreciate things like facials a little bit more. As much as you appreciated this job, you’ll appreciate the next one even more. Most of all, though, you’ll learn how to empathize with people in ways you never imagined so that the next time around, you’ll be the strong woman telling inspiring stories to someone down on their luck who needs a little reassurance.

    Just don’t despair. Everytime you feel like you’re not sure if you can make it, just dig a little bit deeper. Your capacity to overcome this is limitless.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  9. * courtneyryan369 says:

    That’s crappy. Have you found a job yet? If no, they literally advertised a Marketing Manager here at my job yesterday. We’re in Albany, NY

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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