Song for the Dumped: Death of a Job and Life of Everything Else

Yesterday I drove home from a specific office building for the last time. One of the most awkward moments you have in life is when you realize that you’re doing something for the last time. You usually don’t know the last time you’re going to talk to a person, you don’t know the last time you’re going to kiss a significant other who’s about to become not that.

When you’re on your last day at a job, the realization hits you that for a few dozen people, you are not going to talk to them or see them ever again. You will stay in touch with some people, but it’s not going to be in a casual work fashion, it’s going to be something else.

I got in the elevator after lunch today and thought “this is the last time”. When I did my tour of the office, saying good-bye, I knew in most cases that was it. After 6.5 years, I’m probably not coming back to that building. It was interesting and random that the last person I talked to was a person who had been let go and rehired in a different position.

I’m mad in a way because I don’t feel like I had clarity in the situation. There’s a feeling of dissatisfaction. I was told a week ago Friday that not only would my services no longer be necessary, I was needed for one additional week to train my successor. It led to a strange an unusual week of training, mad scrambling to gather what I could of this period in my life and lots of doctors appointments.

I may have felt a little like the Seahawks, in a daze because maybe something different could have happened to change the outcome but it’s irreversible now. Maybe things could have happened differently and I’d still be out the door.

Losing a job is the closest thing you get in this life to dying. As far as the company goes, you’re dead. You no longer affect whatever it is they do. It’s over. You leave a legacy. People remember you, or processes you put into place continue for a time, or someone will remember a joke that you told. That’s what it’s like. When I had to spend a week training a new person, it was like that scene in Kill Bill 2 in which David Carradine got the death blow but had a small window of time in which to give a final speech.

My final pop-culture reference is that as I drove home yesterday, I was like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. I didn’t just decease, I disappeared completely.

I feel like I’ve already had my sadness, I’ve already had my anger. I’m finished. You can try to take blood out of me but I’m drained. I’m dust. On the ride home I was dust but when I got home, I was alive again. In terms of being an “email marketing specialist” at one company, that’s over. As a husband, as a man, as a kitty dad, as a fantasy football writer, as a recovering Titans fan, as a friend, as a humanist, as a “pale male”, whatever categories I fit in, I still fit in.

There’s still more of me left than was lost.

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