On a Thursday afternoon in January, my boss called me into my office & told me he’d have to let me go because his limo was an hour late the week before & he just “didn’t have time for those types of mistakes.”
I remember sitting there in silence & I looked at him in disbelief & I looked at the HR representative beside me who wouldn’t meet my eyes & somehow I managed to squeak out that I understood & thank you for the opportunity, I learned so much here.
I was screaming on the inside. My blood ran hot & my palms ran cold & I kept thinking about my salary & our benefits. All of our benefits were gone. I took a step back in my career in hopes of moving forward, but I lost it all because a luxury limo was an hour late. A limo that I had no idea was late until the moment I was fired & my hands shook as I flew back to my desk to check my calendar, to call the limo company, to verify it was my fault, but my now ex-boss stood beside me impatiently & I had only minutes to pack my desk. He walked me through the halls while everyone stared & I’m still not sure how I managed to not cry until I climbed into my car.
In my termination packet was a note that said I would be paid full salary through the remainder of January & that the company would provide benefits until March 1st at no cost to me.
(It even seemed odd at the time, to be dealt a severance package when I was fired based upon performance. Eleven months later, that job is still not filled.)
I learned valuable lessons through the experience:
- Yes, an entire pint of ice cream can be consumed in a 24-hour time span by one person.
- Being fired is one of the most damaging critiques to self-worth & self-esteem.
- Months later, I still quake inside when my new boss asks to speak with me. If he closes the door, I damn near need a Xanex & someone to come peel me off the ceiling.
- I wonder if I truly am stupid & incompetent. If the full scholarship & the books & the writing mean nothing, if the person who defined my success will always be a vice president at a pharmaceutical company where I worked for 10 weeks. Ten weeks out of a decade of working.
Deep down, I know I’m not a failure & I know it’s not reality, but it still feels like my reality now & I think it’s fair to acknowledge that I feel absolutely imcompentent in everything I do since that day.