Sometimes, I`m clairvoyant.
But never for good things. On Monday, I went into my review with J-Boss and OD at 2pm sharp. I was nauseous. I sat down in the small conference room. J-Boss came in, and asked me about a case that was recently issued by the NJ Appellate Division. We discussed it briefly. J-Boss`s chair was facing the window. I craned my neck and we both stared silently at the wind whipping through the willow trees that circle the pond in the atrium of the corporate complex. OD walked into the office, commenting on the windiness of the day. J-Boss and I mumbled agreement. OD and J-Boss exchanged looks. The door to the conference room was still open, and a chair was positioned between OD and J-Boss. "We are just waiting for one more person," J-Boss said.
The Admin. Lady walked into the conference room, carrying a thin white 8 1/2" x 11" envelope. She closed the door, and sat down. AL, OD and J-Boss shifted in their chairs and looked expectantly at eachother. I could feel my hands begin to shake, so I put them in my lap, leaving my pen and blank notepad on the table in front of me.
"The firm has decided to terminate your employment," said OD. AL stood up and walked around the table to sit at the chair next to me. Her eyes looked concerned, and strangely watery. J-Boss wore a small tight smile, although her eyes were expressionless. AL began to discuss insurance information, and to guide me through the termination of employment agreement.
I pretended to listen to AL. Why would they ask me to sign an agreement of termination? That makes it sound like a mutually agreeable event. This is not agreeable to me. What if I refused to sign? Would this be a like a divorce situation where one spouse refuses to sign the papers, and so the marriage continues, if only in name? Stop it, I thought. I need to listen to this. I felt my tear ducts begin to activate. NO. I will not cry here. They will not have my tears. Those are for me.
AL finished her speech and all three of them looked at me. I hadn`t said anything since OD dropped the bomb. Carefully, I started, "I`ll preface this by saying that I by no means intend to profer a defense. I understand that you have made your decision, and I am confident that the firm does not make decisions like this arbitrarilly. That being said, I`d like to ask whether you could provide me with some notion as to why? If there were things I did that I was not aware of, I`d like to attempt to avoid that in future endeavors."
There, that sounded awfully diplomatic and sane, right? I dug my nails into my palm.
J-Boss shook her head. Was that pity in her eyes? Or frustration? "We`ve discussed these issues with you before, V. I know if you think back to our previous conversations, you`ll remember what issues we`ve discussed before. A reiteration of it all wouldn`t serve much purpose at this point. It just isn`t the time for it." J-Boss finished idly shifted in her chair and shifted her gaze to OD.
"Yes, V. This really isn`t the time. Perhaps J-Boss would be willing to go to lunch with you after all of this is settled. Maybe with some time to reflect, you can discuss it then," OD said.
I had no response ready. I felt somehow that I was supposed to be thanking them at this point. Why on earth would I thank them for firing me? I didn`t have it in me to thank them for the training I`d recieved over the last year. I just wanted to leave the room. The wind rattled the windows, and a stray sunray blinded my right eye for a moment. I wondered when this was over. Could I leave now?
Finally, AL made some unmemorable closing comment, and OD and J-Boss stood together and left the room. I pretended to take an extra few minutes to gather my still-blank notepad, pen, and the 8 1/2" x 11" white envelope which held my employment termination documents. I left the room and walked back to my office, hoping no one would talk to me. They didn`t.
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