The River's Badge

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My "Career" ~ Part 10 ~ Thank You ~ Goodbye



The morning after our impromptu dinner, I was scheduled to attend one of those weekly office strategy sessions.

Our new site manager, I'll call him "McCreepy", had sat in my office only the week before, and had said to me, flat out, "I don't know how I can justify your salary".

And I disdained McCreepy for his typical insecurity as a site lead.  Simply because I didn't report to him, he was feeling the need to throw his weight around with me.  I couldn't have cared less.

I wasn't even interested in attending his stupid strategy meetings, so he could include me, or dis-include me.  Whatever made him feel better about himself.  The two that I had attended had just made me angry.  The little small-minded department heads, including Linda, used up what little gumption they had jockeying for McCreepy's attention and approval (and for the prime seating spot at the table), and the one time I was actually asked a question, McC's minions snickered and snorted.  Ahhh, the room reeked of fake superiority.

"Justify my salary."  Asshole.  Oh yea, that's right, McCreepy.  I just sit in my oak-paneled office; interloper that I am, every day, and I do nothing.  Nothing.  I basically listen to the morning show on FM radio, lean back in my chair, stick my feet up on the desk, and call up the facilities guy to complain that my office is too cold.

Oh, wait.  That's you.

So, with McCreepy's immortal words ringing in my ears, I maneuvered my Taurus from the East Forty restaurant back to the office, pushing my sedan forward against that infernal, insistent wind.

Somebody flipped on the lights of the conference room up front, and there, we all took our places.

I  made a point of sitting as far away from Peter as I could.  It was a long conference table, and I sat on the opposite side, and well to the right.  In the darkest corner of the room.

I'd always liked Peter, but now I hated him.  I hated that he kept giving me beseeching looks, even though I refused to make eye contact with him.  And I thought, you weasel.  How dare you?  How dare you lead me on?  Tell me what a great job we were doing?  And now you've flown in on the company jet from PA, and you're going to sit there and let whatever happen, happen?

"The company has decided", the prez finally uttered, "that it would be more efficient (cheaper) to relocate the IKFI operation to Arlington, Texas."

With that, he shuffled some prettily-stapled handouts around to each of us at the table.  As I sat there, dazed.  My mind wasn't able to form any cohesive thoughts, other than, "don't look at anyone", and, "hold it together!"

I honestly remember little of what was said that night, in the dim light of the conference room, as I gazed out upon the nearly empty parking lot, and my sad car parked there in the front.

I have pictures in my mind, but few of the words remain.  Peter, trying fruitlessly to catch my gaze.  Laurel's hand on my arm.  Peg and Tracy and my other supes, eyes downcast. 

"Your department is the best division in the company."

Was it only a scant half hour ago that the prez had said that to us?  Had I imagined it?  Maybe I had wanted to hear that, but he never actually said it.  No, I wasn't delusional.  I wouldn't make up something like that.

Now, he was pointedly asking me, "How many of your people do you think would qualify for other jobs in the company?"

The one and only thing I remember saying that night was, "98 per cent of them!"  And I didn't mean to yell it, but I think I did.

Because I was hurt.  Hurt for my people.  One hundred and fifty people, and five supervisors; none of whom deserved this.
 
Then there was more paper shuffling, and talk of job testing and absorption of staff into other departments.  And I thought about Gaby, who was whip-smart, but was still struggling with the English language; trying hard to assimilate.  What about Gaby?  She had been my first official employee.  Was she going to get a shot at another job in the office, or would she be discarded, because of stupid language barriers?  Gaby had worked her butt off for our department.  Corporate drones can be so cold.

Somebody (Peter?) said that three meetings would be scheduled for the next day.  Meetings with the staff.  We'd pull them into the cafeteria and break the news.  We had two shifts, and limited meeting space, so the three meetings, I suppose, were justifiable.  Stupid, though.  As if the first group wasn't going to run back and tell the second group everything that had transpired.  Oh, sure, they would keep it a secret.  And the second group would not breathe a word to the third.  Because we told them not to.  That's how it works.  In dreamland.

That night, after everything was said that needed to be said, I strode out of that conference room, and I spoke to no one.  No long, loving farewells.  Piss off.  And leave me alone.

I fished around inside my purse for my car keys, unlocked the door, and slid in behind the wheel.

And for some unknown reason, I was paralyzed.

Until the sobs came.

There, in the driver's seat of my white 1987 Ford Taurus, I lay my head against the steering wheel, and sobbed.  Wracking, convulsing sobs.

The passenger door quietly opened, and Laurel slid silently inside.  "Are you okay?", she asked.

I don't know what I said, or if I said anything.  But, at that singular heartbreaking moment,  I was so glad to have a friend.


My "Career" ~ Part 11 ~ Breaking the News

My "Career" ~ Part 12 ~ Loose Ends 

My "Career" ~ Epilogue


Previous Chapters:

My "Career" ~ Part 9 ~ A Cold Wind


My "Career" ~ Part 8 ~ "Everything's Great!"


My "Career" ~ Part 7 ~ Another New Boss?


My "Career" ~ Part 6 ~ "Who Do You Think You Are?"


My "Career" ~ Part 5 ~ Welcome to the I-Land

My "Career" ~ Part 4 ~ Phil


My "Career" ~ Part 3 ~ Karma


My "Career" ~ Part 2 ~ Evil Bosses


My "Career" ~ Chapter One


  























2 comments:

Phil Bennett said...

Wow...what a story. I wish it was fiction but it happens too often these days. Corporate F***s...as I like to call them. They just look at their numbers; not realizing that there is a soul behind each number.

Bless you today,

Phil

Michelle Anderson said...

Thanks, Phil! Writing about it all these years later tends to dredge up a lot of bad memories, but I felt like I wanted to tell the story.