I keep wondering which day is or was the first day of the rest of my life. I cannot believe today was this morning at 4:30 a.m. when my cat, Henri put his butt (aka the “one-eyed wink”) in my face and sat down on my nose. I awoke quickly and sat up. Henri jumped off the bed, knowing he had pissed me off. The little dog, Luke, was still snoring in his slumber and making those little body jerks as though he was chasing a rabbit.
I looked around my dark and silent bedroom, wondering what time and what day it was. It was Sunday morning of Valentine’s Day. Did it bother me that I didn’t have a love in my life, or for that matter a love life? Not at the moment, as I had too many other things on my plate to be bothered with romance.
First and foremost was that I got laid off of my job on February 4th. I knew it was coming, in fact I knew back in August of last year that something was going down. I can’t say too much about it because I haven’t made a decision as to what I need to do going forward. First of all, there was this big dress code farce that I was to adhere to and no one else needed to. Then there was the “meeting” where instead of explaining things, I was told I was being contentious. That meeting happened three days before I turned 65 on October 15th. At the end of October, I was assaulted by a coworker because she didn’t want me to be standing next to her for a company picture.
I reported it to the police and because I did that, I got written up for something I had done a month prior that I didn’t even know was wrong. The coworker? She wandered the halls with a smirk on her face as though she was Queen Poo on Poop Island. Doesn’t she realize what it meant for her to be Queen Poo? She was the biggest piece of them all. But I am getting riled up here.
I took a one-month medical leave because of all the doctor’s appointments as a result her assault and the resulting injury to my back. I came back on January 3rd, 2016 and had maybe two days of peace before things began to happen again. I knew I had a target on my back and it was a matter of time and I would be let go.
Later that afternoon of February 4th, I was pulled into the conference room and told my job had ended as there wasn’t enough work. I suspect they had the police and medical staff on high alert thinking I was going to go hysterical on them and they would need to haul me away in a strait jacket. When I didn’t go berserk, I was asked if I had any questions. I asked if I could get unemployment. They said yes. I was given my last pay check and was told they had a little severance package for me, but to read it later when I got home. I said, “good, because I am broke.” My stuff was packed up and I was whisked out of the office.
I think that because I was on heightened alert, I noticed things that I probably wouldn’t have at other more “sane” times. First, the vice president walked out of the office behind me, got into his car and backed into an adjacent parking lot so he could watch my goings on. Normally I wouldn’t have paid much attention and would have assumed he was going somewhere when he started up his car. Instead he waited until I was in my car and driving out of the parking lot. It was then that I realized he was monitoring my final movements. So what did he think I was going to do that he was so concerned that he had to monitor me? But you had to know the HR person to understand how she could convince others to believe her crazy ideas.
The second thing I noticed was when I ran back upstairs because I thought that in my haste I had left the severance letter and check on the desk. I hadn’t left it; I had just stuffed it in a box. As I turned to leave, who do you think was leaving the human resources office with a laugh and big smile on her face? Yep! Queen Poopalicious.
The third thing which happen in the ‘meeting’, was that I had said in the meeting that I had figured that I was going to be laid off. They were genuinely surprised. Why? Did they think I was stupid? Did they think they were being so clever and are they that stupid? Did they not realize how transparent they were?
I went to the bank and deposited my final check, then sat in the parking lot to read the severance letter they had given me. Quite frankly, it stated that I had 21 days to respond and sign to get the severance. I was confused. The letter was filled with legalese, but basically it was a gag order, that I could not go after anyone or anything and could not accuse them of age discrimination. I couldn’t write about it or go to the media.
I looked at the amount that they were offering for my complete silence. A total was offered of a little more than $2,300.00, which didn’t even cover the amount I lost as a result of the medical leave or the remaining vacation days that I hadn’t taken.
So basically, it was a gag order, that I could not go after anyone or anything and could not accuse them of age discrimination. I couldn’t write about it or go to the media.
Those were the thoughts mulling around in my sleepy brain that Valentine’s Day morning. So was the day I turned 65 the first day of the rest of my life, or was this day the first day? I know every day can be, but there are those days that seem to have greater potency or portent.
To be continued…