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Getting laid (off): Diaries of a copywriter gone rogue

Posted on November 5, 2009 and read 3,200 times

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0 8617 Getting laid (off): Diaries of a copywriter gone rogueLyndsay Smith
Copywriter

I felt a bit bad for the HR woman. But just a bit. And I got over it pretty soon. When I started feeling worse for myself. Her job was like the angel of death. When she showed up at my desk and asked me to come with her, that look of pity on her face, I told her flat out no – I didn’t want to go with her. Handcuffs and chains crossed my mind. I could just refuse to go with her. I could totally chain myself to my desk and just not move. Ever. When I reluctantly stood up on shaky legs and she put her arm around me and told me it would be OK, the only thing I could think was: this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening. She dragged me down the hall to meet my Creative Director and the head of HR in her office and it felt like I was walking the plank. Or what I imagine walking the plank feels like. But I’ve never been a pirate. Thankfully. I’m scared of the ocean. And I’ve never been laid off before either. I don’t really remember what was said in that very brief meeting, I mostly just felt dizzy, but I’m pretty sure I had snot running down my face at some point and I may or may not have wiped it on my sleeve. Also, I’m not 6 years old. I’m 30. I’d wager a guess that sleeve-snot-wiping is only socially acceptable if you are the former.

When the discussion part was over – which was really just them talking and me staring at the floor, only coherent enough to understand the word “recession” a few times – I went back to my desk to get my stuff packed up. Or, attempted to anyway. It felt really weird and foreign. Like I had suddenly just discovered I had hands and didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Thank God I didn’t have one of those boxes. You know which boxes I’m talking about. The only thing worse than walking down the hall at work with your face covered with snot, is walking down the hall at work with your face covered with snot AND carrying one of those boxes.

Because gossip like this travels faster in an agency than H1N1 paranoia, my colleagues began to swarm my desk. I was touched to see most were genuinely bamboozled over why I had been let go. I had a brief moment of wanting to march right back into that office and wave a finger in their face and tell them what they were missing out on. How they had made a HUGE mistake and were going to regret it. You’ll never find someone like me! I’m f*cking awesome! But I quickly regained composure. I was no crazy ex-girlfriend type! And does that strategy ever really work, anyway? I felt a little like those nutcases who audition for American Idol wearing sparkly too-tight outfits with jiggly bits hanging out only to end up screaming at the camera after about how I AM going to become a superstar and I AM going to get a record deal. I wasn’t wearing a sparkly too-tight outfit and lucky for me my genes have allowed me to steer clear of jiggly bits, but still. No one wants to be that person. It’s just uncomfortable for everyone.

The next 24 hours were spent in shock. What the hell just happened? I had a job this morning, and now I don’t? Something is askew. I considered going back into the office and just showing up at a brief. To be funny, of course. Not to be crazy. Then I think I went through the fives stages of grief over the next few days: bargaining, depression, drunk, bitter, excessive ice cream eating and acceptance. Oh, wait. That’s six. Whatever. I’m drunk. The point is that I feel as though I’ve been observing myself going through this like I’m a character in a movie. Like it’s not really me, I’m just watching me. And somehow, that seems to have helped. Because if I think about it too much I just get mad. Oh, the injustice! *fist shaking* But if I become the protagonist of my own life then I’m suddenly open to new possibilities and I start to anxiously turn the page of my own life story. And maybe, in the next chapter, the excessive ice cream eating will only be because I really, really like ice cream.






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