Well, technically it’s tomorrow, but I was just harkening back to how one year ago tomorrow I walked into my office, went about my business, made plans to see the Aged P in the afternoon since he was coming into town for a work thing…. 3 pm we assembled for a mysterious 1st quarter recap meeting and several of my editorial colleagues and I were sent to a different conference room from the rest of our department, and then the axe fell. The penny dropped, and with it the other shoe after weeks of whispers and spreadsheets and uncomfortable closed door meetings.
I bawled. Got myself together enough to throw a bunch of my personal crap into boxes that my cube-neighbor, also sobbing, promised to send me. Later I would unpack those boxes in my Harlem bedroom and marvel dejectedly at all the totally useless rubbish that it seemed So Crucial not to leave there at the time. I brought home a pair of sandals I bought for $5 and never wore but left behind my 2007 tax return info. That kind of stuff. K-Cup would later meet me across the street from the office to hand over my tax paperwork. I threw out the sandals and just about everything else that I’d used to make my little cube feel less impersonal and impermanent.
Stumbling outside I called the Aged P, who asked where I was and what time I wanted to meet him. "I l-l-l-ost my jo-o-o-b," I cried into the phone, the momentary fatalistic calm I’d achieved on my way down in the elevator totally blown. He’d just pulled up to his hotel so I turned my unsteady, weepy steps that way and called my mom to fill her in on The Situation. Given the climate on Wall Street at the time, nobody even glanced twice at the crying girl trying to navigate her way through Lower Manhattan’s totally illogical street plan. By the time I finished talking to my mom my sobs had dried out to the point of only tearing up every time I spoke, and I was Too New York by now to just fling myself at the Aged P and finish my crying in front of the desk clerk.
On the street in front of every trader, broker and tourist in the Financial District, sure, but up close to a total stranger I’d never see again? Quelle horreur. I don’t know if I ever adequately thanked the Aged P for being there just then, or apologized to his coworker I kept having the vapors in front of as we had dinner in a fancypants midtown kosher restaurant, but my thanks go out to both of them. Aided by the rest of the family who took me home with them for the weekend, I retained most of the functional parts of my sanity throughout the experience.
Fastforwarding to a year from then….or, today, so to speak…..I found a do-goodery gig with a one year expiration date, and that whole "pack up what you need and leave the rest"experience is serving me well as I brace for the results of some Big Doings I’ve got going on right now. I won’t know the yes or no, where or when until 18 days from now, but stay tuned for big news on the 19th. My next job might also have a two-year contract, and I only just realized how much a definite timeline is a comfort. I didn’t know how long I’d be sitting at my editorial assistant’s desk, and I kind of assumed "forever." Now I really appreciate knowing exactly where I start and my job stops.
If I hadn’t gotten laid off, I wouldn’t have enjoyed three beautiful spring months in the city sans a fixed schedule. I wouldn’t have been free for the Opening Day game at Citifield! I wouldn’t have moved to Brooklyn with K-cup. I wouldn’t have gotten to try out the non-profit world and figure out so quickly that it’s just not my cup of employment. Wouldn’t have met AwesomeCoworker. Wouldn’t have had to consider my grad school options seriously, or felt any sense of urgency about What Do I Really Want Now? I would have stayed in corporate publishing land, complacent and let’s face it, bored.
Instead I might be on the cusp of my Greatest Adventure Yet. I’ll keep you posted 🙂