Friday, October 30, 2009

An Anniversary. Of sorts.

Today is the day that marks one full week of unemployment. Yay! String up the balloon, blow some party favors and buy me some motherfricken cake! It’s party time.

It feels like its been an unproductive, pointless few days. But I’ve done stuff! I really have.

Proof of point: a list.

  • I signed up for unemployment.
  • I mailed that thing that needed to be mailed.
  • I wrote a check for my car payment and mailed that off too.
  • I did laundry.
  • I did the dishes.
  • I baked cookies. They didn’t turn out too well, but they’re homemade dammit.
  • I did a bit of an online job search. Not too extensive, but I started to look around.
  • I went to the grocery store.
  • And I searched the hell out of homes for sale. Like, a LOT of searching.

See? I did stuff! A whole list of stuff.

Most of my time I think was spent looking online for a new place to live. And reading up on stuff I need to know about buying our very first home. It’s kind of daunting how much I don’t know about this stuff. It’s been a bit overwhelming at times. But at least its been keeping my brain occupied!

Also, the sooner we move the sooner we’ll be saving money. No more crazy high rent payments! Woooo!

Oh, and I’ll finally get to have a washer and dryer INSIDE instead of walking to a communal laundry room. The HB’s one request is that there’s a big enough garage for him to have a ‘man cave’ to store all of his manly tools and stuff. It’s been twelve years since we’ve had either luxury. And now they’re within our grasp! Well, after we apply for a loan. And get a loan. And do a tour of the few places we’ve selected. And make an offer. And holy crap there’s still so much to do.

To add to the madness, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I haven’t done NaNo since I went back to school and I’ve been really looking forward to the hectic paced novel writing that will happen next month.

Job searching, house hunting, and writing a novel... November will certainly be an adventure.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a supervisor was walking with me back to my office he asked if I had a backup plan. I laughed. It never occurred to me to have a back up plan.

Sure, I’d thought about what I might do after I left my job, especially after I finished my degree a couple of months ago. I couldn’t stay there indefinitely, could I? Would I even want to? But I was happy where I was at. There was no need to rush on to The Next Big Thing. Besides, staying meant avoiding the big What To Be When I Grow Up question.

A couple of months ago it became known that a couple of the production lines were going to be relocated to other facilities. It stood to reason that the people running the lines would be let go when there was nothing for them to work on. It wasn’t until this last Tuesday, when news of the unusual monthly meeting set-up made its way back to my tiny office, did I begin to think, ‘hey, they might downsize my department too!’

I realized it was possible that I could be the one let go.

I even took all the personal stuff littering my desk and drawers home yesterday. Just In Case.

And it still never occurred to me to start thinking of a backup plan.

I knew it was possible. It made sense that with a third of the production lines going there’d be a third of the work to do, so bye-bye third person in my department.

It was still a shock when I heard my position had been... shit, what did they call it? Not redundant... “No longer needed” I guess. Which is bullshit, because the job still needs to be done. They’re just foisting it on my coworker. Out of the blue. No heads up so I can give him any training. Sucks to be him. Wait a minute... no it doesn’t! He still has a job!


I knew that if I was let go, everything would be okay.

It will suck, but I can find another job.

The HB will support me, emotionally and financially for a bit if need be.

I’d be okay. We’d be okay.

I could look at it as a good thing, a gentle push into a different direction that will ultimately turn out to be so much better for me.

I knew this, and still I was anxious. It felt irrational to be so anxious. It would’t be the end of the world. I knew it. So why worry about it? If something happens, I’ll deal with it!

Easier said than done.

I showed up at nine this morning, giving myself a pep talk. “It’ll be fine. There’s probably nothing to worry about, but if you’re let go, it will be okay. It will be okay.”

I wish I’d talked myself into believing I was getting laid off instead. Then I could have been more prepared to deal with the news.

I would have been braced for the bad. I would have appeared calm. Cool. Unaffected. “You’re letting me go? Interesting. Could we speed this up? I have an interview at 10.”

As the employees showed up this morning, all of the supervisors were lined up down the hall that lead to the conference/meeting room. It was surreal, like they were getting ready to shake everyone’s hand for the last time. It really weird-ed me out, so I avoided eye contact and ducked into the room through the first door I came to.

There was a five minute speech. “Hello. Welcome. Shits about to happen. Let’s begin.” That was about it. Then we had one-on-ones with a HR manager and our supervisor. I was in the first batch called. The others had to stay in the conference room while they waited their turn.

I sat down in a small meeting room with the best boss I’ve ever had and some stranger I’ve never met before. I should have picked up on the boss’s body language and voice tone. Thinking about it now, he looked uneasy, like he was about to share some unpleasant news. Ha! I think I subconsciously chalked it up to just being a bad day for everyone. He said he was going to read through the script they (the bosses) had to run through. I thought that was just because the HR rep was there and the boss had to be ‘by the book’. He’s always been so damn informal. That damn script lulled me into thinking everything was okay. “Production has been cut... less need for certain jobs… YOUR JOB IS NO LONGER NEEDED SUCKER.”

Bam! Pow! WTF?

I was waiting for him to say ‘only two jobs will be kept in your department’ and I was bracing to find out which of the other two it was going to be. But then he said “you”. “Your” job. “Your” position. “You” will no longer be working here. Not “him” or “them” but “you” and I kept repeating that.


That means “me.”

Why, why, why did I think I was so safe? I should have convinced myself I was a goner. I wouldn’t have felt so stupid while the HR dude talked about the HR stuff.

But I was cool about it. I didn’t cry. I didn’t freak out. I even cracked a joke! And they laughed!

And I was going to walk out of there with my head held high dammit.

This will be a good thing, I told myself as the HR guy talked. And my boss just sat and stared at me. This will be that nudge I need to find a better job. A job that better suits me and my talents. This will all turn out to be The Best Thing For Me.

Then the HR guy got to the end of his spiel. He’d handed me all the paperwork he needed to hand me, told me all the things he needed to tell me.

Then he handed me my last paycheck.

And it was suddenly ten times more real.

I felt that tight grip of control start to loosen and my face started to scrunch up in a holy-shit-I’m-about-to-cry sort of way. I took a deep breath and quickly apologized.

“Sorry,” I said flapping my arms up and down twice. “I think I’m about to have a girl moment.”

“It’s okay,” the HR guy said in an annoyingly sympathetic tone.

I took a second to regroup.

“Here,” my boss said and nudged the box of Kleenex a fraction of an inch closer.

“Well damn,” I said as I stared at the box sitting in the middle of the table. “That should have been a dead give away right there!”

They chuckled. And they watched me stare at that last check. That god damn last check from my first real grown up job that I’ve had for the last eight and a half years and holy crap what am I going to do now with my fucking life.


At least I didn’t get fired, right? That would have been worse. Nothing I did wrong. Nope. They just downsized. And I wasn’t good enough to keep around.


I hid the check between the stack of papers I’d been given. I wanted to be strong. To be able to stare at it, hold it in my hands, and not be fazed by it. But I couldn’t do it. I felt weak. And that annoyed me. And then I felt like crying. And I wanted to get the hell out of there before anyone besides those two saw it.

But not before I thanked the HR guy for a wonderful job. “In all seriousness,” I told him. “You were awesome.” They kept letting me blab on and on like an idiot instead of kicking me out of the room like sensible people who are still in their right mind because they still have their damn job. We’re all standing up, next to the door. I’m thanking the HR guy. And I think I thanked my boss for “everything” either before or after I looked dead in the eyes and said, “This sucks.” And still they let me linger. Kick me out for crying out loud and stop me before I embarrass myself even more. Sheesh!

Next stop: saying goodbye to my office. I’d cleaned out my desk yesterday, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to pack up every last thing I’d want to take with me. Because it wasn’t going to really happen. I knew it was possible, I really did, but I still didn’t believe it would happen.

Yesterday, before I left for the day, I’d grabbed all desk gnomes I’ve collected over the years. A couple were happy meal toys. Three of them are pokemons found in poptart boxes. A few were x-men figurines found in those plastic bubbles you get from the quarter machines at movie theaters. A coworker had given me two, wolverine and magneto. Another coworker had given me a dog figurine. Another had given me a happy face with legs and bunny ears.

Gah! Making it all worse is that I have no idea who else got laid off. I didn’t have time to say goodbye to the friends I had there. I could send them a goodbye email, but what if they’re not there Monday to receive it?

Well, I’d packed up my cd’s yesterday as well. A calculator I’d gotten from work with a cool little flip top. I’d emailed 8 years worth of pictures and person files I’d found/made through the years then deleted them from the computer.

But I hadn’t taken the award certificate Mr. Desk Neighbor had made me for having the messiest desk.

I didn’t want to walk all the way back to my office, with a damn escort at that, I just wanted to leave. But I didn’t want to leave without that certificate.

So we made the trek to the back. While I was there I grabbed some other keepsakes. I grabbed the ugly fanny pack I received a couple of years ago that was given out as a ‘safety award’. I thought about leaving all the pens and post-it notes that were inside (I’d used it to carry my office supplies every time I moved offices) but I just dumped that shit in a drawer and left. I couldn’t linger about any longer.

So yeah. I have no job. I am unemployed!

And it feels so damn surreal.

I think I got all the crying out of my system as I drove home. And as I went through the drive through at In-N-Out. That was a little embarrassing.

I am NOT going to freak out about money, i.e. car payments, student loan payments, rent, and all the other bills I started cataloguing on my way home.

But it is tempting.

I will also not worry about the fact that the HB and I had wanted to move into a house soon. Our lease is up this month and we still need to decide, ‘House? Cheaper apartment while we save some more? Or stay?” I will also not worry about the fact that the HB has been thinking about quitting his job for awhile now. Guess I foiled those plans!

I called him as soon as I got to my car and I’d just like to say he is the bestest boyfriend ever.

He said I should take a month or two off, but I’m thinking a week should suffice for a decent pity party. Or maybe two. I’m kind of afraid to take off more than that. I might like the lazy life a bit too much.

I'll take some time though, then see what’s out there in the Big Scary World of Job Openings. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find something I can use my useless degree for! Wouldn’t that be the shit?

It will all work out for the best.

Everything will be all right.

I will be all right.

Nothing but good times ahead.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It loooooooooooms like a great big looming cloud of doom.

Tomorrow is the day I find out if I still have a job. I'm pretty sure I still do. Optimistically speaking my chances are good.

But I'm still anxious as shit.

Even if my job is spared, I wouldn't be surprised if someone in my department gets cut. About a third of the production lines are migrating to other facilities. A rumor a little birdie told me is that about a quarter of the production crew is getting the axe in the process.

Will the same happen to my department? A department of just three people? It wouldn't make too much sense to cut one of us, but when has sense ever played a part in a corporate decision. (Bah! I feel so jaded!) We already have enough on our plates to keep us busy, but hey, two of us manage when one of us goes on vacation, so what the hell. Make it permanent!

A coworker who works up in the front office said there are freakin' security guards roaming about. The rumor: they're getting ready to escort people out once the firing starts. I don't remember ever seeing security guards when I worked in the front. But then, I don't think I ever saw anyone after they were recently fired, so maybe the security guards just popped out of nowhere and whisked the unemployed away. Anyone I might have been in view of being escorted out ended up quitting long before they could be let go anyway.


Tomorrow is the day when we find out who stays and who goes. This is still unofficial though. We all know layoffs will happen; we just don't know when. But tomorrow is the monthly companywide meeting, so many people are speculating this is the perfect time to spring the happy news.

Oh! And another rumor? The place is shutting down tonight. UN. HEARD. OF. Seriously. We used to be 24/7. Lately we've been 24/5 due to the bad economy blah blah blah. But to suddenly shut down in the middle of the week? Holy crap. Which means, if its true, we have to show up tomorrow just for the Meeting of Doom. Weird.

More weird is that in the past, three different meeting times were posted and you show up for whichever one you can make. This monthly meeting? Each of the three different time slots are assigned rows and rows of employee ID numbers. They've actually assigned us a time, and done it all secret-like with anonymous numbers. I've worked here for nine years. That's a first.

I have the 9am slot. Guy Number 1 in my department has the noon slot. Guy Number 2 has the 3pm slot.


Magic 8 Ball says, "Outcome looks grim."

But thank Elvis I don't have to wait until 3 freakin pm to find out if I still have my job.

Guy Number 1 was told by our boss to wait to come in to work until his noon meeting time. But its still not official that we're not working tomorrow. Oy vey. When will Mr. Boss bother to tell me to just show up for my 9am time? Hopefully soon because it's driving me nuts.

I don't want to do any work.

What's the point if I don't have a job? Bad, bad, bad thoughts.

I feel the urge to get rid of anything personal, i.e. the snoopy pen in my desk, my cd's, the handful of figurines decorating my desk, computer files such as work inspired pics, this word doc with all my scribblings, etc.

It's a good idea to clean that shit up anyway.

My desk is full of old papers and files I've kept "just in case I need it later" because I'm a packrat. And now its time to purge purge purge!

Kind of like if you die, you don't want relatives and friends to find your porn stash, you know?

If I don't show up for work next week I don't want anyone to find any notes or stick man figures I might have drawn during conference calls and whatnot.

And all those lolcats I've saved to my documents folder.

BRB purging

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hello cool weather. Let's make out!

We opened all the windows of our apartment this past weekend and enjoyed the fresh cool air as it filtered in and settled about the room. The slight chill felt oh so good after the previous week's scorching temps.

And we haven't closed the windows since! Well, until last night.

A neighbor decided to play some music on super loud mode starting at around 9:30 last night. We had to shut the living room window to be able to hear the television. Unfortunately it didn't drown out the thump... thump... thump of the bass reverberating through the walls and floors and dear god it never stopped. We had to shut the bedroom windows when we went to bed as well. That left us with no fresh, cold air to help lull us to sleep. :(

But it was still cold enough outside that we didn't need the a/c to fall asleep! Yay! The HB needs the room to be frigid before he can fall asleep. I don't need it that cold necessarily, but I'm so used to falling asleep in the cold now that it certainly helps.

Despite the thump, thump, thump of the walls we slept. I woke up this morning to discover another day full of pleasantly cool weather. It filled me to the brim with warm fuzzies in contrast.

It's so cool in the office today I'm wearing a sweatshirt. Mmm mmm comfy sweatshirt. One of the reasons I prefer fall/winter to summer: the sweatshirts! It's like a blanket with sleeves! And not as silly looking as a snuggy.

Today I'm rockin' my Avenue Q sweatshirt. Man, that was such a kick ass play. I never thought I would laugh so hard watching muppets have sex.

This weekend the HB and I will be seeing Spamalot. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I've picked two winners so far that the HB has thoroughly enjoyed, Wicked and Avenue Q, despite any apprehensions he had before the shows. I hope he gets a kick out of this one too or it might be awhile before I can talk him into another musical.

Oh, I just thought of something! I might be able to get a Spamalot sweatshirt! And if it stays cool throughout the weekend I might get to wear it right away. But not while I'm still at the play mind you. Don't worry Droz, I won't "be that guy."

I live in California, so by cold and cool and chilly I'm talking 70's weather so far. Which feels damn nice after triple digit weather just a couple of days ago. I was talking with some friends the other day about making a trip to Canada next time we get together. They joked about going during the winter time. "Guys," I said. "I'd love to go to Canada, but during the winter? I'd have to buy all new clothes!" They then reminded me I'm a girl and that that should be seen as a plus. But I don't know... the warmest thing I own is this sweatshirt. That won't exactly cut it in snow weather. I wouldn't even know what to buy.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen snow in... wow, 11 years now. And the snow that fell during those couple of days belonged in the Wussy Snow category so it barely counts. I would be so out of my element in actual Snow Country. But I know I'd love it anyway.

For now though, I'll be reveling in the fact that today's high will be a gorgeous 77 degrees.

*smooch* *smooch* *smooch*

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dear Boyfriend,

Now that I'm no longer going to school and we're waking up at roughly the same time each morning, and getting dressed around the same time, and leaving for work at the same time, it'd be great if you could make sure I don't leave the apartment with my shirt on inside out.


Your Clothing Challenged Sweetie,