Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laid Off

Well, it happened. It has not exactly been a secret that the clinic was struggling and I have acknowledged to myself and to Joe many times since last October that lay-offs could potentially happen in the future. So when they called me up the day before yesterday and let me know my job position along with 10 others had been eliminated (including a physician), it wasn't exactly a surprise, but it was still a shock to my system. I have never had a job in a company like Cooper Clinic before, and I have never loved a job nor the people I work with like I did there. I am in genuine mourning. My time with Cooper is over. Dr. Cannaday, the physician I work with, wept. He wasn't given any say in whether they let me go instead of someone else. I tried to keep a brave face on it. I tried to leave them laughing, to make people less uncomfortable and less fearful. Dr. Cannaday's parting words to me were that I would be back. Wonderful of him to say so, but I think we all know how life goes on. I was so proud of my work there. I hate this feeling of "otherness" now, of being separate from it, cut from the herd and not in a good way. No matter how logically I know it was not a performance based issue, it still stings.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling out of body and off, not having anything to get ready for, nothing planned, nothing to do. The brakes developed a sudden problem on my car, so Joe and I took it down to the mechanic. Joe has been wonderful through this. He understands my grief over the loss of this job. He lost his a few weeks ago, so the two of us spent the day sending out resumes and working in the yard. Tomato plants have arrived at Lowes, so we came back home and started to do spring preparation of the garden, killing weeds in the yard, trimming back the crepe myrtles. He started up the lawnmower for the first time this year and the open windows let in the scent of grass and earth. The house isn't going on the market on Friday after all now, obviously. I was feeling pretty ambivalent about all that anyway. I love our home. We've made it beautiful. No matter how many we have gone to look at, it always feels like an exhalation to walk back in our own door. We could make that happen with any structure we happened to buy, but we could have far, far worse places to weather out this economic downturn.

I could not bring myself to tell Joe I had been laid off over email or the phone the day it happened, so I packed up my desk, said goodbye to some of the most dear people on the planet and came home. I walked in the door carrying a cardboard box and my soul on my sleeve at 3:30 PM. He was happy to see me, rushing to open the door, blustering with a smile about what was I doing home at that time of day....and then his eyes took in my face, which he reads like a book, even though I was not crying...and they took in the box...and he said "No. Oh no. Really?" And I nodded...I don't remember if I spoke...and he just put his arms around me. I kept apologizing. It wasn't for cause but I still feel as if I failed him, failed us. Failed myself. In time we opened a $90 bottle of wine and found dark humor in a good many theoretical silver linings. He jokes that I will have more time to bring him beer now. But I see his heart breaking for me when he looks at me.

I have two interviews lined up for tomorrow. I have to get my head on straight somehow. I admit, its going to be scary and difficult making yet another major life change. I miss the people I worked with and I miss my job at Cooper. I struggle with the internal sense of not wanting a different position somewhere else. It feels surreal. But. In tragedy there is opportunity, to reinvent oneself, to change things we don't like, to renew a sense of purpose and to grow. God never divulges His plan to us as it happens and goodness knows I have lived through far worse than this. I can feel a twinkle of excitement to try something new, particularly for getting out of transcription and back into working with people, with patients, something I have actually yearned for, for quite a while now. Transcription has never been my favorite thing, just the most lucrative of my skills. I remind myself of this often over the last 24 hours. Two interviews lined up in less than 24 hours since being laid off speaks well of opportunities still being out there for me. I don't think I will stay unemployed for long, though I may not be able to replace my income at the same level it had been. We shall see. Breathe in. Breathe out. I cannot control the way the wind blows nor the tilt of the earth. I can only move with it. And I have indeed learned this about myself. There honestly is nothing I cannot handle. Nothing I cannot smile through. Nothing I cannot conquer. So here we go.

1 comment:

karengberger said...

Dear Sheri, I am so sorry that this change was forced upon you. At the same time, I agree that your courage, communication gifts, sparkling energy and many accomplishments have prepared you well for whatever life offers. How impressive, that you already have 2 interviews lined up. Whoever meets you will be lucky (and I hope, aware of that good fortune) that you are available for hire! I'm so thankful that you and Joe are together. You seem to know just what to do for one another in whatever situation you face. What a blessing!