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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let Go

Dateline 1845hrs Monday 21st Nov: Still un peu stunned - and I mean every possible pun in my choice of Impact face for the headline.

Got straight onto the keyboard for therapy so why stop now?

4:45pm ~ just me and R left in the office and I'm pottering away on some last-minute notes so I can hit the phones informed on the morrow when R calls me round.

"Bad news."

"Oh dear," I say - we've had bad news all this month so this must be a new ad of manure to hit the fan.

"Yes," says R.

I sit down and he tells me straight out, "You're laid off as of now."

Ulp gulp chill numbness.

"How awful," all I can think of to say.

Well, to be expected I suppose: a start-up, new systems to get in place, new customers to woo, old head office to placate, VCs to keep happy.

R very nice, admitted he'd agonized over the decision and hated to see me go.

Inevitable in a way: this whole month has been plagued with problems of liaison with the branch office delivery centers, shipping delays and general mis-communication with our east coast headquarters.

On the customer service side, I've been fibbing and pleading and begging customers to be patient just a few more days, but to no avail. We were mired too deep.

R very up-front about his tough decision, to completely reorg my post and wrap it into a combination traffic manager-cum-CS point person, based in the east coast head office.

I packed my stuff - notebooks, lamp I'd brought from home, cork board, etc - and solemnly shook R by the hand before trudging the 7-min walk home.

Sad. Just before Thanksgiving, that I'd envisaged as a fun time with the girls, lashing out a bit with the cash, decent nosh at the Madoka, a few treats from doting papa, folding money slipped under the table ... no longer viable.

Home and a comforting cuppa during which I realized that so much of my work was minute-to- minute and largely in my head that, come tomorrow, neither customers nor colleagues would know what the heck was going on.

Luckily, between my Excel chart organigram and notes, I had all necessary emails with which to do a swan-song finale and see everyone OK. It'd take a while to interview for my replacement, during which I didn't want *further* chaos to ensue simply because no one knew what had been arranged ....

Crafted individual mails to key customers who were waiting for updates or solutions, craving their indulgence for being written to from a private address and explaining that it was highly irregular but desperate times called for etc.

Bcc'd O, M and C along with apologies and regrets and suggestions of how to take up the slack.

Brewed another pot and shoved the dulcet tones of Vienna Teng on the stereo.

Resisted phoning S and the girls with the bad news and prepared comfort supper of shepherd's pie.

Gloom: I'd been so looking forward to this Xmas as a time of merriment and lavish gifts and now it's back to job-seeking and groveling to punks half my age for some puny writing task or dogs-body call-center employment.

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