I shall return in the dark and be seen

I can now say it. In a Tuesday morning in late October, I was called into an abrupt meeting with my boss, and was told, due to “rightsizing” initiatives, I was being laid off.

I walked into the meeting room at 10am sharp. I was escorted out of the building by the career consultant within half an hour. I had to surrender my keys and my laptop. I was told to pack up my things, but I promised I would come back later that week to pick them up. The career consultant gave me her card and a pamphlet titled “Losing Your Job: The First 72 Hours”.

I was initially so confused I didn’t know what to think. Business was brisk, and I was even given a new account just the week before. Until that fateful meeting, I didn’t know how fragile my world was. All in all, I was part of a larger crowd of employees let go to balance the books of 2003.

I couldn’t really fault them, though. For example, they could have let us know about the layoffs in advance, but then they run the risk of disgruntled workers stealing stuff – or even stealing customers. They could have waited until after Christmas,but then they couldn’t balance their books. I was given a reasonable severance package, a career consultant, and membership in the company redeployment program. Business is business.

So, for the remainder of last year was me sitting at home, waking up late and pumping out resumes. I started forgetting what day it was; every day was a Saturday. I discovered that employment had contributed a big part to my self-esteem. After all, the first thing people ask you is, “What’s your name?”, followed by “So, what do you do for a living?” Which, at that point, was a big fat nothing.

The most frustrating part of it all, I found, was the fact I was not in control of the situation. I had planned to transfer out of London anyway in six months, and had campaigned heavily to my boss. I was also in the middle of projects and obligations; I had personally promised one client over the phone to take care of an urgent matter just a mere five minutes before The Meeting. But all that was swept aside. My position, my coworkers and customers, my world, they were now gone in less than 30 minutes.

Fortunately, being part of the redeployment program paid off, and I have been reinstated back into the Company. Not in my old position mind you – but in Intellectual Capital Management, and in Toronto. I’m glad I’ll be back at work, and to be back in my hometown.

Year of the Monkey