He’s standing near the counter when I walk in.
I prepare to turn left toward his office.
“This way,” he says, leading us toward the right.
“Ohhh, the BIG office,” I say. The sales office with the small kitchen area.
The wealthy sales manager’s in her chair, expecting me, smiling in her scary way. “Susie’s” not someone I’d want to cross.
I’m surprised by her presence, say nothing but I get it. The boss about to lay me off has a witness and helper if I resist, raise a stink.
No chance of that. I know what’s coming. I want out. I’m ready to go. Relief’s tapping me on the shoulder.
He’s mild-mannered, kind, gracious, low-key, the boss. He stands a comfortable 12 feet or so away. “Susie,” the sales queen, remains at her desk silent, watching.
“We no longer need your services.”
“Okay,” I say. Matter-of-factly, calmly. As if someone just informed me of the temperature outside.
He holds a white envelope. “We’re paying you for the rest of the week and two weeks’ severance.”
“Thank you,” I say, genuinely surprised and appreciative.
“Now your key please,” he says.
“Ah yes, could’ve easily forgotten that,” I think. I loop it off the ring.
“There’s a box for you in the other room for your things,” he says.
“Okay. You don’t need me to work this evening?”
“No, it’s all taken care of.”
“Wow, that’s fast. Getting someone from a small staff to cover my 1-hour call-screening shift on short notice,” I think.
I gather my things from my cubbyhole, fridge, freezer. Work files. Reading material. Coffee cups. A couple bowls. A can of chili for emergency dinner if I come to work empty-handed.
Don’t forget the coffeemaker. The last guy laid off forgot his. Had to come back to retrieve it. I don’t want have to come back.. Not out of hate, despair, depression, woe or anything like that. Just want a clean and complete departure. No strings left undone.
He hangs around, waiting. Not hurrying me but ensuring that my exit is complete.
“You have a lot of stuff,” he remarks, eyeing the full box.
“I know. It’s all organized, just in different areas.”
He escorts me out the door. “Thank you for your service,” he says. “Thank you,” I reply, sincerely. Part of me wants to give him a goodbye professional hug in appreciation for all he has done and been — including, importantly, the best boss I’ve ever had in the United States.
But the signs & intuition say don’t. So I don’t.
He returns to the station. I load my car with my things and pass down the driveway for almost certainly the last time. No need to return.
The last time a guy was laid off, a few months ago, the boss informed each of us of his departure and informed us he was not to be allowed back on the property.
“Is he expected to cause trouble?” I asked.
“No. It’s policy. Just be aware.”
Now I’m the subject of those instructions to the employees.
No one except the abusive bully — the kingpin, the mob’s made man — involved in this so-called “personalities conflict” likely has a clue about my departure. To most of the staff, I’m there, then suddenly I’m gone. It’s certain to raise questions and eyebrows. I can’t control what the kingpin says. I can’t concern myself with his bad-mouthing, distortions or one-sided hostile and hateful judgments.
I can’t defend myself or speak on what REALLY happened or dispel rumors, though a part of me wishes I could.
What does it matter, really. Part of why I left — had to leave — lies in just that: an unhealthy environment. A toxic workplace (the good boss excepted), a poisoning pen whose ink polluted the pages, turning them from a tale of dream job to nightmare.
Day 2 of unemployment. I’m OK. Better than OK. I’m good. Glad to be gone. Relieved. Speculating about what’s going on in the minds of my former coworkers and around the station to “explain” my abrupt departure.
Only the bully knows, really, and he ain’t talkin’. Not the facts anyhow! 🙂 No mention of the son-of-a-bitch abusive bully he really is.
The truth’ll never come out. Not from him.
But someday I’ll write a letter informing my boss of what’s gone on behind the scenes for the past 6 months. When the time’s right. That time’s not yet but soon.
The hardest habit to break, I’ve found in these past 2 days, is constantly checking the clock on my phone to ensure I get to work on time. The nature of radio. You can’t show up late!
Free time, unstructured time. What a foreign / forgotten concept!