Uncontrollable sobs

Another reason I don’t have a ski pass…

It was a beautiful January day. I remember thinking when I left my house that morning that I was totally rockin’ the outfit I had on – complete with knee-high black patent leather boots and a pashmina. I was sure there would be comments by the folks in the office who didn’t quite understand the word “trendy.”

(There will be a post later on about dress code in the professional environment – I’m sure.)

I was putting together media kits for one of our authors – handwritten labels this time. My boss – Veej, as I called him – was having a closed door meeting prior to lunch. I went in afterward to see if he wanted his usual Grande Americano in a Tall cup from Starbucks – he said sure – so I headed out. Came back, set the Americano on his desk, and went back to work on the media kits.

A couple minutes later, Veej came into my cubicle asking if he could talk to me in his office. I followed him into his office where the blinds were closed – that was NEVER the case – the blinds being closed I mean, not me following him, I always followed him. I walked in and there sat my favorite HR employee – the man I’d met with when I was hired. I took this to be a bad sign.

I will preface what happened next with the fact that I rarely/never cry. I try my hardest not to because I am one ugly crier. A chicken pox scar from second grade appears between my eyebrows and I get all splotchy – therefore, no one wants to see it and I don’t want to have to be the one to put them through that experience. But, this time I was ill-prepared.

Veej went through the reason I was in his office and what had to happen and due to the looming financial situation…I LOST it. I mean head-in-my-hands convulsing. The breathing where you’re trying to suck in air, but then your throat closes, and your nasal cavity clogs. Yeah, not pretty. Veej and my favorite HR employee sat there in shock, not really sure what to do except hand me a box of Kleenex. First off, they are men. Nothing personal, but women crying is not something men like or can deal with well. Secondly, my boss didn’t want to have to tell me this, it wasn’t his decision. Third, I was pretty caught off guard.

I did a lot at my job. It was a small publishing company, so we all wore all kinds of head gear. I did everything from catalog layout to manuscript screening to inventory reports to author troubleshooting (not shooting the authors, although sometimes…totally kidding!). I immediately knew how much of a toll it was going to take on the 2.64 other employees that worked on our immediate team. It was going to be very hard on them considering where the morale was for everyone and how their workload just quadrupled.

So, my favorite HR employee (I’m not being sarcastic, he really is my fave HR guy. We enjoyed many trips to S-Bucks!) explained to me severance and that I would need to leave immediately. I took a deep breath, apologized for my complete lack of control, smiled at Veej, hugged him, and gathered my things. I think at some point they encouraged me that they would rather me react like that than the ways some people would if they were just laid-off. I walked by a co-worker’s cubicle and, with a tear-stained face, let her guess what she would be doing from here-on-out. She is also one of my favorite people – God bless her.

Walking out to my car – where I immediately regretted the 14 mpg fuel inefficiency – I called my dad. Uncontrollable sobs, again. He probably thought someone had died because he kept trying to get me to calm down and tell him what happened. So I did and he kept saying, “I’m sorry” and taking deep breaths. I imagined him rubbing the top of his head like he does when he’s thinking, or trying not to lose it during those times when I tell him I just burned the engine out of “my” car after going mudding…more on that later, I’m sure.

I head home thinking back on how the Dave Ramsey Financial University class I just finished could come in handy – if only I had that emergency fund built all the way up. I sit on the couch and turn on the TV. Oh, I forgot to tell you – it was Inauguration Day – January 20, 2009 – President Obama’s first day in office. I sit there watching the country welcome in a new President and think, Man, he’s got a job ahead of him. Welcome to the Oval Office Mr. President!” I wasn’t mad at him, just upset that I happened to be cut-off from, what I thought, was my identity and way of survival on the day he was celebrating a new life and new beginning. Little did I know that my situation would gradually improve, while his became bigger and bigger piles of problems to find solutions to that very few people wanted to address straightforwardly.

The NEXT day, I had an interview. It was for a job as Hostess at California Pizza Kitchen. I took it. Went through the training and welcomed in the guests of CPK and made friends with the employees.

For 7 months, this was my job. It was eye-opening, boring, humbling, frustrating, fun, dramatic, and most of all much-needed. I’ve realized, over the last year especially, that many times when God speaks to me, it’s in mighty acts, not necessarily the subtle way.

More about subtlety next time. To be continued…


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam "gollaholla"
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 21:48:00

    Jourdan, that is an amazingly well written piece of work. It reads like one of the short stories we read in high school. I have to ask if that really happened to you because I would think you would be the last person anybody would consider letting go. Please continue writing, real or not that is incredible. You should probably consider writing as a career.


    • jourdanf
      Mar 03, 2010 @ 19:51:51

      Thank you so much for the comment Gollihugh! Yes, this actually did happen. I’m hoping that this blog will be a true memoir. Feel free and invite others to read!


  2. Ali
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 08:44:16

    This post just builds up anxiety over the posts to come and all of the possible topics you will be hitting on… YES! Can’t wait! (ps. I don’t like talking about this day, so let’s put it behind us. I think the blog post should send it on its way into the happy land of absolutes (movie quote? anybody? anybody?))


  3. Katie
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 19:26:20

    Ooh it was a good (and kind of sad)to hear the inside story. I’m glad you’ve found something you like better…at least for now. 🙂 I like you and am glad you’re my family.


  4. Katie
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 19:27:47

    Oh, and I cry like that all the time. Is anyone a pretty crier?? Meeker says I look like a duck when I cry and he sometimes mistakes my “crying face” as “I’m trying to be funny and look like a duck face” – again, men don’t know what to do with lots of tears.


  5. Katie Fentiman
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 19:59:29

    Wow! You’re a great writer! I’m excited to continue reading your blog. It’s fun to learn a little more about you.


  6. Libby {callan} bonjour
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 09:00:33

    Hey girl! I so enjoy reading your blog too! I will definitely be adding you to my friend list of blogs to read. 🙂 hope things are looking up


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