Was Today Always the Day?

While the timing was a surprise, the act wasn’t. Here I am, yet again, told that “it’s just not working out.”

Usually I have a good idea that it’s going to happen. I knew my boss was not thrilled with my work overall, but I thought our meeting today was going to be an opportunity for her to detail out exactly why she’s disappointed with me and then I’d get a formal warning and I’d be on my way out with a last chance effort to show that I’m not so shitty of an employee. However, when I walked into my meeting and saw the head of HR sitting there, clearly not concluding another meeting, I heard a loud stunned voice in my head go “oh. shit.”

So this is it.

In the past when I’ve been let go, I knew I hadn’t done a good job at all. This was different. I did some of my best work here, but my poor interpersonal communication skills and lack of organization sabotaged my success in the end. Just two months into being my new boss, my new boss has said GTFO. Well, it was said in a more polite and eerily unemotional sort of way… the whole, I’ll keep this short, it’s not working out.

I burst into tears like a baby. I couldn’t help myself. I was overcome by emotion. It was humiliating but luckily the room was in a private area so hopefully no one else heard.

It was awkward because it wasn’t a clear “pack your bags and we’ll walk you to the door.” I immediately offered to finish up projects and tie up loose ends — maybe I shouldn’t have, but I want the opportunity to make things right and at least leave on a positive note. It seems like either this was the plan to begin with or they were quite receptive, because I was told to put together a transition plan, take tomorrow off, then present my plan on Monday and we’d work out messaging to the team so it doesn’t seem like I was, well, fired.

This helps them as much as it helps me, of course. It doesn’t look great for someone who does a lot of work to be fired, and without the context of my salary level (which I knew put me at high risk for the axe with any amount of errors), people would feel worse for me than my boss thinks they should (and she can’t exactly go telling everyone how much I was making). I know she just wants this all done with so she can focus on building her new team. I think she’s great for the company and so many things I’ll never be.

I’m very frustrated that today had to start on a very sour note. I somehow screwed up an email process and sent emails meant for only 400 people to… ok, so I sent the emails to our entire database. It was entirely my fault – I had it all set up to send correctly to the 400 people and then I freaked out at the last minute that I had done something wrong and, attempting to send the email to a smaller list, I adjusted the rules to what should have been 30 people, except they didn’t save properly and I ended up emailing everyone.

If she was already planning to fire me today, boy, did she get a great morsel of holy shit you so need to be fired right there. Apparently my error was not the worst of it, it was my failure to notify her and a few others in the organization right away (I did notify some people who were impacted, including one woman who clearly wants me out of the organization who immediately forwarded my email to her team back to my boss – so much for my boss not finding out.) I didn’t realize that the entire database had been mailed right away and by the time I did I was late to work and … ended up being late to another meeting, so this whole morning was a hot mess.

I’m terribly curious if today was already the day of my professional execution or if my actions in the morning accelerated my not-so-honorable discharge.  Was I sitting on death row with no exact execution date scheduled when suddenly my poor performance sent me straight to the electric chair? I guess I’ll never know. And I guess it doesn’t really matter. I fucked up big time this morning, and even she said that if that’s the only thing that happened I wouldn’t be out, it’s just this on top of everything else…

Everything else is me not able to prioritize my projects or get things done on time, which is especially awful when others need to contribute. I mean, it’s really basic collaboration working with other people stuff — it shouldn’t be this hard. But my anxiety stops me from getting things done when they need to… and I can only do work at strange hours of the night and often last minute which is not good at all.

The saddest thing is now that I don’t have to worry about keeping my job, it will be easier for me to do a good job. The anxiety will poof go away because I don’t have to prove myself or be good at anything.  I can just tie up loose ends and get my shit done and then so long…

It’s always tough to be fired, but this time it is especially painful. This is telling me I really need a totally different job. It was my attempt at being a high-paid employee, and it latest an amazingly long time all things considered. I did do a lot of good work — maybe great work if I were a more junior employee — but I just didn’t cut it at my level. And I’m trying to be ok with that. I saved up a lot of money. I knew this wasn’t going to last forever. With my PTO hours saved up and potential severance I’ll be ok, even if I don’t find a new job until late summer or fall.

I was hoping to last until the end of June in general – before the whole getting fired thing. Now I am putting together a plan for the transition, and deciding whether I want to make it super short (i.e. 1-2 weeks) or to propose something a little longer (right now I have a transition designed for 6 weeks) which gets me to my 18 month mark and also provides ample time to show the best of what I can do and wrap up on a very positive note. Six weeks is a very long time for a transition after you’re fired, though, so it’s unlikely she’ll agree to it even if I ask for it, and I’m not sure I should. There’s one project with an activity happening in early June that I’m currently running and would like to see through to completion… but, I don’t know if she’ll want me to…

Also, being at work and being paranoid about who knows that I’m dead man walking is not exactly a fun prospect for the next few weeks. I know the head of HR, the CEO, and obviously my boss knows. But other people MUST know. The organization is super gossipy. I bet people knew before I knew. And at this point every time I step foot in the office it will be incredibly awkward. If I am allowed to work remote for some of the transition and I can really focus on just getting things done and wrapped, then that would be ideal.

Anyway, right now I’m keeping this all relatively quiet. I don’t want to alarm any of my relatives, including my husband. He’d understand but there’s no need to share the news yet. I may be able to get another job before this one runs out. I’m going to take this like an adult and process it on my own for a while. I need some time. Tomorrow I’ll head off to “work” in the morning and find a coffee shop to think and plan and stare into the void that is humanity.

In reality I’ll end up working because when I’m in situations like this the only thing that makes me feel good is doing work. Ironic, I know. But might as well use the productive spirit to make for a strong transition. I just need to figure out how long I want to endure this humiliation and if it’s worth asking for any longer than the bare minimum to transition (with incomplete work but at least proper hand offs).

I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve cried enough today. It’s mostly tears of shame and failure. But I’ll get over it. I’m scared, though, as I don’t know what’s coming next. Husband just got into grad school for teaching, and he’s nervous about that career path since it doesn’t pay that well, but it’s his passion and I told him he should pursue it. I don’t want to make him extra worried now that I don’t have a job.

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