I met Supervisor Don’t-Make-Waves in his office where he looked right through me and escorted me to the elevator. Inside, he tried to make some small talk, which seemed so out of place. I thought about infamous women on their way to the gallows or axe men and wondered if their executioners tried to appease their guilt via commenting on the weather.
I sat in the execution chair and waited as a man I had never met before told me my employment was terminated immediately and he began the repossession process. My badge, my keys and my dignity were confiscated and put into the shredder to prevent any of the disgust from getting on the good name of the Superior Court. He never offered me the reason why I was being terminated and I never thought to ask. I sincerely do not think that “massive influence from hateful public” is a firing offense. If you are wondering if I lay awake and nights and wonder what they fabricated that I did, you may or may not be right. Ok, you would be right.
Another elevator ride with my now previous supervisor routed me to the HR department where the very same women who used to enjoy my company, looked at me like you look at someone you used to know, who has cancer, and you don’t know what to say, so you say nothing and just sort of look away, in hopes that you don’t look at them and make them uncomfortable and everyone can just pretend that none of this is happening, had to help me exit my employment officially and thoroughly. I remember signing a bunch of papers and hearing a lot of “Wah, wah, wah” that sounded like the adults on a Charlie Brown cartoon.
I left the courthouse, the same one where my husband left in chains, in shame and the shackles of hopelessness. Somehow I could not get past the scarlet F that was on my chest- FIRED.
Being fired left me feeling as though all hope was lost. It is one thing to be uninvited to the party and entirely different to be stripped of the means to provide for your family. At this point, the government had taken all of my husband’s assets, his home, his business and all I had was what I brought to the marriage apart from him. That, and my wicked employment skills. Those were gone now.
Thank God that I had savings and unemployment because the two were the paper-thin line between me and Googeling how to commit suicide in the most painless way.
My fight back to a shame-free lifestyle was not easy. I had to come to some pretty tough terms along the way. I had to learn that I am not obligated to accept anyone’s opinion of me. I am not required to accept your Voo Doo. I can use my inner evil-eye to ward off that hex.
I moved out of the area and stopped hiding my story. I started sharing my version of what had happened. Not the media’s, not the prosecutor’s. Mine.
I discovered that when I stopped hiding and expecting people to reject me, they didn’t. Most of the people I encountered were compassionate and interested and, to be honest, not all that surprised that my crazy story happened.
Over time, I stopped being scared all of the time. I stopped fantasizing about being paper-screened out of every job I applied to when they required me to mark the yes-box next to the question: Have you ever been discharged from a position. If so, why?
As a matter of fact, tomorrow I am going to my first interview since that fateful day three years ago. Yep, it has taken me three full years to face the employment dragon, head on. I am ready. Let the chips fall where they may, I am not obligated to accept anyone’s reality of my life, but my own.