Onward and Upward: A Thank You

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Union Square, just by my former office, after a rainstorm.

It’s a good a day as any to share the news. And no, I am not engaged.

Last Monday, I was let go from my job. Again. And while I’m still thinking about it all, what was immediately apparent was that despite floating around my family and friends’ heads like a black cloud of abject misery for the past ten months – well, longer, including the dark days of being unemployed yet unenlightened – each of you, was immediately understanding and kind and supportive in precisely the way I needed you to be.

Being let go was, if I am to be a hundred percent honest, only partly a surprise. I had feared it weeks before it happened because I know what it’s like to be around an unhappy person. When friends met me for dinner, they would say, “You look tired,” because I was. Coworkers who ran into me in the kitchen on all times of all days except for Friday afternoon would often ask me if I was feeling well, because I wasn’t. More times than I could count, people mistook me for being sick when my immune system was fine. But I looked the part because, in a way, I was.

And people don’t just pick up on that, they experience it because they have to. Because they work with me, are friends with me, are living with and in love with me (Tom is rolling his eyes).

My employer didn’t even have to sniff it out. If I’m feeling particularly petulant, I could say, “They started it! My boss was so rude to me!” But I’ll never know for sure except to say it was the chicken and the egg. Eventually it was apparent in my energy levels and my general malaise. A hungover expression at work when I wasn’t hungover at all, just unengaged and on rougher days, sad.

But friends, family, and Tom. They have to stick around and hear me out because that’s what the good ones do. But they have their limits too. And even though no one ever said, I am pretty sure I crossed every line in terms of how much a person should be allowed to complain about a job or let it affect your relationships and general outlook. I know because I got pretty sick of myself.

So this is not the most eloquent I’ve ever been, but I need to say thank you.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to listen, to nod along even though it was the same old bullshit from the week before when I looked tired, from the months before when I already knew I hated the job.

Thank you to everyone for being flexible with your time. Thank you for waiting up while I was finishing up and for waiting more when, an hour later, I was still not finished. To know I had friends waiting for me at a restaurant, at a bar, at home after a long day trudging through the nine Escher-esque levels of advertising implementation hell, to know I had a strong support system outside that building was more warming to my insides than any stiff drink.

Here is a photo I took of The Gates of Hell by Rodin, for emphasis.

But even so, thank you for drinking with me. Thank you for having countless wines and too many shots and getting loud and rowdy on Friday night dinners that were otherwise supposed to be pretty “chill.” I probably didn’t need all that alcohol, but at the time, I probably did.

And if you weren’t here to drink with me, thank you for reading my ranting emails, my ranting Gchats, and for letting your ears get hot from cellphone radiation from my ranting phone calls. This includes my parents, who didn’t want me to quit but also didn’t want me to get fired, but when the latter happened were still supportive and said things like, “Okay, now we are worried. But don’t worry, we support you. Do you need money.”

I am an adult woman who has paid rent with her own money for the past 1.5 years, only. That felt very nice. But it also feels very nice for your parents to put aside the fact that you are a 30-year old adult woman, to put aside whatever embarrassment they have every right to feel and say, “Do you need money,” especially when you might.

Thank you to my coworkers too, who after noticing my absence, asked, “Did she go on another vacation already?”  and after learning the truth, wrote or called or added me on Facebook, where they found my blog and sort of understood, and even if they didn’t, wished me something more creative and writing-centric in my next endeavor. Thank you to those who offered to be a reference for future jobs or to ask around their networks for writing jobs. Even if I never hear from you again, this outreach made me feel that I’d done something right. And in a reluctant, Zen-like way, I thank even the one(s) responsible for letting me go, because I am already (feeling) better for it. And I know you are too.

And last, first and always, thank you to Tom, who actually did, from time to time, have to say, “Okay Betty, that’s enough talking about your job. Let’s enjoy a nice beverage.”

But who would mostly just listen and chat and text with me throughout the work day, and made me laugh during my most stressful moments, making all those terrible hours at the office seem slightly shorter. Who cooked me mood-lifting dinners, during which I would continue to drone on and on about how unhappy I was but who would provide perspective and solutions, some reasonable, “You should definitely not wait to talk to that lady who might have some copywriting needs. Who cares if she’s not in your department.” And some not: “Do you want me to poo on her desk? Did you tell her to fuck off?”

And who, at the end of the night, though all he wanted was some (happy) peace and quiet, would let me complain on, long after we’d brushed our teeth and turned out the lights and were in bed. Until he, half asleep, could only pat my head and be honest with me, “There, there, everything will be alright. You’ll see.”

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