Lance’s RedHeaded Step-child

7 08 2009

He sputtered and stuttered like an old Edsel engine, trying in vain to start on a cold Midwesterner morning, but this isn’t the Midwest and it is far from cold. And this was a man who had confided in me about his spouse, his ex, his children, his employees, his former employees, complete with sexually and racially inappropriate comments all the way. For us to have spoken less than twice a week would have indicated that the world must have fallen off of its axis, or something nearly as cataclysmic had occurred.

He accidentally called me, or so he said. At first I almost felt like the crazy lady with all of the cats in the mysteriously ramshackle Victorian house with the wrought iron gates that the kids all dare each other to go press the doorbell, just to see if I would answer. I mean, it’s been four months and I have heard not even a farewell from the likes of this man to whom I was a confidant and, I thought, a friend.

My phone enables me to make ringtones for every Tom, Dick or Harry who may call me, so before I even picked it up I knew who it was.

I answered on the second ring and he stuttered, “Oh damn I really dialed the wrong number.” Wow. Hello to you too old man.

I laughed and said it was fine and asked how he had been. And with hesitation he asked how I was. I’m here, I said.

So, uh, what are you doing now? So I told him, still trying to find a job.

If guilt was an ocean, he would have been in a tidal wave. I don’t know why. He didn’t pull the plug on my life support; he had no hand in the merry making.

He quickly stuttered his way off of the phone and he became yet one more manager from my previous job that obviously wants to break all ties.

But why? It makes no sense to me. I didn’t throw a fit, spill out personal details, or throw anyone under a bus. I didn’t chose to leave, in fact I did everything I could to win the minds of those who would decide if I could. I was ushered out on good terms, a wonderful asset that just would be wasting her fine skills with their petty company and with tissues in hand, I was told to keep in touch. And I tried. I have tried. I still try. I hand wrote thank yous to a few people who made my job worth doing, including the sputtering man who had just called. I offered directions and how tos on call for weeks after being let go. From the most minor of papers to memory devices that were packed into my boxes, I have returned each item with haste. So why then am I the red headed stepchild that no one should mention or speak to or of? What the hell did I do to warrant this discord?

Every job I have ever worked I have maintained relationships with my co-workers after leaving. Whether I gave notice or was shown the door, I have carried on my friendships with no interruption of service by the suits behind desks that I used to polish. Hell, one former supervisor was the officiant at my wedding! So why then, for a company that I enjoyed so greatly and dedicated so much of my time to would they decree that no one is allowed to speak with me?

I know the latter is true because one of the two, well now three, people who have bothered to push the button to call out this crazed lunatic of the year for two years running, told me so himself before he ceased all communications. He had called me on a weekly basis following the departure then suddenly stopped. And about a week ago called to check in and wish me well and ask that I remove him from my references, which he had offered to be, as he had been instructed to cease communication with me. They didn’t give him a reason, he said, but he had a job and a baby and a bride and he couldn’t risk testing their waters by calling me again.

Years ago, eleven to be precise, I had my first professional job run its course. And after being let go in the most sneakiest of manners, even though I had already been tipped off that it was coming and had found another job, my youth and attitude gave way to a three page long email to everyone within the company, and some out of. I disclosed office politic secrets, under the desk tales, company tactics that in their revelation I could be what would be known as a whistleblower, and I sent it off at 5 minutes past 5 pm on a Thursday. It made its rounds through plenty of hands before the IT department managed to get the unread versions off of the server and made everyone swear to delete the copies already read. And yet, to this day managers from that company still are in touch with me as friends. One serves as a reference for me even.

But yet with maturity on my side as I was given my packing notice by my last employer, I said nothing wrong, did everything I could to ease the transition, went above what most people would do by helping the people now in my shoes do my job – and somehow I am the evil one that no one should converse with.

At least I still have the bird man.

And confusion.

Yes, that is what I remain with.

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