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29 January 2010 @ 11:05 pm
Well now.  
I think everyone knows this by now, but I was fired on January 22, and it is pretty much the best thing to happen to me in a long time. I'm not exaggerating when I say that walking out of the conference room where I was officially fired, I felt euphoric. I went back to my desk to pack up my stuff and everyone else in my department sat with me and looked sad, and I was bouncing off the walls with happiness and overwhelming relief. I didn't start to cry until it was time to hug everyone goodbye. I am going to miss those kids, a lot.

There was an incident in November that I can reasonably point to as the beginning of the end. I think, at that time, my boss wrote me off, and then just sort of waited for some barely acceptable reason to actually fire me. On December 18, I got a formal written warning. Three weeks later (well, three weeks of me being in the office, as I was off the week of Christmas), I was called into a room with my boss and the HR girl, and fired. I didn't make eye contact with my boss, not once. I let the HR girl give her speech and didn't try to conceal my smile.

What was actually kind of nice was that my boss more or less told me on Tuesday that I was about to be fired. He said something along the lines of "I'm done with you," and that he was going to talk to our chief officer and HR and get back to me. So I spent the rest of the week moving stuff off my computer onto a thumb drive, cleaning out my desk, and wandering around the building saying goodbye to various people I had worked with over the last six years.

I very nearly quit in November, and I'm SO glad I didn't. First of all, there's unemployment. Secondly, there is three weeks severance plus another two weeks of paid time off. Thirdly, and most importantly, I qualify for COBRA payments that are 35% of the usual totals, which is only available if you involuntarily lose your job. So instead of my health insurance costing $650 a month, it's only $230, and that will last at least as long as I'm actually out of work (the reduced rate lasts for 15 months). Thanks very much, President Obama, for signing that sucker into law, just in time.

Especially now. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the following Monday, because I don't have a primary care doctor and I thought it was time I started that relationship. I had been experiencing some pain in my upper chest, which felt muscular but also like it might be within the breast tissue, which is worrisome. So she had me get a chest x-ray, and called me that night to tell me there was something going on in my lung and that I needed to go back the next day for a CT. Turns out, I have pneumonia, which is totally unrelated to the pain I was having (the muscle twinged the next night at a certain point in the show, so I know what's causing that now). It's never a good time to have pneumonia, I suppose, but I'm so glad I'm out of work and can basically spend all day convalescing, without worrying about what might come up on that fucking BlackBerry.

Even I did not truly appreciate the enormous amount of stress and anxiety I was feeling every day (and because of that fucking BlackBerry, it was 24 hours a day) until it was gone. Walking out of that office for the last time, I felt like I had instantly lost 20 pounds. My Facebook status update announcing "Elizabeth Replogle is free!" was the last thing I did before shutting down my computer for the last time. I walked into the dressing room that Friday night and announced "I got fired!" and everybody cheered.

Seriously, I am so grateful to this cast and crew, these funny, fantastic people who have been incredibly nice and supportive and listened to me bitch and moan and cry for pretty much the entire time we've been together. I lost count of the number of times I walked in there with swollen red eyes, having cried the whole way home and then to the theater. Having somewhere to go at night, being a part of this particular group, was a saving grace I will remember forever. I'm not sure what I would have done without them.

Or you. You, who have also listened to me bitch and moan and cry for weeks now, you who called me up or took me to dinner or got me drunk. I don't know what I would have done without you, I really don't.

I don't have much of a plan in place yet. The show runs through February 6th, and on February 13th, I'm going to Hilton Head for a week. I am spending some time now sort of unconsciously pondering what direction I'm going to take from here. It's such a brilliant opportunity, at the start of a new decade, to be able to take this time to make some real changes and figure out what path I'm actually supposed to be on. But to be honest, I also kind of want to be a slacker for a while, just a little while.

So, when I get back on the 20th, Project New Decade will begin with gusto. Until then, though, I am taking a very, very long lunch.
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
eelizaloula on January 30th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Loved reading this, love you!
piefessorpiefessor on January 30th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a great plan, and I'm happy for you!
jenzieg on January 31st, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Congratulations on getting fired! :-)

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago. I remember the euphoria. And of course I did eventually find another, better job and everything was fine. Enjoy your new adventures!
Elizabethelizabeyth on February 1st, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Thank you everyone! I am really looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life.