I was late to the meeting. I told her that I needed five more minutes to wrap up a report I was working on. She smiled and obliged me. Of course she let me take my time. She smiled patiently as I got comfortable in the leather seat opposite her at the conference table.
It was just her and I at the meeting so I didn’t know what I was in for. I have told fledgling interns to pull over a bookshelf, and go out with a bang, if the human resources manager is ever at your meeting. You’re about to get fired. It was just her and I so I thought the topics of our meeting were going to be routine.
Then the language started:
Disappointing sales in your sector…improvement plan… meetings and coaching sessions to improve your performance….
I couldn’t help but ask the question. I found flowery language to ask her if she was waltzing me out the door towards the unemployment line. Several sentences she circled around me confirmed my suspicions.
She used about 33 words in response to my question that sounded to me like: “Yes, you are getting fired. Yes, you are getting fired. Yes, you are getting fired…” over and over again.
“I’m sorry. I know this is tough news but this is a high pressure industry.”
“No need to be sorry. I’m not taking it personally at all,” I tried to set her at ease.
You damn right I’m not taking it personally! I needed her to know that. I’m going to remind her of that when I quit before the end of the fiscal year. She’s not going to butter me up so that I will stay long enough to tie up loose ends, just so that she can hand me a pink slip in return. I am not an idiot.
I am stressed and can’t eat. I wish I could shed a few tears but I can’t seem to well them up. The only time I got them pouring and felt relief was when I said the following out loud to myself:
I don’t care what is going on. I’m not going back. I’m not drinking one damn drop, even if I end up taking the shameful walk to the elevator holding a plant and box of my belongings.