I was up for review, today, at work. It was pretty anti-climactic. I’ve been building up to it for the last month, so I’ve had plenty of time to work up a series of indulgent dramatic outcomes in my head – none of which were all that likely to unfold.
In fact, the most likely outcome I’d dreamt up was getting fired, or laid off, or whatever other metaphor or euphemism you could think of when “losing your job” doesn’t suffice. It’s curious the influence that Aristotle had on us: fired, canned, laid off, terminated, let go… They all seem to entail some nuance that mean something to everyone else but the poor sucker on the butt-end of it all: no longer having anyway to pay bills, provide for the family… no longer having any security… no longer feeling secure.
I’ve been inopportunely unemployed more times than I can count (or am willing to try to). Whether it was my own doing or just some rotten, pig-faced luck, it always amounted to the same thing: not having the means to underwrite your newfound recklessness.
Recklessness comforts me. At least, that is, until the fall-out touches- down. Sometimes you can stretch it just a little bit longer, but whenever you do, the fall-out seems to double in half-life. It’s governed by the law of diminishing returns, really, but before touch-down does, all that freedom seems to be worth the trade-off, worth it to just fly in the face of biological imperatives, it’s tangible trade-offs, and Darwin. But I digress…
If I’d been canned, or “let go” as they say, I had a series of scathing summations to deliver, well rehearsed and scripted as all the world’s a stage. The only uncertainty was which one it would be. Would I tell them that it was okay, that Jesus would forgive them for their deceipt and various trespasses? Or just chuckle maniacally and walk out of the office without a word, leaving them to wonder what my next move would be: coming back tomorrow to go postal, airing their corporate dirt in very targeted and captive communities, or simply sharing snapshots of those skeletons in a very private and personal way with the roster of suppliers and clients I’d been made privy to.
But, no: it went fine, just fine. Well, not exactly. Overall, it was the poorest “performance review” I’d had to date. But there was nothing in it that was grounds for leaving me with no way to pay the bills, provide for family, or feeling secure.
Then again, this is a recession, and in a recession, anything less than “you are the single most valuable asset to this company, team, or department” is pretty much “Just go ahead, give us an excuse, I dare you.”