One of our Managers was let go on Thursday January 30th. We were about to start our meeting, got moved out of the boardroom and into the lunch room because there was another meeting to take place. There seemed to be so much activity in the management office and the energy was a little chaotic but it didn't enter me. It wasn't my chaos.
Those of us who were going to meet in the lunchroom cracked a few jokes and were ready to begin as an executive stopped in the door and called the manager's name, "Can I talk to you for a second?"
"Sure,"she said, then looked at us, "I'll be right back."
And that was the last thing she said to us.
We saw the HR woman who is usually around when someone is being let go and a couple of the ladies made comments of, "oh-oh, if she's here that can't be good. Do you think the Manager is being fired?"
I said, "No, no. She doesn't always come for that. When I applied for a position at Head office she came to see me to tell me personally that I hadn't gotten the position. We discussed why the other person did get the position, she had more experience etc. She doesn't come for just bad news don't worry."
Minutes went by. The faces of the other ladies looked scared. They were that scared silent. The Security Coordinator and I cracked our jokes, trying to keep the mood light.
I said, "Ahh it's probably me getting fired."
He said, "Yes, and I'm going to be the one to escort you out of the building with 3 guards and a taser."
The ladies weren't having it. They kept to that scared silence.
Well, 45 minutes later, our big boss came in, closed the door, and said, "Well, I guess you folks have figured out what's going on. The manager has been let go."
I leaned back in my chair. My stomach turned.
He talked about stuff, my mind wasn't connecting. There were a few, "Whys?" and "I really liked working with her."
And I spoke up. "I just have to say something because my stomach is upset and well, I have to say what's on my mind. I feel so disheartened that after all her years of service that this is how it ends. We were just starting to get into a good groove..." And then surprising to me as well as to every one else I started to cry.
I was asked if I was making this whole experience about me and I said no, that I was upset that it feels like there is no loyalty to a persons years of service. This way of being let go was like a slap in the face. That I imagine that she is wondering what we are saying about her. That we can go through years of feeling abused by one manager and when we finally get a manager who listens that this is what happens. That we don't even get a chance to say a proper good-bye. It was like a death. How do I even contact her to say, "Are you okay?"
He talked to me again later and I said, "I don't warm up to many people. It makes a huge difference between working with someone you get along with and working with someone who you feel is always setting you up."
If there is anything good that came out of it, it's that us non-managers have been confiding in each other more. We've shared stories of the things we'd suffered through over the years. We've realized that we are not alone in some of the mistreatments that have transpired.
Last Thursday there was breaking news that a little 3 year old boy had gone missing from his Grandmother's apartment. It was so weird. As I walked to work in the morning it was so cold out that my knees hurt. When I got to work I was saying to a couple of co-workers that you'd think I could walk faster since it was so cold out but I actually walked slower because my legs were so cold. I had on leggings under my pants.
I think I got the breaking news email just after 8:30am about the little boy Elijah. He'd last been seen at 9:30pm when he was put down to bed. He was wearing a t-shirt and diapers and the apartment door was open.
Dear Lord, let this end in good news.
It didn't. People drove in from Mississauga, from London, Ontario. From all parts to help to look for little Elijah. He was found by a volunteer about 100 metres away from the apartment building without vital signs. I got that breaking news email and 30 minutes later the breaking news email that he had passed.
I felt defeated.
I worked that night at my part time job. As I was getting ready to leave for the evening we turned up the news to hear the full report. There had been a picture of little Elijah in the apartment building lobby before he left the building out into the -30 degree weather to his eventual death. My eyes welled up.
In the report, they said that the volunteers who found him were crying. That the police who took him to the ambulance were crying. They spoke to some of the volunteers on the scene and they broke down just saying, "We came to help. We were hoping for the best. This is just so heartbreaking."
I started to cry.
I said to my co-worker, "When I heard the news this morning that he'd passed away I kept trying to think of a reason for this. Maybe the angels were with him. Maybe they woke him and held his hand and said it's time for the job you were brought here to do - to open everyone's hearts." Because why would something so tragic have to happen?
Friday morning as I had my shower, I thought of little Elijah and pictured his sweet smiling face and I sobbed. I sobbed because so many of us would have offered our own lives in order for his little 3 year old life to continue. I sobbed because this life can be so damned painful and feel so senseless.
I want to believe there is a purpose for this painful story. So many strangers, including myself, are mourning his death. His death tells us that we are all connected. When life is incomprehensible we are all connected. We all cry, we all mourn. In this cold, cold winter that has been bearing down on us, they've been calling it 'winter fatigue' in the news, we can find the energy to help each other. We have to.
There are so many negative things that can be said about this city, any city, but then our hearts open and we show up. There has been an endless year of bad Police coverage in the news in both the United States and Canada and then a story like this brings us back to the real deal, that the Police are witnesses to regular pains that we can't comprehend. Incidences and crimes and senseless deaths that would break us.
There are so many ways to look at life and then the Universe shakes us and we have to find gratitude for our small lives because we don't know what kind of traumas can be around the corner. We have to find a way to live in honesty, with compassion, with love. We have to realize that the minute we feel our connection to each other the less likely we are to continue to do terrible things to each other. And when we're kinder to each other we'll be kinder to animals and mother earth.
Even on the Oscars last night. It was the people who stood up and spoke for something more who received the real applause. Because it is time. It is time we accept each other. It is time that we respect and care for one another.
There are so many levels of us living in fear and living in anger and feeling abused and victimized and vilified. There is so much pain. We have to feel it in ourselves to see it in others. xo