It’s Just One Of Those Things
Being a grownup is weird. Sure, in some ways it has its advantages, cookies for dinner, disposable income, no term papers. But mostly I find it’s weird. In theory I’ve been an adult for a really long time, but I don’t seem to be getting any better at it. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any less uncomfortable.
Take for example, having a job. Every day I come to an office building full of fabric-covered six foot high partial walls. I’m actually lucky to have the six foot high walls. New companies are doing away with walls all together in favor of a collaborative environment. But here are these gray fabric walls and I sit at a pressboard desk and I do tasks that matter very much inside these fabric walls but to the rest of the world are mostly meaningless.
For example, on the very top of my to do list today is the urgent need to call a counterpart at another company and ask her how they structured a contract. Do you care if I make that call or not? Will it impact your life in any way?
Nope. Yet it’s of the utmost and highest importance for me to accomplish today.
That seems so odd.
I sit in my little cubicle farm moo’ing alongside people who are, for the most part, strangers. Oh sure, I have great relationships with my coworkers, we all get along really well, but do I really call them my friends? Not really. I care about their well-being (sort of) for about eight to ten (or twelve) hours a day and then I go home and give them nary a thought.
We eat alongside each other, use the facilities alongside each other, spend a third or more of our days together but these people don’t really factor into my life.
Today I’m in kind of a weird place. The person (I’m intentionally leaving this vague) who occupied the barn stall directly across from me was politely asked to leave the company early this morning. They were not on my team and I didn’t have to be the one to have “the conversation.”
I’m just a by stander.
I didn’t know the person all that well, personally I mean, but we got along great. They got my sense of humor and they always kept a drawer full of snacks and when I started on my first day, they helped me get up and running.
I liked the person in that “hey you are my office pal” kind of way.
Despite knowing that there was trouble brewing, I’m still sort of boggled by the empty desk that now is across the aisle. When I stand up and leave my cube, I look right into that cube and where once there was life and a laugh and some awesome cookies, there is an empty chair.
Not knowing all of the circumstances I can’t say whether this was deserved or not, but knowing the manager and knowing that manager is rock solid, I have to believe it was for the right reasons.
These are weird days. The media might say that the recession is over but I don’t think it is. It’s a tenacious little beast. In the first ninety days of this year, five of my dear friends were laid off from their jobs. And all five are struggling to find new employment.
The person across the hall wasn’t laid off, but still I think about what they will be going through over the next weeks and months to land a new gig. It makes me a bit sad.
But honestly, can I dwell on it? Should I even dwell on it? The answer is no. I cannot get too bogged down in the whys and the hows and the what ifs. I can only sit in my barn stall and look at my screens and make damn sure I call that lady at that other company today because in about an hour someone is going to ask me what they said, and I should have an answer.
Because being a grown up is pretty weird that way.
Image from here.