“Remember how they tried
To hold you down?
So we climbed those towers,
And looked out upon our town!
And everything you hoped would last?
Just always becomes your past (and it hurts)!
But summer’s when the money
Was gone? You would sing
All your little songs, that meant
Everything to me --
And I’ll remember you!
And the things that you used to do!
And the things that you used to say!
I’ll remember you -- always!”
In season six of “How I Met Your Mother”, there is a fantastic episode entitled “Canning Randy”. The premise is simple: Marshall has to terminate one of his employees, Randy Wharmpiss * . Only not only can Marshall not bring himself to do it, but Randy -- who desperately wants out of GNB so he can pursue his life’s dream of starting a craft beer company -- does everything in his power to get laid off.
After about twenty minutes of tomfoolery and hijinks, Randy finally gives up, and resigns himself to being at GNB forever. To “celebrate” the moment, he offers Marshall one of his Wharmpiss craft beers.
Marshall takes one sip, notes how great said beer tastes, and then says three words:
“Randy? You’re fired.”
(*: I defy you to not laugh out loud at the obvious running gag this episode gives you. I defy you to not laugh out loud.)
I started at “former employer” on July 10, 2006. Back then, I was a young, dumb twenty nine year old who had no freaking clue what I wanted to do with my life.
My last day of having to report to “former employer” occurred on March 14, 2017, although I am officially still an active employee on the payroll until April 14th. And in the here and now, I am a not quite so young, definitely more dumb forty year old dude … who still has no freaking clue, what I want to do with my life.
But I do know what I don’t want to do.
And that’s what I was doing.
I’ve heard from so many of you about how sorry you are, to hear about my being laid off. And honestly, I probably should have chosen that song from “Evita” for the lyrics for how I feel at this point -- “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina!” Because this layoff is not only a complete and total godsend, it’s what I’ve been praying for.
I may not know where I head next in this life. But I’ve known for quite a while now, that the time to move on from “former employer” had arrived. Truth be told, I’ve been miserable in my job for pushing four years now, ever since two former co-workers and great friends were downsized in the summer of 2013. Ever since then, it’s been me in the spotlight.
Those of you who know me best, know that I hate being in the spotlight.
I’m the dude at the party you throw, who sits on the couch all night enjoying his Weller and Diet, and come 2am as everything is winding down, you’ve completely forgotten I’m even there to begin with. I’m not my brother -- I’ll never be accused of being the life of the party.
For four years, I’ve absorbed everything that job could throw at me. And for four years, I’ve gotten angrier, and more unhappy, and very unhealthy ** , because of it.
(**: true story, as can be confirmed by multiple former co-workers. I check my blood pressure daily, because I have hypertension. The last few weeks, I’d bring the BP machine with me and check it as I left the office, just for sh*ts and giggles. When I left on Monday, my left arm was literally dumb, it ached so much. My head felt like it was on fire. And my BP reading was 162/123. I was a literal walking stroke. When I checked said BP this morning? 123/82. Absolutely normal. And as was noted to me at bowling on Wednesday night? “Wow. I don’t remember the last time your head didn’t look like it was sunburnt!”)
I don’t know where I go from here. I know the smart ass reading this would note “well, you could finally post more than once a quarter, dipsh*t!” … and you wouldn’t be wrong. Writing is something I am passionate about … even if I pretty much suck at it.
But don’t worry for me, seriously. “Former employer” was beyond generous with the severance package I am supposed to receive. It will afford me a lot of time to be able to finally figure out once and for all exactly who I am, and what I want to be. (Although, in the words of Gavin DeGraw, in one of my five favorite songs of all time: “I don’t wanna be anything? Other than me!”)
I don’t exactly know what that is. But I know what it’s not.
And that’s what I was.
So to those of you reading this that I worked with over the last eleven years, thanks for everything. Thanks for the good times, thanks for being there through the rough ones, and thanks for your kindness and friendship. There’s far too many of you to name specifically -- I’m in utter shock and amazement at how many of you have reached out to me, not only publicly through Facebook, but privately through email or text messages, at how much I will be missed. I never realized I made a positive impact in that place. I’m glad to know I did.
And to those of you that are friends, are family, or simply stumbled onto this in a St. Paddy’s day hangover of remorse, thanks to you as well. I realize this nation (stupidly) rejected Secretary Clinton last November. But she is right about at least one thing, and it’s the one thing Mr. Trump cannot grasp, either out of arrogance or utter ignorance -- it does take a village. No person can do it alone.
I so, so appreciate the support, the love, the friendship, the everything, you add to my life. I only hope I add something positive to yours. (Pause). What? (Pause). Well of course I add the “only Stevo would be stupid enough to do that” power of comedy to everyone’s life. I mean something positive, Ms. Non-Existent Editor Dudette of this site!
I don’t look back on my time at “former employer” with regret, or with sadness. And I’m not leaving in an angry, p*ssed off state (unlike some of you reading this, that got riffed along with me). For the first time in at least four years, I don’t wake up dreading the day. I don’t go to bed stressed over the day to come. For the first time in at least four years, my first impulse isn’t to pour a stiff drink, to deal with what was, what is, and what is to be. (But that doesn’t stop you from pouring said stiff drink, right?) Damn skippy it doesn’t. If anything, I get to pour it eight hours earlier than usual (rimshot)!
I gave “former employer” ten years, eight months, and four days of my life. More than 25% of it. Other than being a friend or (my dad’s voice) “a convenient tax deduction!”, that’s more of my life than I’ve devoted to anything else. (Provided you split education apart into elementary, junior and senior high, and college, of course.) Love it or hate it, like it or deny it, “former employer” was -- and always will be -- a major part of my life. I would like to think, based on not only the outpouring of support and love and “damn, we’re gonna miss you tito!” responses, those nearly eleven years mattered.
Because they do to me.
I guess I’ll close with the, uuh, closing, of those nearly eleven years. Because in the end, it was me, standing in the lobby, prepared to head out the doors I’d entered and exited so many thousands of times in my life, they’re uncountable.
And standing there, I felt nothing but pure joy. I joked to a few friends on Wednesday night that I wanted to take my stocking cap and chuck it straight up Mary Tyler Moore style … and I meant it. I was that happy to be out of there.
Will I miss the people? Yes. Will I miss the job? No.
It’s the “perfect memory”. The theme chosen for this post was my late (not so great) buddy James’ favorite song. He passed away in August 2004, which seems like a lifetime ago, to be honest. I still remember crying hearing this song at his funeral mass. August 23 and 24, 2004, are the single most “wait, what the f*ck just happened here” days of my life. Basically, two funerals / deaths of life as we knew it, one incredible, life-experience concert, topped with the meltdown of a lifetime in a bathroom stall at whatever the hell Sandstone is called nowadays. (Said meltdown was me … you can scroll along to the August section of this post, to identify why.)
I’ll remember this chapter(s) of my life? Always.
But what I’ll remember most? Is what I won’t.
And that’s all the things I despised about my job, and about “former employer”. I don’t feel hatred, I don’t feel anger.
I feel … relief.
Exactly what whoever wrote the theme to this post felt, in closing the song down:
“If it don’t hurt you?
It won’t hurt me!
If it don’t hurt me?
It won’t hurt you!
And if it don’t hurt you?
It won’t hurt me?
At all! …”