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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This Magnificent Invitation

Poetry excerpts from the lovely... "The Luxury of Failure" by Maya Stein.

....After a poem had slipped through her fingers.

After she had broken someone’s heart.

After the taxman had taken her savings and the rain

had wiped out the garden. After the apology

didn’t come.......

....She did not despair but instead

welcomed the luxury of failure,

the velvet of it warming her skin,

how easy it was to slide into its open arms,

and nestle against its breast.

She thought it would take everything she knew

to fling her weight against it, shoulder it

from her path, sandbag the corners of her house

to keep it from leaking in and drowning the furniture.....

She had armed herself against the possible wreckage,

kept the medicine cabinet replete with bandages,

left a surreptitious trail of breadcrumbs behind her.

But no.

It turned out failure

was a tiny slip of a thing,

a drop of water that could topple

an army,

a clear-eyed note slicing a thousand cacophonies,

a single seed offering this magnificent invitation:


Begin again.

So, in February, after 2 years and 3 months with my company, I got a bonus of 70% of the total I would have qualified for. Everyone below me on my team got 100%. I was never told why my total was less. I wondered, but I didn't stress. All around me were the signs of my the input from my team and from the directors and managers I saw daily, from all the people I hired. I was working for a new person, and chafing a bit from the smell of micromanagement. I had been working under her and her boss for a year. I had never met either of them...they didn't come to Tampa and they didn't invite me west to see them.

Still, I labored in self deception that things were fine. In April, they began to fall apart. I received a harsh criticism of my efforts and a message that I needed to improve my performance. 2 people left my team for surgery and we toiled through 6 weeks without them, short resource, pressure increasing. When I returned from vacation in June, I was abruptly told they would be moving to other teams and that I needed to do the job with the remaining people only... those remaining looked at each other sort of emptily, knowing that there was little we could do to keep the onslaught of too much work for too few people from drowning our efforts.

In June and July, I threw myself against the wall, "flinging my weight against it". Suddenly, last week, it was over. I am 56. I just had a kidney stone removed. I missed one day of work while that happened. I live in a place where there is 13% unemployment, and I am the breadwinner. For more than two years I was successful. Suddenly, people I had never even met told me my services were no longer needed.

And yet... to leave a place where nothing you could do was ever right....suddenly. Nothing was good enough. Everything was suspect. One false move are done. It doesn't really matter what those around you think, because strings are being pulled in other geographies, and people who have no idea what you do every day suddenly find you wanting.

No one really knows as much as I do, how hard it is to get a job in Tampa right now. A major company just announced 500 layoffs. I have decimated the internet, reached out to people I know, looked all over the state, and come to terms with the fact that I might need to move to Louisville or Minnesota...somewhere where I could find employment and stay for free with relatives until I do so.

I am fortunate. I just landed a temporary job with no benefits at about 50% of my former pay. But it is good work. I start sometime next week when I clear the background screen. I can supplement my expenses from my sacrificed 401k balance. I may be able to find part-time work, in addition, to avoid draining it too fast. I know that this is a reprieve, and that I might need to move after the end of the year, if nothing turns up and the temp does not become permanent.

I'd like to be bitter, but who has time? I have had an onslaught of shocked phone calls, of people telling me how much I'll be missed. I know it, too, but am helpless to change the events. I just thank God for people being unafraid to let me know what they think. It has heartened me.

Still and all... a magnificent invitation. To begin again.


Kelly said...


I've worried this was coming from all the things you've said. Your attitude is great, though, and I have total confidence you will be able to work your way through these obstacles and come out better in the long run. You're a fighter AND and winner!!

Wonderful poem for illustration.

Again, ((hugs)) and prayers.

Marion said...

Oh, Lynne, I just hate to hear this. Those bastards!! I know you're a fabulous, hard-working employee and a great person. It's their loss, for sure.

I love Maya Stein. Patti Digh's new book coming out in November, "Creative is a Verb" will have many of her poems, she mentioned on her blog. I can't wait to read it! Ms. Stein has a true poetheart.

Sending you hugs, love & blessings. I know this is just a bump in the road for you. I'll be praying for a way better job for you. xoxo

Pam said...

Oh my sweet friend!! (((HUGS!))))

I'm so sorry to hear this news, but, like Kelly, I was not surprised to hear it from things you hinted at.

I can only relate, in that I watched Trish work her butt off for a year, building a store from the ground up for a company based in Canada, only to be fired the minute the retail economy hit the skids. I know what she went thourgh for over a year until God and serendipity intervened with a wonderful new opportunity recently. No benefits yet, but they are in the offing.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, dear Quid! Much love and hugs!!!

Serena said...

Oh, no, Lynne! This is so unfair! What a callous bunch of jackasses you were working for. I know it doesn't help to say you're lucky to be away from them when there are bills to be paid. Thank God you have some temp work lined up. I'm crossing my fingers and praying you'll be able to network yourself into a much better position. You deserve so much better than this! Hugs to you, sweetie. I just wish there was something I could DO.

quid said...

Thanks, old friends. To top it off, the director who single handledly plotted my demise, resigned two weeks after she ousted me. She has left the world there pretty tattered and it will take a while to pick up the pieces.

Sometimes I wonder what kinds of demons people have inside of them. I'm worried financially, but totally prepared to begin again.

Thanks and hugs to all of you.