Part 1

posted Dec 5, 2011, 11:50 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 7:57 AM ]

I was laid off in July. Before the choruses of “omigod” and “are you okay?”, please understand that this was a very good thing. In fact, they did me a favor. I had already set an end date despite my weariness of leaving yet another job.

The layoff was no surprise. The ad agency I worked for had lost a few accounts this year (none of which were mine by the way) and had to pare down their staff. As had been the case with the previous ad agency I worked for, I was highly favored with my co-workers on both a personal and professional level but not so much with management on the latter. It’s not that I’m incompetent or unruly; I just don’t play the corporate game very well.

It was midday on a Friday. The HR lady comes out of her office to my desk, which was inexplicably situated near the entrance of the agency between her office and my manager’s office. With my attitude, my loud laugh and my mood swings, I never understood why they never moved me toward the back. It wasn’t as if I’d call Al [Sharpton] or the NAACP.

I walked into her office and my manager was sitting on her couch. She sat down next to him and invited me to join them. I opted instead for the hard plastic chair. She told me that we needed to have a hard conversation.

This term “hard conversation” had been used twice before under two different circumstances. The first was a meeting the three of us had after I kindly told a co-worker as professionally as I could in an email that I didn’t appreciate the condescending way she spoke to me. That email led to a phone argument and both landed me in HR. I thought she was a bit of a clod, so it didn’t occur to me that she was a VP. The second use of that term had more to do with my long-term goals as it related to working for the company (of which there were none).

After telling me that “we’re going to have to part ways”, peace instantly descended upon my soul. I told them that I thought the conversation would be harder than that, a response they found puzzling. I brushed it off by saying that I didn’t know why.  

In actuality, I thought they were calling me in to tell me that I needed to change my attitude and rekindle the fire I had when I first started. From my vantage point, letting me go is much easier than asking me to change an attitude that I didn’t create.

I left about half an hour later and headed toward the bank with my final pay. As I started walking through Beverly Hills toward West Hollywood for our standing Happy Hour, calls, emails and texts flooded into my blackberry as people noticed that my computer was off but my planner was still open and my messenger bag was missing.

Word spread fast that I hadn’t just “peaced out” for the day, but was happily sent on my merry way.