Got to work a quarter of an hour late, wearing my Cheapass Games "Work Sucks" t-shirt. What the hell, it was Friday. Boss Charo came up to me and told me that I had a probationary hearing at three that afternoon. "Fuck", I thought. Not the best of days for it. Decided that under the circumstances, a pub lunch would not be a tactically sound move, so conspicuously ate lunch whilst 'working' at my desk in an attempt to make up for lost brownie points.
As it happened, a colleague and mate of mine, Gareth, was being promoted internally (which I thought sounded like an effect of the pills I get spammed about: 'TAKES INCHES FROM YOUR WAISTLINE AND ADDS THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR PENIS!!! PROMOTES YOU INTERNALLY!!! PRACTICALLY GUARANTEED!!!') and so had champagne and cakes in his department, starting at 2:30. "What the fuck," I thought, with the ease born of long practice. If, as one of my colleagues said, it was 'high noon at three o'clock', I'd be a fool not to neck back some champagne first, wouldn't I? So, I enjoyed a convivial half-hour chatting to some of the more pleasant of my co-workers. I even joked that if I was going to be fired, this would be a pretty good last memory.
Well, move over Mystic Meg/Madame Cleo/[insert equivalent psychic from your pop culture here]. As I'm sure you have guessed by now, I did indeed get the chop. I guessed when my boss, seeming even jumpier than normal, began leading me down towards the Human Resources department instead of to the meeting room usually used for such one-to-one meetings. The meeting was short and blunt. Once the situation had been explained to me, I was asked if I had anything to say. I was tempted to be bitter and sarcastic, but:
a) despite having braced myself for this, I wasn't feeling at my most Wildean.
b) there wouldn't have been any point really.
c) I didn't want to shoot any further holes into my already swiss-cheese-esque chances of a worth-while reference.
I did laugh a lot, though. It seemed appropriate.
Charo told me afterwards that I took it much better than she had expected. I felt like telling her that this was because it wasn't a job I actually gave a shit about, and that was, after all, why they were getting rid of me. Once again, prudence and apathy prevailed. The rest of the department had been told already, so I had nothing to do but pack my stuff and go. The fuckers wouldn't let me use my computer, which was a pisser, as I had a file of good quotations I'd grabbed from various web-sites and LiveJournals which I would have liked to retrieve. Still, they were correct that I shouldn't have had personal stuff on there anyway. Smart move would have been to spend a bit of time that morning grabbing copies of things I wanted to keep, just in case. Ah well. I'll know next time. Shook hands with a few people. A couple of them asked for my email address, which was sweet, and Katherine had stuck a postit note on my bag (which I still haven't read. Can't be arsed to unpack all the detritus, somehow) and with barely a ripple, I drifted off home...
Strange. As I said to Katherine, it was a shame, but not a tragedy. The job was monkey work, which was comforting, but did mean that I couldn't bring myself to do enough of it to survive. The eerie thing was the 'goodbye' meeting, which all felt so very familiar. After all, I'd had similar meetings with most of my teachers at school, all my college tutors, and my bosses from every permanent job I've had. In fact, I think this was the longest I'd ever kept a job: nine months. They always begin with "You're a very intelligent chap" (aw shucks) "but you don't seem to be really happy here. Is this really what you want to do?" Subtext: If so, why aren't you fucking doing it? I've never come up with adequate answers really. Maybe next time...