Tuesday, September 25, 2007 No going back As I sit here outside a coffee shop, enjoying the sun and free wifi, I reflect back on the lunch I just had.
I got together with members of my old team from before the one that let me go. Yesterday it occurred to me that tomorrow is another round of layoff and some of these people may be joining me on this side of freedom.
I wanted to come up to see them to show them my support, to reassure them that there is life after this bad situation... and that no matter what happens, the team endures. These are the people I said goodbye to on my Freedom Day, instead of those in the office I had walked out on. (Not that there aren't still good people in that last office, those are different lunches for different times).
Even though we all knew that no one sitting around that table is 'safe' and that we weren't really 'home' it sure felt that way.
What matters is that they still matter to me... no matter what.
Thursday, September 20, 2007 Feast or famine... Since word got out that I'm a 'free agent' I have been getting a lot of offers for work and partnerships. The world sure is filled with big eyes and bright ideas (or is that bright eyes and big ideas?)
It's time to be very discerning and free from distraction.
It's important to remember whose life it is... and whose dreams these are.
Monday, September 17, 2007 Coming Home Today was really the first day of my new life. Having been on vacation in New York only delayed the reality that my life is no longer the same.
New York was awesome. I was surrounded by people who truly love me. I had time to reflect on what I endured for seven years... and time to dream of the world outstretched in front of me.
I saw three great Broadway shows that even though they were different each had the same basic message. Xanadu, Color Purple and Avenue Q each talked about following your passion and being true to your life's purpose.
So now is the time for me to 'go for it'
Basically, I'm already out of the airplane. Either the parachute works or it doesn't.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Like yesterday... I'm sitting in a local coffeeshop, staring at the rain. Six years ago, this city was thrown into turmoil, not knowing what was going to happen. We still don't, if you think about it.
The rain seems fitting for the mood of the day. New York is still crying. Every news program is covering stories of people caught between wanting to remember, and desperately trying to forget. The World Trade Center is still a gaping hole, thanks to politics and peer pressure. The wound is far from healed.
Now our old fiend, Osama is back in the news. He's darkened his beard to match his message. Apparently he's got access to the internet and a bottle of Greishen.
Very little else has changed in the last few years.
We doubled the death toll of the Towers by sending our young people off to war. And while we much prefer to keep our killings neatly shored far away and stuffed into sound bites between songs on American Idol, the answers are not nearly that simple.
Going to war was not the answer. Neither is coming back. It's messy whether we stay or we go. Even if it's considered a 'success' it'll only end up to be a few pages in a much larger story.
As long as we take turns hurting one another, this whole saga is far from over.
I'm all for honoring our dead... and supporting the troops (even if I don't support the war)... but my question to the world is...
What's the point of remembering if we never really learn anything from it?
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 Free at last For months… nay, for years, I suffered. At first in silence, so that many others would not know; but then the silence grew to the point where even my blog fell quiet. It was my choice, though reluctantly, to dim the lights. I never turned it off (I have a saying, ‘keep the light on’ which is exactly what I did). However, for my own preservation I had to stay within my shell (being the Cancer that I am).
Too many of the wrong people were reading my blog. Telling my stories, even without names, was enough to come back to haunt me. It wasn't worth the fight… and I didn’t really want to just talk about puppies or the latest staged reality series.
Yet that all changed for me this morning with ‘I need to see you in my office.”
I knew it was coming… not necessarily today, but it was only a matter of time. The company had mired itself in its own mess and the house of cards could no longer stand tall on its shaky foundation. It was crumbling, and the little people that it had been built upon were now feeling the crush of layoffs.
My boss wasn’t around to do the job, so it was up to her boss to have the honor of presenting the story of “as you know…” and “we had to make tough decisions”… you know the deal. She seemed very familiar with the words, but still it made her nervous. I smiled… partly to ease her anxiety… partly to ease my own… and partly to ease the cheer that was building up inside.
She didn’t believe me when I told her I was prepared for this for a long time… but when I put my few belongings in a single Trader Joe’s bag and handed over my prepackaged set of keys and badge she had to admit, “wow, you really were prepared!”
Yeah, because I left a long time ago.
I had hopes and dreams; plans and schemes when I first arrived there… but I lost so much of it to politics and policies that none of it really mattered anymore. Even years of carefully crafted good-byes didn’t matter. This was 7:30 in the morning and no one was in to hear it anyway.
I was told that my company access would be cut off by 9 am, so my only real concern was to get home and get online “one-last-time.” As the regular crowd started to shuffle in at 8… and 8:15… and 8:30-ish nothing seemed out of the ordinary. My name appeared in the list of available chats just as it had always been for many years before.
Staring at each name as it blinked on was like watching an episode of “This is Your Life” (OK, so I’m showing some age by remembering that show, but I was young when it aired; really I was). The memories flooded in, with feelings of joy and sadness, of resolution, yet without resentment. Here, in my rush, I had the power to say whatever I wanted to say. I chose to talk to those that really mattered.
It was like a family reunion. Some I spoke to every day; others I hadn’t spoken to in years… but the connections were still strong. I shared the news and focused on the good times; the past and the ones that are yet to be. Though sad, as often farewells can be, there was a greater sense of peace and hope with each window that I opened. Despite the fact that I have seen some of the most shameful behavior this-side-of-breaking-the-law, despite the inequities that come from incompetence, I chose to look at my stars and not my scars. I surrounded myself with the people who continue to amaze me even to this day; whose spirits, while as dampened as mine, continue to shine their light for those that can see.
I have stories. Many of them became fodder for my cartoons. I’ve learned and grown, despite the attempts of many to prevent that. I left with a small bag full of stuff, but a big heart filled with hope.
I really have no hard feelings. I thought I might. I tried. I thought I could find a little glee in the misfortune of those I left behind; but that’s not who I am. I promised myself that I would walk out of that place with my head held high and my morals intact, and as it turns out, that’s exactly what I did.
There are a lot of people living out their fear. Their environment is toxic and they’re just in over their heads. They’re so covered in bile in that all they can do is fling it at each other. They think it’s the best they can do. I know better… but I was buried in it too.
We all have choices. I could cling to past hurts and spiral downward forever… or I can look straight ahead and fly. That freedom comes with a price. Right now, ‘letting go’ feels like a bargain.
And while I was busy typing my good-byes, I was also on the phone making plenty of calls… sharing the news, looking toward tomorrow. I have so many ‘meetings’ and ‘lunches’ that I’m practically booked up through October!
The timing couldn’t have been any better either. Tomorrow, I leave for New York for a week and a half vacation (thanks for the vacation check, Former Employer!). I will be millions of miles away (that’s 2,654 in frequent flyer miles) surrounded by family members and a lot of people who love me… people who have seen me though so many phases in the past, and will be there for the many more to come. Now, how awesome is that?
I will have so much time to make plans and more phone calls. I won’t be wasting my cards building a house with no real support. Mine is a warm home, built upon a solid foundation… and to all my friends and family, all I have left to say for now is…