TODAY, I DISCOVERED the meaning of my dream about the red shoes.
I arrived at work around 8:30 with breakfast for my co-workers: pancakes and sausage for _ue___ and French toast and turkey sausage for ___in__. I wore a yellow, long-sleeved Oxford shirt because it was Friday and I was feeling like the sun.
Today, made 4 months at the new gig.
After I finished my own French toast, slopped in syrup and butter, I put on my headphones, turned on my favorite Pandora station, and began my usual business of manipulating cells in Excel.
Suddenly, I got the urge to begin backing up files - my personal files. I was on my work laptop, where I hadn't stored many, but there were a few essential "documents" which had been updated recently (for good reason, apparently) which needed to be protected. So, I shot them to my Gmail account. That's when I received the first tap on my shoulder.
"M_rvin," ___in__ said. "You know they just let ____ go."
"Really?" I said
"Well, right now it is just a rumor, but nobody's heard from her. There's nothing on her desk. We don't know if she went on vacation or what."
"Wow," I said. "How long had she been here?"
"I don't know. Four... five years? It's really sad."
"Yes, that is really sad," I said, stuck my earphones back in, and went back to working.
A few minutes later, I received the second tap on my shoulder. I turned around.
"M_rvin," ___in__ said. "It gets worse. I just heard that they're laying off one person from every department."
"Wow. Now that's pretty serious. Who'd you hear that from?"
She mouthed the person's name.
"M_rvin, hold my hand," she said, playfully - but not playing.
"What are you worried about?" I asked.
Then, she went into the reasons why she thought that she'd be the one let go. Then, she justified why the other Project Manager in the department might be let go.
Then, I said, "Well, I was the last one hired in the department. If there's going to be any letting go, it would only make sense that it would be me."
Then, ____in_ went into all these reasons relating to value and contributions and non-threatingness and likeability as to why, if there was a keeper, I would definitely be it.
"Okay," I said and began backing up my Favorites. This time, I turned off the music.
A few minutes later, I received the final tap on my shoulder, but I heard the person coming.
"M_rvin, can you come down to see me?" said K___, the VP of _e____e. "We won't be in my office. We'll be in the training room."
We? I thought to myself. Here we go.
Then, I grabbed a pen and pad. Though I usually took my laptop to meetings, this time, I decided to travel light.
When I entered the room with its mystic royal blue walls, K___ was accompanied by _e____, the head of HR. A long white envelope glowed ominously on the table where they sat. I joined them.
The 90-second speech began, "Well, M_rvin, as you know, we're in a financial crunch" and it ended with, "you've been a terrific asset to this company, but, effective today, your services will no longer be needed at _o_____ _ho___ Technologies."
"Do you have anything you would like to say?" he added.
"No," I said, smiling. "No, nothing to say."
"We really hate doing this," said _e______, the head of HR.
"I understand," I said to him. "I understand," I said to her.
_e_____ informed me of when my benefits would expire, my eligibility for unemployment, etc.
K____ added, "We just want you to know that this is in no way reflective of your performance.
If you need any letters of recommendation, I'll be glad to write them. Do you have any questions for us?"
"No. No questions. Thanks for the opportunity to work here."
"Again, we're really sorry and I know this sounds crude, but would you like a box for your things?" _e_____ said, as her hand directed me to, not one, but a tower of boxes stacked in the corner. The grace of her gesture reminded me of Janice Pennington from the Price is Right.
"I'll take one. Yes, thanks."
I picked a box, only there was no brand new car.
I picked a box, only there was no brand new car.
If that's all," K___ said, "we'll escort you to your desk."
There is something very genteel about the word, "escort," in this context. The last time I was "escorted" somewhere was as a special guest for a Black history program for the city of Roswell. Another time, I was being escorted to the front of an auditorium as a special guest for a New Year's assembly at a Zulu high school in South Africa. But each time that I've been escorted, there has been a stage waiting for me - a special stage for me to share my talents with the world.
So, as I walked down the graying corridor to my cubicle, my ears rang with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase,
just take the first step.
As I whisked past my former co-workers, their eyes shying away - as if to look at me would be to become me - I felt like a caterpillar about to take flight, or a sun about to rise.
It seems that my dream of the shoes had been my 2-week notice.
Within 5 minutes, I had boxed up all of my things and said my goodbyes. I walked off, donning my new red shoes, into my new life.