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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

Toward the end of the week, sometimes I get twitchy. On my way to drop my daughter off at school today, I drove past a former coworker vigorously waving. Our daughters attend the same school. There, our similarities diverge though, as she is still employed.

We were two of the earliest arrivals to the office each morning, clocking in around 7:30 a.m. Often I would walk down the grey industrial carpet to collect her and we would trek roughly one-eighth of a mile to the cafeteria for coffee. Over many years, we strolled together through the multi-unit condominium complexes surrounding our office building during lunch. Work being what it was, there were weeks that we didn’t see each other literally, and then spells when we walked regularly, after which we ate, gulping down vegetable or turkey roll-ups in the windowed cafeteria. The lack of contact with her is one of the many things that I’ve had to reconcile myself with over the past several weeks, so needless to say on my way home, she was on my mind.

Pulling out of the tree lined street where the middle-high school resides, I envisioned turning right instead of going straight, and following the two lane highway around the rotary to work, instead of taking the pot-holed country road that leads me home. It took no effort to visualize myself in my Friday casual attire, striding through polished glass doors, greeting the receptionist and passing through two subsequent doorways to my former department. After traipsing past our coordinator’s cube, I’d enter my office and plunk my bag at my own blonde desk as I had on countess other mornings…

Nice try. A few days before the big RIF (and I mean days and I suppose now I understand why) the company finally went state-of-the art with their security system. My new but old picture ID (which I tossed to my desk on my last day of work) was packaged into a box and returned to me with some personal items, but of course has been deactivated.

That little scenario up above, well, it would have ended at the door.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I'm not pining for my previous job, but there is comfort in habit and as much as I am trying to develop new ones, the adjustment process remains ongoing. The plan today was to complete final minor revisions to some outplacement work, take a walk with a friend, and then come home and write this blog entry. The computer however prefers to do a security sweep rather then spend time with me, and since it has slowed down radically, I’ve abandoned my little cupboard for the laptop. No real crisis, the cubby simply happens to be where I’ve worn my work hat for the last month and a half. Settling at the table with the laptop, I realized that I am still waiting for a document to arrive by email before I can make those outplacement changes, so they are on hold regardless of which computer is available. I called today’s walking partner, but she has been offered a substitute teaching assignment that of course she must take. There is no issue, I’m capable of walking on my own and will.

This morning though, I’m slightly out of sorts because the thing about working so long for one place is that there is routine within the routine. A million times I arrived at work expecting to accomplish something only to have a crisis or change crop up that required a total schedule adjustment. It was easily done though because there were always things to move on to, other “to-do’s” to complete. After several weeks at home, the surface of me is attuned to my current situation and doing fine. Deep down though, the pattern feels tenuous. Every disruption to my carefully staged agenda takes thought and processing and planning. Sometimes I miss the ability to get things done without always having to think.

That said, I am preparing to walk now and in spite of myself, I’ll follow a new route.

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