When a Job is a like a Bad Boyfriend

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From Kids Draw the News

Right before Christmas, I entered the office where I work through the employee entrance. A fellow staff member was present looking glum.

“Anything wrong?” I said.

“The head of Human Resources called me to her office yesterday,” she said. “I found out I’m not getting a bonus this year because we are going through a reorganization. So asked her, what does that mean? You know what she said? ‘I don’t know.’ ”

Beat.

“I think they’re cutting me loose.”

cowardly

Coward!

Breaking up may be hard to do, but it’s sad when an employer hints at breaking up with you in an unprofessional way.

She does not know if she’s going to be fired. She will spend the holidays wondering whether or not she will have a job to return to on January 1st.

*

In every breakup scenario, the Breaker-upper usually moves on immediately. The Breakup-ee, however, predictably crumples in pain.

I have been broken up with twice in my lifetime; fired once. Maybe I got off easy.

In college, I was hired to work part-time in a small factory filling little plastic bags with screws and then manually stapling a cardboard label to the top, sealing it shut. I took the job because it paid a lot more than minimum wage. My first day was Saturday. Working at a maniacal pace, for eight hours I crammed screws into those little bags.

The geezer running the place stood over me, nagging. ” You tink you gaht it yet?”

I promised myself I would quit at five o’clock. But the geezer beat me to it. “Too slow,” he said, and fired me.

It was a stupid job — but getting fired from it was humiliating!

Putting screws in a bag!!

screws

However, at least he was honest with me.

*

My first romantic breakup occurred when I was 15. His name was Dave. He was a drummer with a Beatle haircut and Buddy Holly glasses. He was super nice about breaking up and sounded sincere when he told me: “I just can’t like you as much as I want to.” Although not exactly sure what he meant by that, right after we “broke up” in our high school hallway, he walked me to my next class. Soon, he started dating Dee.

What’s important is that he made an effort to be kind. And because of that, we remained friends. (Tragically, a year later, and shortly after his mother died, he would commit suicide.)

He was probably too good for this world.

*

The second breakup was not nearly as nice. I was 19. This guy broke my heart by breaking up with me over the telephone (Post-it notes and texts were not yet invented).

I remember pleading into the phone, “Why? Can’t you tell me the reason.” He said, rather coolly, “I’m going through some changes.”

*

Did he think he was Buddy Miles? He was just a guitar player in a garage band.

Perhaps he was going through is own personal “reorganization.” Or maybe he was:

closedfor renov

The lie favored by restaurants

I felt as bad as I did when my dog died.

Eventually, I learned that he had met someone else while he was dating me, married her, rapidly reproduced, and not long after, got divorced.

By then, I had wised up. I swore to myself that no one would break up with me ever again. Because I would break up with them first.

*

BREAKING UP – A PRIMER

A kind of a lose-lose situation, I know. But for a little while, it took the sting out of breaking up.

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