"Hello, notice of possible redundancy," I said, the brown envelope sitting softly in my sweaty hands. "We meet again, after all these years." And there it was.
Someone once described it to me as like walking through a cornfield and having a pool table land on your head, and I suppose it did feel a little that way; except my pool table has been hovering for a while - when you see so many others in the same industry, and others, going through the same thing, it's not a terrible shock - but it winds you, all the same.
Last time, I avoided the redundancy, but ended up a gloomy, self-absorbed opaque puddle of sadsackery and introspection - wondering why I was going to end up on the scrapheap in my 30s; why I'd chosen to funnel myself into a moribund career choice when the signs were obvious that the comet was going to hit; why things had all gone so wrong so quickly. I kept the job, but I didn't really keep my composure. In a funny way, this time around offers an opportunity, of sorts - to be able to deal with it better, and more maturely; probably, what I'd like is to get a small payout (it'll only keep me in pies and gravy for a month or two) and not to be so stressed out by it all.
You get a sense of time, sometimes, when things are ending. I recall a moment of clarity I experienced while having a Little Chef Olympic breakfast at motorway services while on the way to the last ever football match I covered for a newspaper I used to work for; there was a palpable sense that one thing was finishing, and another was beginning. Now, today, I get the same feeling, looking around the drab, charmless office where I work - a sense that I won't be here much longer, probably - and, perhaps, that something else might be starting.
People start to look at you a bit differently. Like you're a half-blind old sheepdog panting away in a vet's waiting room, waiting for the needle, or something. They don't want to make eye contact; suddenly they don't need to know you so much, or maybe they're embarrassed and feel a bit sorry for you - in fact, it's probably the latter. The same sense of awkwardness, just about something else.
Something ending, and something beginning. Last night I went for a walk, and the stars seemed very bright, and full of hope. There are better things coming, I thought to myself. Better times ahead.
In the meantime: gissa job.
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