Friday, June 30, 2006
It's over now
Unless I get a phone call within the next 15 minutes, I am now unemployed.
I thought I’d gotten used to the constant waiting of Army life, but this is a new feeling. My job contract was set to expire today, but I’d been told from the day I was hired that it would be extended; that it would be no problem. But late last week told a different story. My department was scrambling to get a last minute approval because of a new rule requiring stateside approval for any hiring action because of budget cuts. Right now there is neither approval nor disapproval. Approval after today still means I’m fired – I can just be rehired later, which is something my bosses have already agreed to. If it comes back disapproved? Well, that’s a different story, meaning pretty much that I’m out of luck. And with the hiring freeze now in place, I’ll be hard pressed to find anything else. So now, I sit here 10 minutes away from being a housewife again. My feelings are conflicted. I’m upset – I’d hoped to be working at least until December. But at the same time, I could use a short break. Short meaning a month, not two years.
So I’ll go on vacation, the excitement of which has been partially squelched by this wait-and-see scenario, and hope that when I get back I’ll have a job.
Because no matter how much I complain – or what I complain about – I love to work. And when I’m not working, I feel a little less than what I am. I'd finished the outstanding memos that were to be written and created an out of office reply: "I will be out of the office for an indefinite period of time."
7 minutes until close of business the phone rings. At this point my hopes of hearing something today are almost shattered, but still my heart skips a beat.
"What do you mean you're out of the office indefinitely?!?" It's the community sergeant major. I tell him the situation and he demands why I didn't tell him sooner. It's all being worked out, I tell him. I thank him for calling. I send an e-mail to the staff saying essentially the same thing, but the tone in that e-mail, it's clear that I may not be back.
2 minutes before the end of what has turned out to be my last day of work I get an e-mail. With my system, a portion of the e-mail flashes on the screen. "Congratulations!" It reads.
I open it.
I am one of this month's volunteers of the month. Ain't that a b@#$h. I start to laugh. Too hard. I make myself stop when I feel it becoming one of those hysterical laughs that get louder and louder until it becomes crying.
4:00. My boss comes in and asks if I've heard anything. He got my e-mail. "You'll be back next week," he tells me.
I hope so. I pack up a few belongings - I'll pick up the rest next week - and turn off the light. I have to close the blinds to make sure it's off because they're activated by the light produced outside and for the past 2 days, I've accidentally left them on.
And I won't be there Monday to turn them off.