giant inflatable ball

Two weeks ago I got laid-off from my day job.  I had technically reached the end of my three month freelance period (“a formality,” they initially called it), at which point I was to be hired-on as a “real” employee or (as it were) let go.  Apparently they’re “restructuring” the postproduction department, which means laying-off half of the employees (two of us), leaving only the postproduction supervisor and three unpaid interns.  Hmm.

About two hours before the end of a Friday, I was abruptly/awkwardly asked into the conference room by the consistently unpleasant, micromanaging, constantly stressed, and generally way-in-over-her-head postproduction supervisor.  This is coming from me, and if anything it taught me how much one person’s mood negatively affects everyone around them all the time.  Needless to say, we didn’t get along – me and the postproduction supervisor – but, really, I never got to feeling terribly comfortable in that office.  The combination of creative types and business types and sales types all in a wide-open loft/office made for a very strange dynamic that I don’t think I’d ever have truly gotten used to.

One woman (I believe her job involved numbers) chose to sit on a giant inflatable ball instead of the company-supplied chairs.  Every day.  Always.  Occasionally I’d have to troubleshoot her computer or whatever, and I had no choice but to sit on the giant inflatable ball.  It feels about like you’d expect:  like you’re sitting on a giant inflatable ball instead of a chair.  One of the salesmen there had a fancy wireless headset so he could pace around the office while talking on the phone.  I think it made him feel very important, but it came across as very obnoxious.  Also, there was one bathroom for about 30 employees, and it had a squeaky door that served as a sort-of office toilet alarm – three months there and they never fixed that squeaky door.

Needless to say, the company has yet to turn a profit.

The rest goes:  I was greeted in the conference room by the manager and the company lawyer, so it’s immediately clear that this is going in one of two ways.  “It’s not working out,” they kept repeating, which made me feel a bit like I was going through another breakup.  I tried to discern what exactly wasn’t working out, but they just kept repeating the phrase like a mantra “it’s…you know, just not working out.  We’re sorry.”  I said ok, I took my last paychecks, went to the bathroom to (truly) pee, went and packed up my stuff and left.  It was awkward, but it would have been way more awkward if I had to deflate an inflatable ball that I sat on.

As a result of getting laid-off, I’m now getting to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, will be able to stay in Cleveland for 7 or 8 days over the holidays, and will finally be shooting a new movie in two weeks.

I will be broke, but I will be ok.

(Two days after I got laid-off, my youngest cousin–Rachel–ran the New York City Marathon, which was (and still is) truly inspiring.  Another story, though, and one better told by her.)

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