What rhymes with retrenchment?

I have already been through three retrenchments, and they were all pretty sucky.

There is something devastating about sitting on a couch/around a boardroom table and being told your services are no longer required.

Granted there are several ways of delivering this bit of news, but the reality is that no matter how it is done, it is just pretty shite being on the receiving end.

I got to hear it again last week.

I am retrenched/redundant/unemployed and I feel ill enough to want to throw up.  Once the penny dropped and I fully “understood” what was going on, I started to move through a few stages of “The Initial Shock of being Retrenched…”

Mine appear to loosely follow this progression.

Stage 1:  Sitting quietly and trying to take it all in {whilst the voices are screaming}.

Stage 2:  Starting to doubt you are hearing correctly.  An overwhelming urge to shake your head, put your head to the side, and smack your ears because you think that somehow there is a wax blockage in your ears that makes you hear “you are being retrenched” incorrectly.

Stage 3 : Trying to compose your face in a look of mild interest, and at the same time, nodding at the correct times.  When in actual fact you want to throw yourself on the floor, sob like a three-year old and grab the leg of the person who is busy going through there “you are retrenched” script and beg them for the love of gd to reconsider.

Stage 4 : Wondering if you can say something at this juncture that will change the outcome of this conversation. {So the person is speaking and you have stopped listening and you are desperately scrambling for something to say that will change where this conversation is going.}

Stage 5 : Wondering who else knows — are you the only one being retrenched —- who else knew and did not tell you?  The sense of suspicion towards everyone begins to creep through.

Stage 6 : You know the person delivering their script is winding to a close, and now you are going to be this awkward person sitting on the couch, when in reality you need to go and get your cup, and your wire giraffe and leave the premises {after the mandatory body cavity search of course}.

Stage 7 : You suddenly feel really bad for the person/people who are having to convey this rather kak news.  You realise that they are probably feeling pretty shite, so you shelve the fact that you want to burst in to tears, and beg forgiveness, and instead try to act in a way that makes them feel less bad.

Stage 8 : The moment you realise the inevitable.  You are being retrenched.  All the big decisions have been made, and at this point you are really just being brought up to speed.  Nothing you can say or do, at this juncture will change what is going to happen.

Stage 9 : Your brain wonders whether claiming UIF is a possibility, your brain quickly works out what school fees are and whether you should home school to save monety.  You have already worked out what you will write on your cardboard sign which you can stand in the traffic and display “Help, three children to feed, no job, please help, gd bless!” or something of a similar ilk.

Stage 10 : The embarrassment washes over you that you have been retrenched, and you feel a bit (very) rejected, and think “Fuck again!  Again, really again – aah fuck!”  {I would love to be a retrenchment virgin, but it appears I am well on my way to being a retrenchment slut.}

I have moved through these 10 stages, and am in the stage of anger/denial/crazy worry …. and so much more ….. so this weeks sucks chunks.

Some days are for living. Others are for getting through.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season with friends and family, and where ever you were when the clock changed to 2011.

I trust it was in a happy place, or at the very least spent with a reasonably good bottle of wine in what would pass as your moderately pleasant place.

I have been neglecting my blog duties in the last month, and for that I am slightly embarrased.

I have found that for the first time in a very long time that I just have not felt like blogging – which is odd, as I really do enjoy this blogging malarkey.

I do think November and December have offered me one too many challenges and I have struggled to bounce back from.

My natural tendency is to throw myself to the floor and weep: “why we, why me?” And this month it seemed allowed so many opportunities to do just that.

I feel like one of those blow-up-balloon-figurines (kids kind versus sexual ones you purchase from Adult World), with water in the base that children get so they can punch the crap out of them.

The figure bounces back and bounces back, until it eventually springs a leak and the water starts to get sort of yucky.  Eventually the blow up figurine is thrown into the bag of the wendy house and left there to gather dust while the air sort of “eep-eeps” out of it.

Not a bad simile for how I have felt these last two months.

I have felt “blech” and a bit too drained to do anything other than wallow in my self-pity.

The entire work situation has been on the forefront of my mind, and I also did not want to ‘emotionally puke’ about it here, so though it is all I wanted to talk about – as it was all I was thinking about – I also did not want to initiate a blow-by-blow update here.

But here is a basic update on where I am right now:-

My retrenchment: That is still in the process, but the process does appear to be coming to it’s end.

My company did revert back with a revised offer to look at a reduced salary position.

However this was after telling me in a meeting that I was retrenched, and then announcing to the entire sales/estimating and others that I was retrenched before the issue had actually been finalised.

So yes in terms of procedure, that did suck a bit, but let’s not hold grudges, sometimes the best laid plans do not go to plan.

Since then I counter-offered and suggested if they were going to cut my salary then I would like my working hours should be cut as well.

That went down like a lead balloon, but hey, if you don’t ask you don’t get.  And in this case, even if you do ask, you still do not get.

Then they counter-offered, and I went “mmm, that does not sound right” and at a certain point I realized “I am done” – it is actually time to go now.

I was (am) really disappointment, and though everyone said “don’t take it personally” of course I took it personally.  This retrenchment personally affected ME personally.

As things stand now, I have asked to depart at the company’s soonest convenience.  But that being said, I do not wish to burn my bridges there because all things were good prior to the ‘pack your bags and fek off” meeting, and have had an MD who I will think fondly of for all time, as he is and has been a really good guy to me.

I am in the process  of doing  a hand-over with the person who will be taking over my responsibilities.  I plan to leave my place-of-employment this Friday.

The humour is I am doing a hand over for a person I shortlisted when we were interviewing to expand the department.  So in theory I hired my replacement without even being aware of it – fabulous!

The issue right now is that I just don’t want to be at my company any more.  I do feel slighted.  I do feel rejected. And I do feel hurt about the entire process.  I feel a bit like the ugly step-cousin who has gate crashed the Xmas party.

We can argue for hours about how I need to “wear my big girl pant” and take it on the chin.  But you know, fek that! I actually don’t have to.  And that is the bonus of wearing “big girl panties” I can decide how this is going to play out and I can decide how I feel about something.

I just want to say that this process hit me for a total six.

There I was sitting happily working along.  Obviously having the occasional little bitch and whine about work, but I had no inclination of going anywhere, and though everything wasn’t “coming up roses” I was fine to just keep on keeping on.

Then the retrenchment meeting came, and I was left reeling.

Then there were the negotiation and I realized; what exactly are we negotiating about?  Me staying at a company that chose not to keep me?

Thanks, but I can find the door myself.

Kennith has been a good egg during this entire process.  He showed me support and solutions when I just saw black emptiness.  So he gets another star on the good egg chart – that boy is nearly on his way to owning a BMX!

The issue with my mom: That has not been totally resolved however we have since been in contact via sms.  Kennith, myself and kids stopped by to see my mom and my stepfather on the 27th December.

It was good.  I hope that we can move forward and things can revert back to what-passes-for-normal-in-most-families.  But I do hope that things get better/go back to what there were/not be as awkward as they are now.

I realized how long it had been for them since they last saw Isabelle and it made me sad that they had already missed out on so much of her development.  My mom and my stepfather hold such a close relationship with Connor and Georgia, and I would really hate for our issues to cloud their relationship with Isabelle and Georgia and Connor.

Depression: November and December have reduced to me to a pitiful mess of sobbing and anxiety. I have chewed the inside of my cheeks something hellish, and have been totally self-absorbed in my own anxiety and stress.

I wish I lost weight when stressed.

Unfortunately I tend to drink more than would be considered healthy, and then snack without being aware of what is being thrown in to my mouth.  I also tend to just want to sleep and sleep and …. sleep … and when I am not sleeping I am trying to work out when I can be sleeping again.

Kennith has been great and given me the space to wallow and not tried to push too much on me.

I just want to point out here that he made the entire Xmas lunch himself.  I sort of slothed through, set the table and then ate.  I did not peel one potato or stuff one chicken – it was bliss!

My therapist did suggest that I was in a depressive episode and that I should consider medication to just help me stabilize the situation a bit better.

But with all good therapists she proceeded to say something to me, which was the right thing at the right time, and it felt like a cloud had shifted off my horizon.  So with her guidance, and Kennith’s support I really feel much better and have decided to skip the need for meds right now.

Kids and School Holidays: Not my best time.  I get really stressed when it is time for us and the kids to float around our house and I do look around in fear that something is going to go horribly wrong.

I often worry that there is a bit of Andrea Yates in me, the part without the obsessive religious fervour.

But it was not so bad this year.

I also realized the reason it was not so bad this year was because our maid/nanny/right hand lady Pepe opted not to take her annual leave over Xmas/New Year.  I can’t tell you how divine it has been having her about while while we and our three kids wreck havoc!

She will take leave in March.  I understand that all that is happening is that the pain is being delayed.  Of course now I stare up at the ceiling at night wondering what I am going to do in March!

Over December we spent a lot of time around the pool and the kids have found jumping in the pool and who can make the biggest splash the easiest way to burn off energy.

All this whilst I sit under the gazebo and sip my wine, and try to smile affectionately as someone screams “Mommy, look at me, look at me!”.

The joy of giving: Connor received a Nintendo DS for his birthday (I am sure you wonder how exactly that is good for me, but wait, it actually is very good).

I am not a big game-fan, but this thing has made me clap my hands in glee quite a few times.  Instead of having Connor walking around me whining for me to entertain him, Connor has gone on to develop a close and what I hope is a lasting relationship with Luigi and Mario, as well as someone called Princess Peach (Super Mario Brothers and Mario Cart DS).

We can have another post about the evils of putting kids in front of the television or a computer game, so that the moms like me can lie on the couch and read.  But for all it’s evils, damn, I am a fan of the little game consol!

Christmas Day: Always get a bit stressed about this and always tend to spend too much time with my hand up a chicken’s bum.

We had Kennith’s mom over for lunch and it really was pleasant and just so low-stress it was divine.

New Years: We unfortunately did not have a baby sitter, and I was loathe to drive anywhere with the kids or to leave them with someone who we barely knew who was advertising themselves at R120.00 an hour.

We tried to find a babysitter and when all failed, we opted to accept we would be Johnny-no-mates at home this year.

We put on our best attire and headed to the Spur – Patrick served us, it was great, it was just us and about a dozen other people at the Spur – lovely for us, shite for the staff.

After we had eaten our body weight in chicken wings and ice-cream, we headed home and watched the A-Team on our new Blue-Ray thingy-ma-jig.  It was brilliant with the surround sound.

I would not have thought I would enjoy the A-Team, but I clearly had not given them a chance.  It was brilliant – cars ramping and exploding, thousands of bullets being fired, and barely any one dying!

Enjoyed it thoroughly – actually it was better than the television series!

Kids went to bed, Kennith fell asleep on the couch and I watched Sherlock Holmes – another fabulous movie.

Midnight approached. I woke Kennith up.  We stumbled out on to our stoep to watch the fireworks – we can see the mountain and a large section of Cape Town from our house.

We congratulated ourselves on a job well done and went inside.  It was great, might do a few more like that in the coming years.

So that is where we are on this third day of January two thousand and eleven.

Quick recap:

  • I headed back to work today to train the person who will be taking over from me – it’s a very strange situation.
  • Kennith is still on leave and he will need to go and buy stationery and school supplies this week, which usually costs us the equivalent of a heart and lung machine.
  • Isabelle is now 18 months, and for all purposes is a happy and healthy toddler.  Concerns: she does not use any words, none.  She still eats pureed food.  I feed her only vegetables and fruit, no meat.  More because once you flick them on to meat, it is like changing your grandfather’s nappy.
  • There has been no news on my missing dog, and that still makes me very sad, and sometimes I have a little cry when I am on the toilet (because sometimes it is the only place I can be alone).

Okay so that is my little catch up.

I am hoping my brain kicks into gear soon.  Apologies, as it really has been out to lunch for quite some time, and I can hardly string a sentence together, let alone do a decent blog post, so please be patient with me until I find my mojo again.

Contrary to popular belief, I have not off’ed myself with a broken wine bottle, I am here, I am fine, I just need to get my shit together, and remember why I put on clean underwear in the morning.

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