The Ripple Effect

When I was laid off, I was not the only one financially impacted.  I had to stop the following:

  • Figure Skating – $11.00 per session, five times per week = $55.00 – Ripple Effect: SkateQuest Reston
  • Figure Skating Lessons – $45.00 per lesson, twice a week = $90.00 – Ripple Effect:  Barbara Walker and Ross Lansel
  • Weight Training – $45.00 per session, once a week = $45.00 – Ripple Effect:  Nina Lomax
  • Pilates – $30.00 per session, once a week = $30.00 – Ripple Effect: Meredith Smith
  • Cleaning Service – $90.00 every other week = $45.00 – Ripple Effect:  Quiroga Cleaning Services
  • Various purchases of gas, groceries and meals

So, the immediate Ripple Effect of my layoff has removed $265.00 and change per week from the Northern Virginia economy and has directly affected four people and two small companies.

So far, I have been unemployed for seven weeks and have missed contributing $1,885.00 and change to the economy.

If I remain out of work for a whole year, that will amount to $13,780.00 and change.

My cats, Princess Gem and Han Solo, have had their veterinary checkups postponed until I am employed again – at least $64.00 x 2 = $128.00 deferred.  Ripple Effect: Pender Vet.

I have delayed my own doctor visits, as well.

I will add things as I think of them.



Beloved Community

I am a member of Bull Run Unitarian Universalists and attend worship almost every Sunday.  Most UU congregations have a part of worship called “Joys and Concerns” or “Joys and Sorrows,” where anyone attending can share what has had a significant personal milestone since they were last there.  At BRUU, we share our sorrows and concerns first, followed by joys.

When it was time for sorrows, I stood up and shared that I’d been laid off in the past week.  I thought I was all cried out, but it really choked me up to share this with my faith community.

After service, most UU congregations have coffee hour – it’s often referred to as “Unitarian Communion” – and I was overwhelmed then by the hugs and well wishes I received from my fellow BRUUers.

Over the next weeks, emails poured into my inbox with encouragement, leads and suggestions for temporary gigs to tide me over from friends and family – from my Beloved Community!

Can I Phone a Friend?

When disaster strikes, I phone my family and friends.  They listen sympathetically until I’m all cried out.  Ann Tomalavage, Bill Malarkey, Aunt Alice Boyle, Pat McGlynn, Patty McInnes, Kathy Owen, Joe Woodyard, Steve Hirshoff – you are my port in a storm.  It’s a comfort knowing you all are only a phone call away.

One of the great things about having Catholics in the family is that they light candles for you at their church that Sunday.  My sister, Ann, texted this picture to me and captioned it, “One candle with your name on it!”


One of the reasons I love these folks is that they have such marvelous senses of humor!

Miserly Bastards

On April 3, 2017, I received a FedEx package from Company A which contained a formal separation agreement, benefits information and various appendices.

Now, HR Representative Z sent, “…a severance letter with dates and amounts, some blah-blah about being able to use the Employee Assistance Program for a while and some more bullshit about an Outplacement Program,” in an email titled, “For Our Discussion,” on the day I was laid off.

I forwarded “For Our Discussion” and its’ attached documents to my lawyer for his review.  Scott is not only my lawyer, he is my accountant, and I’ve been working with him since 1993.  He is good – but expensive!  So, he’s already reviewed the documents “For Our Discussion,” and now I have to scan the full agreement – one page at a time, because I’m now at home – and forward that to Scott for his review.  Like I can afford more lawyer right now!

Not only that, but I have to send the signed agreement back to Company A and wait for a seven day revocation period after they’ve received it before any money actually lands in my checking account.  On the day of the next payday.  Paydays are every two weeks at Company A.  Depending on timing, I’d be waiting almost an entire month!

Savings account?  Depleted due to graduate school.  IRA / 401K?  In good shape, but substantial penalty for early withdrawal.

On top of all of that, Company A did not include postage on the envelope they put in the FedEx package for the return of the separation agreement.

Come on!  No postage?!?!??  REALLY?!??!!?

Miserly bastards!

The Box of Shame

My box contains:

  • Yogi Tea
  • Highlighters
  • 7-Hole Punch
  • Pens
  • Tissues
  • Oatmeal
  • Nail File
  • Imari Bowl
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Lint Brush
  • Eye Glass Wash and Cloth
  • SAS Brown Book
  • Day-Timers
  • My Dad’s SeaBee Name Plate from WWII

I’m guessing my Box of Shame isn’t much different from anyone else’s layoff box.

The Box of Shame usually comes from the copy / print room.  Hopefully, no one is there as you empty a couple of packages of paper out of the Box of Shame.

The Box of Shame should be as light as possible, and there should be only one.  It is best filled when as few people as possible are in the office – as close to 5PM on a Friday afternoon as possible.  Leave behind anything that is not precious or necessary for the next job search.  Chances are they will mail you the stuff you left behind, anyway; it’s a slap in the face that arrives by mail a few days after.

The Box of Shame is closely followed by The Walk of Shame.

The Walk of Shame involves getting out the door and to your car with as few people as possible seeing you.  Not having to talk with anyone is a victory.

Only one person saw me on my Walk of Shame, carrying my Box of Shame.  We didn’t speak.


The Layoff

Company A laid me off on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The day before, my boss sent me a meeting invitation titled “Catch Up with Pat.”  This didn’t surprise or alarm me.  I’d already arranged to take off March 23 to go to The Marine Corps Museum with friends on Thursday – our normal “Catch Up” day.  The only thing that was the slightest bit different is that, instead of calling me directly, boss X specified the conference line on the invitation.

When I got on the line, Human Resources representative Z was on the call.  I knew right then what was going to happen.  Z continued the call in that annoyingly upbeat HR way of talking; an email was on its way, did I get it?  Yes.

The email contained a severance letter with dates and amounts, some blah-blah about being able to use the Employee Assistance Program for a while and some more bullshit about an Outplacement Program (annoying HR undertone: isn’t Company A so generous?!?!?!)

There’s something liberating about being laid off over the phone vs. in person!  I told Z exactly how stingy I thought the severance payout was and that I was going to hang up and go home.  And I did!

WOW!  That was POWER!  Seriously – I didn’t have to stay and listen to annoying HR-speak if I didn’t want to.  When layoffs are in person, you DO have to sit through all of that crap.  You don’t want to be there, your boss doesn’t want to be there and one can only assume that the HR person is a normal human and doesn’t want to be there, either; but you’re all in a room together and no one can leave until everyone has spoken their lines and the play is over.

I went to the Marine Corps Museum on Thursday, worked from home on Friday, did the best “knowledge transfer” I could with another analyst on the team (who does not know SAS) and brought my laptop and entry card back to the office with minutes to spare before 5PM.

I left that office for the last time with what I call “The Box of Shame.”