Each week began with deadlines and dead time looming ahead. Dead time classified as time which should be billable. Which required creative thinking of things to do with one’s time that would make it billable. The anxiety of not having a big enough list of these things to do. The apprehension of doing timesheets and entering in for weeks in a row 5 hours of admin time every day because work is dreadfully slow and you really don’t think tidying items on your desk counts as billable time.
Then there is the call into the office with a slightly uncomfortable, oddly serious tone. And then the door is closed and you are told to have a seat and you already know what’s coming because your gut is screaming things at you and knotting its fists.
And then you are let go. But not before words are said which make your face hot and your stomach all the more angry and upset. And the words smack a little and you wonder if the smacks are leaving little red marks on your face.
And it is not until after, much, much later, that you have time to articulate it to yourself what just happened and then you feel your face heat up and you wonder why you did not say the things that should have been said. And you will think about it from time to time, especially on long drives on long stretches of freeways when no one else is in the car with you. You will replay the conversation. You will replay whole weeks and months. You will replay certain instances and meetings and you will not miss the dead time.
After a while, and from a comfortable distance away, you will be able to let it go after it has let you go and things will be better. You will still live your life through post it notes and dynamic To-Do lists that last an entire week. And whereas before you tracked ads and PR stories and referred to items due as “the biggest sale ad” or “the CC Times PR,” now you track people. The people you track will now have skills sets and unique experiences and you learn all about them as if they are an interactive product that everyone speaks of, and you will get to know so much about them, but really not know them at all, that it comes as a great surprise when you meet them in person and you learn they have children or that they misspell words.