Wednesday, November 17, 2004

November 17 (Wednesday): Burning Issues. I wake up this morning, before 7AM, knowing that today could be the death of me. It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel tired though, so I attempt re-entry into sleep but by the time Sara hits me on MSN at 7.25AM, I can only but throw the towel in.

This morning I emerge nervous and depressed that I have no support in a really dark time for me. I know my parents are concerned for my wellbeing but they just really are not “there” for me and so is nobody else in this world. Poor me, bleeding hearted arsehole. In the words of the first good doctor: “there but not there”.

Today, this morning, I cannot possibly concentrate on a thing other than the mountain of (undeserved) flack that awaits me this afternoon. I struggle to engage my body with my mind so I just opt for something more potato like: watching The Sopranos on DVD (for the record, the last three episodes of season 2).

I prepare some notes for today’s hearing and attempt to pre-empt and organise myself for it. The whole situation is so vague and open to interpretation, it could go anyway but of course you must bear in mind that ultimately it is a company of four partners with 25 years trading behind it against me, so ultimately my destiny is held in the essential decency of the white man. These will have consulted legal teams and have legal advice in their cannon whereas I only have the fact, which in the eyes of the situation, are subjective. There will be no rewards from this conflict, only casualties. With four against one, the minority can only be but bullied.

In the morning, I call another agency and then speak to the people that insure my mortgage and payments. I might as well have phoned China.

Late morning I receive a text from Azmei going “call me”. Man, what has she fucking heard?

At midday I leave the flat to go to Asda to get a newspaper and lunch. I want to go into this at least feeling half healthy. I buy Gingko vits (with one eye towards the future) and Blue Charge, to at least give me a little pep.

Gradually I get ready, preparing final notes for my argument and choosing smart but casual attire for the meeting, something that shows I’m taking it seriously but not enough to wear a suit. Around 1.30PM comes along as I prepare to head out. I wait briefly for him to contact to me on MSN, to say a few final words of good luck/intention, to make good the events of yesterday. Nope, it doesn’t happen.

I leave around 1.40 to face my destiny. I park up in Creffield Road, I’m not parking in the company car park because at the end of the day, I do not expect to be part of the company. Unfortunately however, parking here/there at this time brushes upon the permit zone period and there is a lurking parking attendant, so I have wait until 2PM with my car to check they my car will be all right (and won’t get ticketed). And all in all, this makes me late in arriving/turning up at the office.

As I walk to the office, a five minute walk at most, I find myself short of breath and my legs feeling very very wobbly/jelly, I experience the fear. At the door of the office I take a deep breath and step in, hoping to see as least familiar faces as possible. On reception on this day is Margaret, the receptionist least likely to give me any flack (or make any remarks) despite the fact I really like and get (got) on with all of them. Margaret asks me how I have been doing and adds “I don’t know anything”. I guess my actions have kept quiet in the office.

When I stepped through the door, I caught a quick peak of Barlow and when I get called (eventually) into Seymour’s office, it is a genuine surprise (and relief) that I am just facing him and the other John (which is two partners and one legal person less than I was expecting). Immediately the tone of the “hearing” is a lot less formal than I was expecting. The main John takes control of proceedings as I find there is no need for the notes I had been preparing for the “hearing”. The other John spends the majority of the “hearing” silent, looking down. Almost immediately I am told that they have decided to terminate my contract with a summary dismissal which is as expected but it is how executed with no argument and no appeal. John goes through things and pulls out a portion of my blog with three areas highlight. For the record, I get dismissed for the entries on 12 October 2004 and 15 October 2004. The whole meeting whizzes past me as once the big heave ho is executed (very swiftly) we are going through the motions as John fails to drop kayfabe (as the other day) and goes through an almost prepared spiel (not unlike the manner of the appraisals earlier in the year). He makes good points and rarely accuses excessively or points the finger at me but in the partner’s eyes I have probably committed an unforgivable faux pas by/at this point and it has rendered circumstances almost impossible for me to continue working at the firm, I have bruised too many egos and upset too many members of management. As I entered into the “hearing” in defensive mode, I have very little in the way to say, to deal with my executors also being so defensive. I point out that the website is personal and not (necessarily) about the firm/company but the other John pipes up for the first time with “there is going too far”, which is right. The main John never gets nasty, again telling me that it was good writing even if the content wasn’t. He adds that when Millwall next come down to Ipswich he hopes to see me and if we cross paths in town at some point, he will buy me a pint and hope that I don’t throw it over him. Disheartened I smile. I then make a rather serious point of my future reference. John tells me that they will give me a reference if/when required but if asked why I was dismissed, he tells me that he will have to say why. Thanks for the favour. I attempt to save things slightly by pointing out how things came to this by/through frustrations I had and I then point to incidents that served to my dissatisfaction with the firm but, as at the time, my comments once more fall on deaf ears. It all ends in under 30 minutes, I shake hands and get shown the door, told that I will be receiving an official dismissal letter, my last paycheque (with holiday pay) and my P45 through the post. He also adds that if the blog ever rears its head again he will “come after me with a stick and when I say “stick” I don’t mean an actual stick”. So I am threatened with legal action but I’m not actually told at all (at any point) to remove the website or change any of its contents. I ask about clearing my desk and they tell me I can come in and do it Friday evening out of office hours (which I am thankful for). I leave with my heart in my mouth, feeling really down. As I leave the office I look over to Chernobyl where I see Sandip and I wave before walking off into the sunset (ha ha).

When I get back to my car, there is a text there from Azmei. I reply, telling her that I have just been sacked. Almost immediately she telephones me and asked “what happened?”. I wonder dispute whether this was out of concern for my wellbeing, more likely to be in the interests of gossip. She gives me her new home number and tells me to call her this evening.

I pull out in my car and resume my life, glad that that cloud has been removed from over my head. I head straight over to the train station to buy a train ticket for tomorrow’s course in Kings Cross and I also head over to Sainsburys, not quite wanting/wishing to head home just yet.

Upon arriving home, I set straight into motion of organising/sorting out my impending unemployment. Firstly I telephone my mortgage company, to see how I action my mortgage protector. I put wheels in motion and it turns out that I won’t be able to get my mortgage paid for until 60 days have passed. So just what am I supposed to do to pay my mortgage in the meantime? I also call up the Job Centre with view to signing on, only to get the most arsey response imaginable. My god they’re hard noses at the Job Centre it seems. Finally I get pointed towards the council, where I might be able to get some assistance on my council tax (hopefully).

I see Tom is online and I MSN him to tell what has just happened (my sacking). It fails to register with him how big and disastrous this might me, the impact seems to escape him. In the sympathy stakes, I fare much better when I speak to Marceline online and I thank her for all her help and say how peculiar it is that they have done all this action but not once asked me to remove or compromise the website, so is it really that bad after all if they apparently seem happy to have it still up and bobbing about in cyberspace, still in the eye of public all the formal notes/letters have been so concerned about. It’s most definitely a strange set of affairs.

Around 6PM, Dad comes on MSN and asks me how I got on. I tell him with lacklustre and how unsurprised by the result I was (only surprised by the execution of it all). He doesn’t apologise for his actions yesterday.

Later on I phone home and have a word with mum, complaining slightly about yesterday and how I felt I went into today more alone than possible. She attempts to defend him with “you know how he is” but it doesn’t make me feel any better or doesn’t convince me entirely that it isn’t going to happen again some day at some point. She sounds disappointed that I lost my job but more so than she should be expressing, as if it hasn’t occurred to me what my situation and straits now are. I wish I hadn’t bothered phoning basically by the end of the call.

Tonight England play a pointless friendly in Spain. And it is pretty late kicking off. I put it on TV but only with the most limited of interest in the game. As promised I phone Azmei and give her the news/story behind today. The call means I have to put the TV on mute, so I don’t realise all the racist chants that are going in the game in Spain, instead all I see if Rooney ramming the Spanish goalkeeper in the crowd (awesome!) and various other plays losing their tempers. The conversation with Azmei is excruciating. I do most of the talking, going off on one with her giving me enough rope with which to hang myself. I so too much and I think at times I over analyse things to the point that to someone unfamiliar to my circumstances will think I sound insane. I steer away from slagging off my now ex-employers (something I intend to do) and when she chips in with her opinion, it is all nonsensical to me, idealistic comments and the stuff that she herself never had any intention of working to while she was at the firm herself. The call ends at almost an hour, feeling pretty pointless in the process and too brief on an evening where/when I could talk for England it seems.

I return to England game, not really taking it in and by now Sven seems to be executing his ridiculous substitutions. When the game ends an annoying 0-0, the point/purpose of holding the friendly (not so friendly) comes into question. What a shower of shit.

Late on, I receive an email from Allen asking me how things went and I tell him knowing that there is someone sympathetic to my plight.

Haslett (Sara) comes online late on, asking me what happened and unsurprised by the fact I got shitcanned. She slags the firm off royally (but then again they did sack her too) and she gives me advice, somewhat better than Azmei’s advice but this is perhaps/probably a little too high aspiring for someone in my position (unlike for a silver spooner like her).

Tonight I (naturally) find it hard/difficult to sleep and I find myself checking my blog until the early hours and then compiling a DJ CD for tomorrow night’s set off “I Hate My Job” type songs. I also put on the movie Suburbia twice, which twice I attempt to watch and twice I fail to watch. I exchange various emails with Allen over/through the night (including him emailing MP3s to me) and eventually I manage to fall/get to sleep around 3.30AM, which is pretty bad and dicey considering I will have to be awake and up at 6AM for my train to London in 2 and a half hours time. Bad move.

np: Rollins Band - Starve


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