If that sentence made any sense at all to you, feel free to continue because it's a good story...
Yesterday, which by now is the day before yesterday, let's just say Tuesday...
Anyway, Tuesday, the dean, who I can now give a proper name, Kevin, and I got laid off. Before you start with all the OMGs and stuff, this is a good thing. Let me explain...
Kevin's been working for the school for 26 years; I've been there 16 years. I've talked about this before but I need the lead in. He and I have been working together closely since 2006 and I've been his assistant dean since 2008. We work extremely well together, to the point that there is a lot of nonverbal communication. We tend to complete each other's sentences and thoughts. The only other person I can do that with is my husband.
Anyway, we've been talking for a while now about leaving. We're both interested in moving down south, for a lot of reasons. We'd put a sort of deadline on our decision to leave as the end of this term. We didn't want to just walk out before we had something solid because there would be no benefit involved in that. Basically we would have no salary or health insurance until we started new jobs. But the environment we'd been working in had grown extremely toxic. People were being laid off and with fewer and fewer people there, more and more work was being piled on those of us who were left, as is always the way.
It had literally gotten to the point where people were saying, and meaning, “Just lay me off already so I can sit back and collect unemployment for a while.” Kevin and myself included.
(For those of you not in the US, you can only collect unemployment insurance, usually 2/3 of your salary, if you are laid off. If you are fired or quit a job, you forfeit the insurance.)
We wanted to walk out together. I certainly didn't want to have to be there after he left. So, Tuesday afternoon he got called to the VP's office. When he came back he told us he'd been laid off. After I said, “You're joking,” like five times and realized he wasn't, I started freaking out a bit. About five minutes later I got a call to come to a meeting in the same VP's office. I figured it was one of two things. I was either going to be given new duties to compensate for him being gone or, they were going to lay me off too.
The whole walk over there and while I was waiting I was thinking, “Laid off... new duties... laid off... new duties.” Laid off was definitely winning in my mind. As it turned out, laid off won in real life too.
We were both given very nice severance packages. I get 3 months salary and my full health benefits through April 30. He got 6 months and the same health benefits. This turns out to be the best of all possible outcomes because we were planning on being gone around that time anyway and now we still get paid, still have our health insurance, and we don't have to go to work.
We've decided to just take the next two weeks off to relax and have fun then we'll get together the first week in February to start planning our next job. In the meantime we can both do consulting work freelance.
I will admit to walking out of the VP's office smiling. I was thinking to myself, “Should I be this happy about the situation?”
Ultimately my answer is yes. It was long past time to leave. As most of you who follow this blog know, my plan was originally to be gone by this time last year but things got in the way of that.
I wanted to feel guilty about being so happy yesterday as everyone around us was totally freaking out. But every time someone said, “OMG but what do we do about...” I just replied with, “Sorry, not my problem anymore.”
So excuse me for a bit while go and enjoy having nothing particular to do for the first time in, well, ever...