“We are letting you go,” the manager utters.
Letting me go? You thought. It appears like they were dropping you in a meadow, complete with a farm house and horses. It seemed like he was emancipating you from cotton fields, scorching sun and undeserved whips. ‘Letting you go’ sounds like what Pharaoh told the Israelites after years of enslavement. Letting you go sounds like what a cougar would tell her younger lover when she’s sending him to the dumps (presumably). The true sense of the word reeks adversity, the corporate jargon does it no justice, it garnishes it – gives it juice and enough bossom hugs. You are spaced out. Everything goes hollow for a moment, your mind dissociates from the physical and wanders. The overall manager goes on reading the missive, their voices nothing but indistinct blabber. Your world is about to implode, that’s if it already hasn’t. You think about your expectant wife. The loan that needs servicing. Spiralling bills. A barrage of worries creep, all begging for attention. It was lucid, the impending tangent of murkiness your life was about to take.
June’s eyes met yours, she averted and gazed down, disheartened. You maintained the gaze with a look that seemed to say ‘but you promised’. The third wave of phased retrenchment has hit, with you in its course. This is after committing blood and sweat to the organization for 10 years, this is your compensation, by pulling the rug from under your feet. This isn’t how you pictured leaving employment, what you had envisioned was rosier; an amicable exit after amassing a substantial retirement package and a quaint house secured somewhere nice and quiet. This is it. You dish out your phone and June, the junior manager, almost intuitively rigorously shakes her head in disapproval. She was the weak link, let the cat out of the bag and made you swear discretion. You kill the distance to the projector and plug the phone in.
A 30 page dossier implicating the organisation’s top brass in a multi-million racketeering syndicate opens. All substantiated by images. They trade glances at each other in utter silence. You could hear heartbeats and a roar from the Mara. The ambience is taut, so choking. Men loosened their ties, women adjusted their straps and loosened their blouses. Push came to shove, if you’re going down – you’re going down together. Or rather this is you letting them go, their call.