Independence Day

Independence

By Jerry Lambert

No, I am not referring to hot dogs and fireworks, or an alien invasion movie. A couple of days ago, I saw those two words posted on my calendar and the meaning hit me right between the eyes. On February 24th, 2014, I was let go from my previous job with a Detroit law firm. Just the year before, I had celebrated twenty-five years with the company. Unfortunately, on that dreadful day, I joined eighteen other unsuspecting victims who were also given the ax. I have that date highlighted in my calendar as a yearly reminder of where I was then, and how far I have come since. Has it really been five years? Amazing.

Let me be clear. I don’t miss my old job one bit. After twenty-three years of managing Data Backup and Recovery, I was unceremoniously tossed onto the Help Desk. A victim of a political power play. Since a first-grader had a better command of Microsoft Office than I did, the transition was brutal. I hated every minute of it, and when I was fired it was almost a relief. I do miss the folks I used to work with though. My fellow Help Desk co-sufferers, Steve, Dawn, and Jeanne. Plus, my old boss Denise, who would listen patiently as I poured out my frustrations with repagination and other document surgery. As well as most of the staff members, who were so patient with me as I tried to puzzle out their computer problems.

The other day, my old work buddy Larry sent me a picture of some guy who was chatting with him at his desk. Since it was a side shot, I had no idea who it was. Turns out it was me! Many years ago and fifty pounds heavier. This startled me a bit. How is it that I didn’t even recognize myself in that photo? That’s easy. I’m not the same person I used to be. The past five years have done a number on me, in a good way. Where before I had avoided trying new things and taking chances, they are now part of my everyday life. From time to time, I still meet Steve for lunch. We reminisce about the old days and he fills me in on the latest office gossip. As I drive home after lunch, I thank God that I am no longer working in that toxic, stress-filled environment. I look forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.

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