Cheque, Please

Break out the Cubans and Veuve Clicquot — the divorce is final. Paul gave me a lift to the office where I used to work so that I could sign my final release/indemnity and stock options forms. In exchange, I got a cheque comprising payment for work-to-date, vacation pay, and severance money and a form that makes me eligible to collect pogey. I no longer have to deal with the administrivals, unless I want a letter of reference. I may request it, if only to make the acting CEO have to take time out of his day to write nice stuff about me. Make sure you use proper punctuation, bee-yatch!

Here’s a tip for any of you who are going to visit a company from which you have been recently fired or laid off: come in all smiles and greet management warmly. I did; not as a ploy, but because I was in a good mood, what with having had a good week and getting lots of rest. The higher up the ladder, the brighter my greeting and the wider my smile, the more they had trouble making eye contact with me.

It was good to see the programmers again. They all had nice things to say. Most of them had gone home early, as the office had been cleared out so that the old desks could be removed and cubicles could be installed in their place. In a moment of high irony, some of the workers who were still at the office had commandeered the boardroom computer and projecter and were watching the Office Space DVD. They threw each other rueful looks of recognition whenever they saw something in the movie that was just like the office, especially when this line came up:

We don’t have a lot of time on this earth; we weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day!

Immediately after that scene, I walked out of the boardroom to collect my cheque and saw the first of the cubicle walls being carted into the office by coverall-clad movers.

One of the programmers told me that M., the last of the original programmers, handed in a letter of resignation earlier this week. The fact that it happened shortly after my firing worried some of the guys. It meant that the last of the old guard programmers who’d built up the company were gone. The new guys– nice folks, great coders — were just a construction crew, far removed from the brainstorming and conceptualizing that we from the earlier generation got to do. The company’s reins had been handed over to a CEO-by-coup and a technocrat with the sense of imagination that God gave asparagus. The Dilbertization was now complete.

I grabbed my cheque and walked out of the building for the last time.

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