For a couple of hours yesterday I enjoyed having consonance between my inner and outer working lives. That is, what I perceived to be happening externally was also happening internally. This was a nice change from the usual feeling of not quite having things line up. Externally I just had my annual review at work, I got a decent raise and some new responsibilities. Internally I had a great dream recently that elegently showed how well my internal work life was going. And although I knew the feeling wouldn't last, I didn't know it would be quite so brief.
One of my co-workers was fired yesterday. Weirdly, some other co-workers had just been joking about the boss "needing to have a word with (insert name) in my office", and similar scenarios. So when my (now former) co-worker said they'd just been fired I immediately asked them why everyone was making jokes about getting canned. But they insisted this really had just happened, then said, well, I think so anyway. When I asked them what that meant they said they'd been given a severance check. That seemed pretty concrete, and I finally believed what they said. All I could say was "That really sucks. Good-bye.", as they walked out the door. Entirely inadequate for the occasion and hopefully forgivable under the circumstances, as I was totally shocked.
It sounds like, from the little information I have from the former co-worker, that the decision to let them go came out of nowhere. That's hard to understand, as it's very rare for people to get fired where I work (I think in it's ten year history maybe one or two people...but I'm not sure about this). So if it's really rare for someone to get fired it must mean people are given a lot of chances to change so they can remain employed, if that's what they want. So how did the former co-worker not know this was coming, or have some idea they were under probation, or something? I'm really confused, because the general information the employer gave about the decision could be applied to a couple of people who are definitely still employed. So something else was part of the mix, something specific about which I will never know, but also about which I am very curious.
In the meantime my former co-worker is also very confused and having a hard time, as is their family, which felt very connected to the place we worked together.
I'm all a-jumble about it. One of my (still current) co-workers and I re-visited job-leave takings yesterday. I realized while we were talking that I wasn't the only person who was feeling anxious and fearful as a result of this event, which helped somewhat. But the overall feeling I'm left with is something is not right. I don't want to cross the line into knowing details I shouldn't, but I wish there was some way to know things and then put the knowledge back where one found it, as if the information had never been accessed. Since that's not possible I'll just have to sit with being uncomfortable with not knowing and never knowing what really happened.
I really want to respect my employers and their priorities. This firing makes it harder, not because of why they said they did it, but because it doesn't line up with my experience with this former co-worker. But I don't know everything and I never will, and I'm just going to have to live with that.