Today couldn't have started out any worse. Hmm. It's 1:11 a.m., so I guess I'm talking about yesterday now.
Around 10 a.m., Human Resources sends me an e-mail, which merely asks, "Are you here?" Scary. Given my recent experiences at work, I was a bit frightened. With some trepidation, I responded, "Yes." The next thing I know, my phone is ringing. It's [surprise] Human Resources. I pick up.
HR: Do you have time to come talk to me right now?
Me: Actually, I'm swamped. Is this something that can be taken care of over the phone?
HR: I suppose so, although it would be better done in person.
[At this point, I'm shaking.]
Me: Well, can we talk later?
HR: We should talk now. Since you're so busy, let's do it over the phone.
[At this point, I'm REALLY shaking now.]
Me: Ok. Let me close my door.
Me: My door is closed. What's up?
HR: I wanted to let you know that we're letting your assistant go at noon today.
[I am secretly relieved that I am not getting fired.]
[Then it hits me. My secretary is losing her job in two hours.]
HR: I'm sorry.
Me: But my assistant is so great! She is so much better than so many other secretaries here! Is there anything we can do at all? This is unfair! You can't let go of someone who is so competent!
HR: I'm sorry, but the decision has been made.
Me: [more ranting]
[By this point, I'm in tears. Good thing I shut my door.]
[I blubber some more, probably fairly unintelligibly with frequent sniffling and choked breaths.]
HR: I'm really sorry. Please don't tell her. I need to be the one who tells her.
Me: What? So you mean I just have to sit here the next two hours knowing this and stay quiet?
I do my best to compose myself and try to continue with my mountain of work. Sadly, work doesn't stop, even when your secretary is about to get canned. But I can't do it. I have to do something. I have to at least try.
Knowing that I'm totally powerless, I call two allies of mine, Ironman and Pescado, who have slightly more clout, although not that much more. Ironman is a young partner. Pescado is senior counsel. They are almost as upset as I am with the news. Ironman marches upstairs to talk to HR. Pescado, who is actually out of the office for a hearing, calls HR during a break. Both come back to me with more information, but the situation remains the same. T-minus one hour now. My secretary is about to lose her job.
Ever since my buddy B-Dawg left (which made me cry, too -- apparently, I'm an extraordinarily emotional person), life at the firm has taken quite the downward spiral. B-Dawg also shared the same secretary, so I call him to let him know the sad news, as well. He is livid. There's nothing any of us can do, though. With B-Dawg's and Shittler's departure (yes, "Shittler" -- if you met this asshole, you'd agree that the moniker is befitting), my secretary was left with just me.
And it just isn't good economics to have a secretary aligned with only one attorney. That's what the firm tells me.
HR calls my secretary at around 11:30. My secretary disappears up the elevator. About 15 minutes later, she comes back. Unlike me, she is tear-free and perfectly composed. I'm a mess, but she gives me a hug and reassures me that she's fine. She has five weeks' severance, which should afford her sufficient cushion to find a new job. I fret, knowing that my secretary is a single mother of two children. Then she tells me that she needs to run.
I say, "But what about all of your stuff?"
She replies, "Oh, I'm coming back for that. I don't want to be late. I'm going to an interview!"
Then we laugh. She proves that, once again, she's a tough cookie with a good head on her shoulders, and she'll come out on top.
I guess this didn't end nearly as badly as it could have. You're probably wondering why I chose to call this post "Slaughterhouse." My secretary wasn't the only one who got laid off today. Mansmell's secretary got the boot, too. Now that he's leaving, she, too, only has one attorney left.