Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The Worst Part of Paranoia

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The worst part of paranoia is when you’re right.

Five months ago, I was laid off at my work… No, I have to start this story earlier. Five months and three weeks ago, I found out that my grandpa has prostate cancer. For about 32 hours, I considered moving to Billings, Montana. I was going to ask for a transfer from my employer and move up there to help my grandpa. That idea ended abruptly with my realization that living in Billings would NOT be good for me. After summers of starvation up there, returning would be a BIG issue for me. Not to mention the fact that my grandpa does not want me to move up there to help him. He doesn’t want any help, which is really hard for me, but that’s another story. We’re talking about my paranoia.

I let it slip to my immediate supervisor my problems and my hopes to move up there to help. A couple of days later, the Vice President asked how were things with my grandfather and would I need to be moving up there? I told him that I couldn’t I wouldn’t be able to live in that city and my grandpa didn’t even want me to come. That conversation felt like a test. I didn’t know what I was being tested for and I had no idea if I had passed.

Over the next couple of weeks, people stopped looking me in the eye. I could tell you the order in which they stopped looking me in the eye if it meant anything to you, but the important thing is that I noticed that certain people had stopped seeing me. I’m pretty sensitive to these kinds of things, so this was my first indication that something was going on. Maybe I failed that test, whatever it was.

I knew for a fact that I was going to lose my job on my birthday. One person acknowledged my birthday, my immediate supervisor, who sat across from me and had to stare at me every day. She gave me bath items in a ripped gift bag. I tried to thank her politely and hid it under my desk. “I’m just paranoid,” I kept telling myself.

Two days after my birthday, they called me into the Vice President’s office. “Should I bring a pad to take notes?” They shook their heads. “Maybe they are just bothered by me and want me to do some things differently,” I told myself. Nope, they were laying me off. They gave me a generous severance and a glowing letter of recommendation. Even though I knew I wasn’t needed, it felt like a kick in the gut. Even though I knew it was coming, it felt like a surprise. I spent the next week looking for a job and found another that quickly. I struggled to learn a new job with a huge bruise on my abdomen from my previous employer.

It was Mike who noticed it. In a fit of paranoia, he checked the computer logs. Approximately two weeks before my lay-off, my employer had started hitting my weblog heavily. At first I thought he was just over-reacting. I thought that maybe the hits had come from me, not someone else, but I was wrong. The Billings office had looked at it. The Salt Lake office was still looking at it, even after they laid me off.

At first, I didn’t think it was significant. I had told my immediate supervisor about my weblog. She knew that I wrote in it every day. After Mike gave me a close look at the logs, I realized that this type of activity wasn’t normal. The entries that they looked at over and over were the ones where I talked about work. I had been very open with them about my lack of work and I had been very open on my weblog about it. Nothing that I said should have been a surprise. To any observer in that office, not one word should have been a surprise.

I immediately made those weblog entries private. If you were one of those people who have been reading since the beginning, then you’re lucky because they aren’t coming back. The amount of times that they hit those entries was excessive. I mostly pulled them to get them to stop obsessing over it. Last time I had Mike check the logs, they still come here every couple of days.

This is what I think happened.

I told my immediate supervisor about my grandpa and my desire to move up to Billings. She told the Vice President, raving about me and reminding him about my weblog that I write for every day. The Vice President told the President in Billings, directing him there, raving about me and asking if there was a place for me up there, because they really didn’t need me down in SLC.

The President enjoyed my weblog enough and was willing to move me up to Billings, since obviously I wasn’t needed in the SLC office. Unfortunately, my grandpa had told me to leave him alone and I was glad not to be exiled in Montana. When the Vice President asked me if I wanted to move up to Billings, it WAS a test. He couldn’t say it to my face, but what he was trying to say was, “I just told them we don’t need you down here. Please tell me you’re going up there.” When I said that I wouldn’t be able to move up there, my pink slip was signed.

Once the President read even more of my weblog, I’m sure he became absolutely certain that the SLC office didn’t need two secretaries. I think that somehow the President didn’t realize that until he actually read it in black and white on the computer screen. After reading what I had written, he insisted that they cut down to one secretary and I was laid off.

After that decision was made, my immediate supervisor quietly gossiped to everyone in the office about it except me. Had she given me a heads up, I could have had a job lined up before the President had made the cut. Instead, I just sat there, paranoid because yet another name on the list wouldn’t look me in the eye. I think she didn’t give me a heads up because she blamed herself. It was she that talked me up and told them all about my weblog.

Well, guess what? It wasn’t her fault. It was my fault. I was the one who wrote those blog entries, not her. I was the one who couldn’t bear to live in Billings. I was the one who blabbed about my grandpa and the idea of moving in the first place. I don’t blame her or anyone else about it and quite frankly, I’m just fine. The bare-faced truth of the matter is, they didn’t need two secretaries. I had been waiting for the short, sharp shock for a year, and now I have a new job that keeps me busy. I was able to find it so quickly that there were no financial repercussions to the incident.

I know you’re still reading this, so I just wanted you to know that it’s all good.



  1. Boy they are going to feel sheepish now. I am glad things worked out for the best.

    Comment by Ghentry Pace — 9/17/2005 @ 8:28 am

  2. Well goes to show you people are people and a dog would have done it differently..

    Comment by Darren Reid — 9/18/2005 @ 3:28 am

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