I guess I can say I saw it coming. I mean, there were a fair amount of red flags. The CIO got fired, my project manager was released, no new projects to work on, a decree to halt the production of current assignments, and my supervisor being scolded for essentially no reason. All signs that my time at First Legal Network was going to be cut abruptly short. This all slowly happened over the course of two months, so it’s not like it all clicked right away.
It was a Monday morning and I had been doing my usual routine of pretty much nothing. It had been a comfortable two months as nothing was really going on and my workload comprised of small bug fixes and cosmetic tweaks to my only project. The HR rep came into our side of the office and had a quick private conversation with the IT Director (not my supervisor, just the most senior guy in the room that morning). After, the HR rep came up to me asked me to follow her to the CEO’s office.
“Am I in trouble?” I asked while walking out of the room.
“No, you’re not.” she said assuredly while chuckling.
I was able to relax myself as I sat down in front of the CEO’s desk. I thought to myself, “if I’m not in trouble, then I’m probably fine, it’s probably project related”. And that’s when he initiated the hard conversation of laying me off. At that moment, my heart sank. He went on to say that they were cutting the entire development department (all programmers). The company needed to figure things out and restructure a bit first, rather than just pay programmers like me to sit around and do nothing all day. They were nice about it and it all made sense. They even gave me severance and promises of glowing recommendations; it just wasn’t something I was ready to hear on a Monday morning. I felt bad for the other programmer who was still on vacation, and had to come back to a conversation like this.
Funny fact, my initial sadness came from the fact that I had packages coming in that week and I wasn’t sure how I would retrieve them. Luckily they came in later that day.
I still finished out the working day. I asked the accountants for final revisions to their program before I packed my things and said my goodbyes. After I turned in my keys and parking badge, it was an eerily quiet drive home.
I got laid off. I’m unemployed again. Great.. Even though it’s not like I got fired for being an incompetent worker, it was still tilting.
What’s tilting? I did a quick Google search to help me define being “tilted” or “on tilt”:
The origin of the term comes from pinball machines where players would try to cheat the system by tilting the machine to move the ball around in their favor. In time, pinball machines were designed with a way to detect people tilting the machine and so the machine would shut down if they tried to cheat. Such is the case if you bumped the machine too much in Space Cadet Pinball from Windows XP.
“On tilt” then became a poker term used to describe someone who is letting their luck affect the way they play. For example, if someone has lost a bunch of hands in a row he or she might start playing recklessly to try to make up for it. This playing out-of-line is called playing “on tilt”.
Tilt is a poker term for a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive in their play. The term is also commonly associated with multiplayer video games and the players that play them.
If you didn’t know, It’s not like I announced it or anything. Because it would probably have went something like this:
As for my journey of unemployment? More on that next time.