So… this just happened.
I was sitting at a computer in the nursing station of the aged care facility where I work, when I received an email from my supervisor. I read through the contents quickly, making a mental note of everything that needed doing when the last line caught my attention…
‘Would you be available to chat today? I’ll be in at 3.30pm.’
My immediate thought was: Oh dear, I wonder what she wants to talk about. The second was: So polite…as if I could say no to my boss!
Throughout the day leading up to 3.30, I was slightly freaking out, trying not to think of all the scenarios that could happen post -meeting. My colleague, G, tried to calm me down. The 53 year old Singaporean father was kind and patient. Him being a fresh uni graduate, I thought it must be doubly hard for him to balance seniority with having to listen to a squealing 20 something who was also the more experienced therapist. I was grateful though.
Time crept on like a stalking predator. At 2.30pm, my supervisor strolled in (she always speed walks) and said she’d like to talk to my colleague first. Without a word, G stood up and walked away with her to the hidden garden cafe where the residents liked to have their coffee. 10 minutes later, they returned, speaking in solemn whispers.
My heart began to crawl up my chest when it was my turn. She seemed quite casual and I forced myself to relax. As we walked out back and sat at a round table amidst the trees, she said that she had just given G a warning about his performance from the previous week, thus the solemnity. I silently recalled the poorly written progress note that he had typed in a hurry (which caused some nursing staff to complain) and nodded.
We tried to make some small talk but I wasn’t really feeling it. The statement came rather suddenly..
‘So your six month probation is coming up.’
I nodded and started feeling hopeful. The past few weeks have been good and the workload had seemed manageable. I was well liked by the staff and could joke with each of them as we cared for the residents. Even the facility management team liked me. We were at odds before but they gradually warmed up and now we could work together just fine…
She was lingering and I half leaned in to hear the next thing she was going to say. Nervously I started laughing and tried to lighten the mood by voicing the worse possible scenario.
“So erm…am I fired?” I giggled.
‘Well, the company has decided not to continue your contract…’
There wasn’t the comical pause you may expect in movies. WHAT? I sat stunned, the grin still half plastered to my face. She quickly explained to my shot mind that my prioritisation of tasks and ability to complete assessments on time were not yet up to scratch. She acknowledged that I have been improving a lot but the next month would bring an increase in workload and she needed team members who she knew could handle the burden.
My brain took over as my heart tried to process what was happening. I said I understood what she meant and that business was business. I could see where she was coming from… that my personality sometimes meant I would do things for people that was not part of my jurisdiction which led to delays in the actual work I was meant to do. As we stood up to leave, she commented I was taking this a lot better than she expected.
When I told my colleagues, they were all shocked. They weren’t expecting it at all. G began to sweat as he thought about his warning and wondered if he could be next. Even the facility management were surprised that our company decided to sack me. Many encouraged me saying that this was a new beginning and that I was still young… ‘something good could still come along’. I agreed, but I think that was more from shock…over the course of 24 hours I had gone from feeling confident about my work performance to dreaded Unemployment…
That all happened a week ago and a tumultuous change of emotion followed… as my heart caught up, I went from hopeful to downtrodden, then from despair to feeling ambitious…
To this day, I still don’t know what to do. There aren’t any jobs in my local area at the moment but…in the spirit of Easter perhaps I should look at this as a ‘new beginning?’. I’d rather take the first step into this new world with vigor and enthusiasm. This could be history in the making?