Unceremonious Endings

Two of my activities today got me thinking about all the times I have lost jobs. Technically I have never been fired – at least in the sense of someone looking me in the eye and saying “You’re fired!” But that is only because two of my former bosses were simply too chicken to do so. One of them took 9/11 as an opportunity to quick give my class to someone else. (I had missed the start of the semester because I was stuck in the States waiting for a chance to fly back to Austria.) That new teacher ended up calling me to tell me the news. Never heard a peep from the boss about it.

About 10 years later I got fired by forwarded email from my boss’s boss instructing me to clear out my office and give back any of the Institute’s stuff I might have. The layoff itself did not come as a surprise to me, but the way it was done was galling. A particularly nice sendoff after 25 years of employment . . .

Today, a new twist on this form of email termination was born. I wrote an email to my boss requesting that the university course I have been teaching be cancelled. In other words, I basically fired myself. This was not the easiest thing to do because I always loved teaching this particular course. Unfortunately the whole program is winding down and the number of students has been dwindling for years. Last year I had to go and proactively look for students – corral a few warm bodies into my classroom to teach. This year I didn’t want to do that anymore.

So I am down to one job now. I would be feeling sorry for myself if not for three of our chickens who have had an even harder day. Remember those four chicks we got for the purpose of keeping our one incubator chick company? Well, all four of them turned out to be roosters. Three of them had to go and today was the day.

We grabbed them, stuffed them in a box, and my husband drove them to the local . . . Chicken Ender. A half hour later, he was back home with a bulging plastic bag.

Tomorrow one of the roosters is going into the oven and then comes the moment of truth. I am not convinced that I will really be able to eat him. My husband is determined to cultivate a realistic attitude about it all. He says if he can’t handle the fact that animals – even those he knew when alive – are killed and eaten, then he should become a vegetarian.

I, on the other hand, am considering turning the meal into a little ceremony. I will take a moment to remember and honor this rooster for his many contributions to our family enterprise. I will thank him for his good work and give him the thoughtful sendoff he so richly deserved.

I’ll try hard not to gag.

 

4 thoughts on “Unceremonious Endings

  1. I had a pet chick when I was about 10. It turned out to be a rooster and it was definitely a pet. Rode around on my shoulder and was always nearby. When I came home from the first day of school in September, I couldn’t find my buddy. My mother served chicken for supper and I refused to eat it. Took me a long time to eat chicken again. I know we have to be logical about these things but 10 is too young to learn that lesson. At least we had the summer!

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  2. I am appalled by your bosses’ actions, seems the least they could do is tell you that you don’t have a job anymore, maybe throw in a “thank you” or a severance package. By the time I left my job, I was so burned out I had a recurrent dream of singing “Take this job and shove it” to my boss as I handed her my resignation. Is that Gustav? I hope you’ll give him a nice send-off, a flattering speech, maybe a touch of rosemary and thyme. 🙂

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  3. I don’t know how I’ve been missing your posts! I was fired once and promptly rehired because his boss made him. Awkward. My husband’s family used to raise cattle and would send them to be butchered and sold. Then they would buy a side of beef from someone else whose cow they hadn’t “known”. Did you gag? I’ll binge read your posts and find out. Suspense is killing me.

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