Former Coworkers

You leave your office job to begin freelancing and learn that shortly after your leaving, the company went through a round of layoffs. And then another. Soon, the connection requests start coming through LinkedIn from the randoms you worked alongside but hardly ever with. Some include messages in their invites, most don’t.

But when you get a request from the 300 pound proselytizing lady, your hand stops clicking the accept button and you stop to consider the situation.

You don’t know if you want her in your network. You didn’t like how she tried to make her cube look like a living room, with the ceramic figurines and framed sears portrait family photos of her adult children, their drooling babies in red and green Xmas jumpers posed next to wagons. Family portraits with her standing behind everyone, just her head peeping over the other shoulders, or her hugging her adult son from behind to hide her plus sized body. Her obsession with comfort made you shiver. The multi-directionally tilting foot rest, the various back rests and ergonomic keyboards and jointed wrist holders. No wonder she was always snacking to stay alert, she was practically in bed. You felt like telling her to ditch all the ergonomic shit and get a balance ball to sit on, maybe even a tall desk to stand at. What she didn’t need was any more relaxing. And while you didn’t, you will be damned if her request gets accepted within a reasonable time frame. Better to make her wait a week. At least check out her resume first.

You observe her spotty work history and patchy education and try to piece together what she was doing while she wasn’t working. And then, there it is – the church work. Of course, this is entered and edited to read as though it were a paid gig. She has Project Manager and Social Media entered, presumably to cover those times when she sent out reminder emails to gather volunteers for the monthly Sunday ice cream social.

You wonder if all the others are padding their resumes with fake gigs and what they are claiming to be doing. You check their profiles and are incensed at some of the fabrications being made. Independent consultants. Entrepreneurs. Yeah right. You are the one who stepped off that boat into freelancing and consulting. They are merely looking for another job while collecting unemployment. A couple of them admit to being jobless and lost by posting their status as “exploring opportunities”, but they are the minority.

You decide to quit wasting your time and just accept them all. Who knows, maybe one or two of them might need a contractor when they get a new job.

You decide that next time, you will take full advantage of all of the potential health programs your next job offers. Crisis counseling, group therapy, bereavement leave and discounted lawyers fees. AA and performance improvement. Health sabbaticals and questionable religious holidays like Hoshana Rabbah, or Eid Al-Fitr. You will take them all.

But for now, all you can do is sign up for unemployment and try to figure out what to do next.

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