At 10:12 on the morning of April 2, 2013, life was pretty much as it had been at 10:11. Deadlines were being met and missed, emails and phone calls were happening, the busyness of my busy life was whooshing along. I knew what I was doing in that minute, and for most of the minutes for most of the rest of the day. I was rescheduling meetings for the end of the week, and planning other events weeks in the future.
At 10:13, my boss came into my office. "Can I have a minute?" He led me toward the boardroom where the head of human resources sat and waited.
It took just another two or three minutes for my life to change. And, with a buzzing in my head and a manilla envelope in my hand, I began saying goodbyes to the people I'd worked with, some of them for more than a dozen years.
12.4 years, to be precise, and the accountants and human resources are nothing if not precise. I have this many weeks of pay, this much of a lump sum payment, this many days to sign the release form. No reason was given for changing my life, just "it's a restructuring. A business decision." I know there were numbers at work there, too -- somebody in an office in another city looked at the number of people employed in our office and the amount of money being made, and made a business decision.
By 11 o'clock or so, I was at home, wondering what to do next. I called my wife -- not to worry, I said, the pay will keep coming in. We're financially OK.
It's 12:32. I'm still being paid. But I'm no longer sure what I'm supposed to do. For 12.4 years, I've been the editor at this office. For more than 20, I've been in the newspaper and magazine industry. In eight days I turn 47.
Life has just been rethought for me.