End of an Era

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go,” Mr. Jevol said. His face was as inscrutable as ever – and it might have been my imagination – but I thought I heard a hint of remorse in his voice. Probably my imagination. For as long as I’d known the man, he’d never emoted anything but dry cheerfulness.

Remorse on his part or not, I was feeling nothing but shock and fear. I mean: what the hell? I had literally, last week, received a star employee award with strong hints of an upcoming promotion. I struggled to react professionally.

“What the hell?” I asked. So much for professional. “I mean… I’m sure you understand that I’m surprised. Can you tell me the reasons?”

“I wish I could say,” Mr. Jevol. “It is out of my hands. Orders from above, you know. Out of my hands.” He shrugged, gesturing up to the ceiling. It was the first time I’d heard him make mention of a higher authority. Jevol always acted like the buck stopped with him in all things. I mean, on some level I knew there had to be someone. An owner, a board of directors, or something like that. He just never talked about them.

Unfortunately, that also meant there was no real reason to argue here. “I… I’m really sorry to hear that, sir. I’ve genuinely enjoyed my recent time here. I had really planned on staying for the foreseeable future. Is there any – any sort of recourse? An appeal I might make?” I was starting to sound whiny, I knew, but at this point I didn’t really care.

Jevol shook his head slowly. “Their word is final, I’m afraid. Someone’s already cleaned out your desk for you. The box should be forwarded to your house.” He stood up, extending his hand. “I wish things were different, you know. When you need a recommendation for your next job, you will receiving nothing but good words.”

I nodded and shook his hand numbly, standing to leave. “I appreciate that, sir. I… I suppose I’ll see you around.” I turned to the door.

“Indeed so, Mr. Philips,” Jevol said. “I imagine you will.”