Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Year of At-Home Dadness

A former colleague dropped me a line to say she had a change in daytime contact information. Since we both worked in corporate communications (motto: "Using words, charts and video to tell you nothing!"), I knew this was code.

She'd been downsized, right-sized, RIF-ed, sacked, separated and sent packing.

She was one of many friends, neighbors, former co-workers and random strangers I've meet in the past few months who had also been shown the door at their places of work. Every time I hear of this, I have one and one thought only:

"You slackers! I got the heave-ho in October. Of 2007!"

Me -- a trendsetter, a pioneer. This must be how James T. Kirk felt every day at the helm of his star ship, but without the velour pants and vinyl captain's chair causing stickiness in the nether regions.

With this reminder of the recent passing of my first can-iversary (pink paper, naturally), I realized I was due for a performance review. Twelve months of emancipation from corporate dronery and, subsequently, as head of Uncool Enterprises Unincorporated deserved some serious evaluation. I sought guidance from our in-house executive HR goddess -- My Love.

"Sorry, I'm slammed," she said. "I've got 16 deadlines and three bosses breathing down my neck. Meanwhile, I've got to make PowerPoint deck salad for the Region Seven Niblick Overlay assembly and dial in to a conference call with Burpakistanbul in five minutes."

Still, it was one of the best meetings I've ever had with HR.

When I was told to meet with the HR rep at my last company for details on my separation package, she offered such insights as "I don't have any of your papers in front of me," "I'm not sure" and "I don't know how we handle that."

She ended up quitting a week before my effective termination date. I swear, I am innocent.

With no assistance from My Love, I went looking for some bottom-up feedback from the Things.

"Children, how's Daddy doing? Am I exceeding the expectations I've set for you as main proprietor of all-things parenting?"

"You're still a dork," Thing 1 said.

"I'll look into that. Thing 2, do you concur with your sister's evaluation of my performance as Dad-in-chief?"

"Can you buy me some more Pokémon cards?" he said.

"I'll have to see if you are within your budgetary allowances for this quarter. Do have the proper paperwork in triplicate with the pre-approval stamp and signature of the chief financial officer?"

"I have black stuff in my bellybutton."

Next, I tried my closest work associate, Murphy the Rabbit Killer. Unfortunately, he couldn't offer an opinion. He was in a meeting of the nasty bits with the fetid-smelling golden retriever next door.

Looks like, as usual, I'll have to fend for myself. Rather than dwell on the past, I'll move right into the goal-setting portion of my review:

Take more naps. I'm not much for siestas, but medical evidence of their benefits continues to grow. Who am I to argue with science?

Wear pajamas all day. If I'm going to be stereotyped as a work-at-home parent, why not go full throttle? This, of course, will require me to buy some pajamas. Bright side, walking the kids to school will be less breezy.

Play more golf. I remember one division president at my last company telling an audience of employees about his meeting with the executive management consultant the CEO hired to evaluate his top people. The consultant told the DP he spent too much time in the office and on job sites. Instead, he recommended the DP get out and play more golf during business hours. Which reminds me …

Expand consulting services. Time management skills, perhaps?

Practice my bass. It looks really cool on the stand in my office, but what if I finally have a potential business client over and he demands I nail The Who's "The Real Me" or else the deal is off? I heard that's how the Microsoft-Yahoo deal collapsed. Frickin' Bill fumble-fingers Gates.

Get blog readers to vote for me at Why? Because I expose you to rockin' song parodies like this one:

Video: "Stay-at-Home Dad," Jon Lajoie


  1. I once was let go of a job and then two weeks later -- after much prelimnary thought (their words not mine) -- I was brought back.

    Who goes back to their Ex?

    Me, unfortuantely.

  2. Your conversation with your kids reminds me of my favorite Homer Simpson moment...

    Bart: "Dad, I'm tired of your half-assed attempt to be a good father."

    Homer: "I was using my whole ass."

    Sorry for the can - but their loss is our gain.

  3. That's not a song parody.

    That's just gospel.

  4. Maybe this is behind the times, but smiley face fries look like the best things ever.


  5. Happy Lay-off Anniversary. I like your goal setting. Especially the wearing pj's all day. I might try that one myself.

  6. Backpack - Amen, brother.

    Chris - They also make them in smiley star and moon shapes. Can smiley genitalia fries be far behind?

  7. I wanna be a stay at home dad. Well, mom, in my case. But my son is 21 and away at college, and no way will there ever be more spawns of Satan in this house, but I do have a dog, and I do need a paycheck. I'm not asking too much, right?

  8. I was a stay at home mom for 18 months and nearly lost my mind. Then again, at the time, I didn't have a computer or cable......

  9. Those kids. They're always such critics.

  10. In my past life at a large insurance company, they used to call it "QFR" - quick, fast, and right. We called it quit, fired, or retire.

    Congrats on a successful first year of can-didness (see what I did there?) and hope your 2nd year provides more of the same.

  11. I fell for 3 tweet leading to this link; figured I'd comment this time.

    I think you're doing great and that it's time for a raise, meaning, you're allowed 2 cocktails at lunch now instead of just 1.

  12. i wish they made Juicy sweatsuits for dads like you. then you could be in your PJs but NO ONE WOULD KNOW.

  13. What?? No velour pants? That is just doing things half assed!

  14. That song is just fantastic!

    I would have joined you as a pioneer, but I got out before they got me. This probably strikes most sensible people as very stupid, but I just couldn't endure the uncertainty as to how many more months of deliberate soul-crushing and abuse they were going to heap on me before wiping out our whole department.

    Turns out the answer was two more months.

    And Kevin, as for your comment above, I believe it was already accomplished by the original french fry itself.

  15. My hubs has been laid off for 2 months. I wish he would make better use of his time- like YOU have. damn him.

  16. Let me know if you find a good purveyor of pajamas. I could use a pair myself.

  17. naps are great, un-kay? thats why most dogs dont have jobs is 'cause it would interfere with serious napping.

  18. When I was let go from my high paying non-profit communications job, I made sure to take things with me that weren't technically mine. Six years later, those things remain in the box I brought them home with, cluttering up my world, totally unused, and absolutely useless now. I sure showed them, dang it!

    Also, I need a raise.

  19. I've not ever been fired, but I am currently and 'underemployed' social worker, as we decided I'd get to 'have a break' and stay home full-time since I put my husband through medical school and now it's residency time...fool me twice, right?

  20. I am only working on my third month for reasons of recovery and I am not doing as well as you. But of course no kids to add to the fun for me, just, just pain! yuck!. I'll be back at work soon enough to try to cause havoc in the city I love ( to hate!).

  21. Good to meet you last night! Your blog is hilarious....


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