I dreamed last night I was fired from my job.
It's one of those dreams that makes total sense while you're in it, but when you wake up and go over the details, the absurdity of the dream becomes apparent. (Although the underlying theme is really not so absurd, on a very basic level.)
The dream started when I received a note from the manager of my group — not my direct manager but his boss. It was in a very business-y tone and said something about going over resources for the upcoming year. In other words, he wanted to talk to me about getting fired of laid off.
I was in my Hunter College dorm room in New York City from 1993 — the school of nursing has a dormitory — when I got the note, and I was sneaking out of some neighbor's room in just my underwear. So I had to go back to my room and get dressed. (No, I don't know why I was sneaking out of someone else's room, and I'm pretty certain it wasn't a guy's room. No, I can't explain that one either.)
I got dressed and went down to the first floor of the dorm, which had turned into Sinclair Library on the University of Hawai`i at Manoa campus. Or something looking like Sinclair Library. In the dream, it wasn't Sinclair Library at all but my office. I was wandering some of the back offices, looking for my boss' boss, and I ran into one of the managers from another group. I jokingly asked how she felt about my getting fired, not really knowing whether that was the case. She looked pretty upset when I mentioned it, which meant she knew before I officially knew.
I eventually found my boss' boss out on a terrace, and we sat down at a table with one of those outdoor umbrellas. I asked him point blank whether I was going to get fired today. He said no — I was being laid off on Monday. I had a bit of hope when I heard the answer "no" but felt only slightly crushed to hear I was being fired anyway.
He asked me what projects I had going on, and I mentioned some of the applications I was moving over to Code Igniter. I asked him what would be the reason I was being let go, and he rattled off a laundry list of issues. In summary, I got too cocky thinking I would be secure in my position, which has no oversight and no accountability. I also let my ego get the better of me, thinking my skills were too invaluable to be expendable to the group.
I realized it was only Thursday, and I had all day Friday to get my things together. I decided just to go home — to my parents' house in Honolulu, not my apartment in Austin. It's dream time — the fact my company is located in Austin has no bearing on the fact that in the dream, it looks like Sinclair Library, is located minutes away from my parents home in Honolulu and is on the first floor of a college dormitory in New York City.
I got home, expecting that my lay-off would be inevitable given the state of the economy, and I tried to square it all away in mind. I lost a job that I had been feeling somewhat ambivalent about for a while, so aside from having to face the unemployment office again, was it really that bad? In fact, I kind of looked forward to the job search. The last time I was out of work, web development gigs dried up because the bubble in tech burst. In this recession, I still get an occassional spam from a third-party recruiter pitching my jobs with acronyms totally not listed in my résumé.
I was thinking all of that as I walked up to the garage of my parents' home. Both of them were home, and I broke the news to them.
Then I woke up.
The reality of the dream melted away to the reality of, well, reality, and I remembered my last positive review, the work I'm doing on the web-based interface, the code I'm porting to CodeIgniter. I have a pretty good reputation at work, and I can debug problems with scripts that other people in my department can't. No, I'm fairly confident my job is secure.
But after that dream, who really knows?