“Well what did you expect?” she asked, clearly shaken after he told her the news.
“Not this,” Jim replied. “I busted my ass for that company for nearly a quarter of a century. I honestly didn’t anticipate this.”
He knew the rotten economy had taken its toll on the company’s revenues. He’d even heard rumors about a potential reduction in force. But he didn’t want to believe the scuttlebutt.
In its nearly 80 year history, the company he worked for had never laid anyone off. And he figured that, if there were going to be layoffs, it would be last in the door, first out the door.
“You should have seen this coming,” his wife scolded. “You and your boss didn’t get along. You were really starting to hate your job. You should have anticipated this, Jim. Damn it, you should have known.”
“Well, maybe I should have, but it took me by surprise,” he said, walking toward the kitchen. “What’s for dinner?”
“Seriously? What’s for dinner? You just got fired and all you can ask is what’s for dinner?”
“I lost my job, not my appetite,” he snapped back. His wife started to sob; Jim went over to her and hugged her. “Listen, babe, things will be okay,” he lied. “We’ll get through this. Don’t panic.”
“You should have started looking for a different job before. Now it’s too late.”
“In this economy, nobody’s hiring,” he said defensively. “And especially people my age and at my salary.” Jim had turned 58 a few months back, and due to his tenure with the company, he was one of the more highly compensated employees in his department.
Jim had awful visions in his head of having to take a job as a Walmart greeter or flipping burgers alongside a bunch of pimply-faced teenagers at a local McDonald’s. These thoughts made him cringe.
“So what are we going to do now?” his wife asked. “Alex has two more years of college and Jessica graduates from high school this year and will be starting at State in the fall. We don’t have that much in savings.”
“They gave me a week of severance pay for each year I worked there, so they’ll still be paying me for another six months,” he said, trying his best to ease her anxiety. “I expect I’ll be able to find another job before my severance pay runs out.”
But he didn’t really expect that at all.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “anticipate.”