They lied to me.
My job didn't get eliminated, I merely got demoted and transferred to another department and one of my clerks was given my job. The Help Desk has been extended.
I found this out via the grapevine, so I asked a a trusted co-worker if he knew anything as to why such a change would be made. He mentioned a particular document that I had badly mishandled a couple of days ago. He had been told by our mutual boss that I got shit-canned for botching that document.
Damn. It wasn't that big a deal, I found the mistake and fixed it myself before it left the office, so why would I get demoted for that? Then it dawned on me that the document mishap occurred the day after I was demoted- it was part of the transfer process- so that couldn't be the cause. So why the demotion? My work was good- it's well-documented, fer chrissakes, but there's a rumor going around that I got dumped for a fuck-up that happened after I got dumped. The chronology was left out of the scuttlebutt and I'm looking like a total chump as a result.
Today I was given the task of sitting at a empty table and doing nothing. For awhile, I helped another clerk stuff envelopes, but our boss came over and made him sit at a different table, leaving me to sit and wait for Godot.
I used to be deeply involved with the office flow and, until recently, I have always had something to do...but now, I have basically been told to go sit in the corner until told otherwise. I can't read a book or do puzzles, just sit. It's pure, unadulterated hell. I cannot stand enforced nothingness.
I endured this until 1:15, by which time I could feel the rather high ceiling closing in on me, and I wondered what it would be like to have a full-out panic attack at work, a panic episode that occurred while consumed with rage, depression, betrayal and self-doubt.
I'm pretty sure that if I had the sort of meltdown described above in a Federal office, the consequences would be intrusive, severe and long-lasting, so I asked permission to leave work early.
It was granted. It's going to hurt my paycheck, but I can't put a price on self-preservation.
I went home, changed clothes and walked around the neighborhood, trying to decide if I should go back to the office tomorrow or not.