I’m Like the Luckiest Unluckiest Lucky Person in the World When It Comes to Getting/Losing a Job

The day before I was to leave for vacation, I was informed via an email by my supervisor at my temp position that with the return of the gal who was on maternity leave that they would no longer have enough projects to keep me busy either part- or full-time on a regular basis. He asked that I give him a call (he was on a work-related trip) anyway. So I did, leaving a message on his voice mail that I’d be taking my vacation the next day and thanking him for the opportunity and blah blah blah. Within an hour he had called back and left me a voice mail message that they just might have a project for me to work on once I get back from vacation. A short term one, but hey, a paycheck is a paycheck, right?

In the meantime, throughout the morning we were inundated with news of flood stages of the river near the city being met and exceeded due to heavy rains over the past few days. Heavy rains to the north over the state border from nearly a week before were exacerbating the issue. Major highways in the area were closing. Towns were under water and many homes were being lost to a flood that had started to the north and was traveling south. As the levels rose first inches and then by feet, certain areas of where I live were scrambling. We heard that our sister company across town was shutting down. Employees were told to put everything of value (computers, files, electronics, etc.) on top of their desks and evacuate.

And then one of the engineers from our company was called to assess a problem. The bank that supported the bridge for the only rail in and out of our city was being washed away. And rapidly. In fact, someone was sure that they had seen the bridge move. I happened to be in the front office when that engineer returned from his trip to the bridge. One that he never completed. On his way, he was called by the rail company and told not to continue. The bridge had collapsed taking with it three railway workers who had been on it. One worker self-rescued. A second was assisted. The third? He was recovered a week later, trapped by the bridge’s wreckage under the water. He left behind a wife and two young sons.

When your city, small that it may be, has several industries that depend on the rail system to move product out as well as bring supplies in and then that infrastructure is swiftly and decisively eliminated, there’s a shitstorm. When one rail car now equals four tractor-trailers and one company alone moves 80 rail cars out a day…well, things get a little chaotic.

Within a six hour window, I went from being told they couldn’t keep me busy to “do you HAVE to go on vacation??” So, I continue at my temp position for a little while longer in contrary to what you may have seen on Facebook. And now you know the rest of the story.