My former company -- which, like Lord Voldemort, shall not be named -- tracked me down last week.
Not for a job or anything. Or a muddled apology. Or just a talk about our feelings and where our relationship stands now. Maybe we'd share a six pack. And Dan Fogelberg would write a song about it.
But it turns out it owes me money.
See, at some point after the company laid me off -- in a couple days I went from "valued colleague" to "synergy" -- they sent me a check.
Here's the thing, though: Since I was kicked out of my apartment at the newspaper, I had no permanent address.
This check for $1.900 (no small amount for me) attempted to follow me around on my sojourn, missing me at my first address here in Hayward, Wisconsin. The company that shall not be named hired another company to track me down.
Here's the thing about tracking me down -- it's not really that hard. You can Google "Rich Jackson" or better yet "Editor Rich Jackson." I admit to Googling myself, I hope not out of narcissism.
I have lived pretty publicly for a long time to the point where I don't expect much privacy. I don't even have blinds on my windows at home. (Neighbors have plastered the exterior of the windows with black crepe. I don't know what I've done to offend them.)
For the months after the layoff, I rambled about in cheap hotel rooms and a friend's cabin. The folks at the Postal Office in Bloomington, Indiana, told me I had to have a home address in order to get a P.O. Box. That didn't make sense to me until a friend noted I had sought a P.O. Box at the office next to a homeless encampment.
I appreciate the ethic the company seeks to pay me what I'm owed to the extent they hired another company to track me down.
I assure you, I will sock away the $1,900 for something important -- like when I want to buy a new grill. And some shiny beads and trinkets. And gin.
Thankfully, the company is paying promptly: sometime in January 2023.
To paraphrase the philosopher Carl Spackler, "So I got that going for me."
Peace unto Ukraine and peace as well as delayed pay unto all of you my brothers and sisters.
A Dan Fogelberg take on my situation:
Met my old company in the grocery store
The snow was falling as on cue
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And that's when I was sued.
It didn't recognize the corporate ID at first
But then its eyes opened and flew
It went to hug me and it spilled its purse
And we laughed until it sued.
The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to rue
It gave a subpoena to me as I got out
And I watched as it readied to sue.
"Same old Lang Sign on the dotted line"