DAYS's Louise Sorel Blogs on OusterBy SOD Posted: Jul 27, 2011
In this exclusive blog for Digest, Louise Sorel (Vivian) opens up about leaving Salem again.
I have been terminated. Told I am no longer needed, scram, easily replaced, not necessary. I have not been actually contacted by my employer. So I am speaking for him. This person who is not present and who clearly feels it is not necessary to communicate with me in any shape or form, except of course, by check. Since he owes me for the time he is not using me and contractually he must pay up. I am an actress. This just happens to be my profession and in truth it is like any other job when it comes to the hiring and firing routine.
I have given some thought to this particular experience because so many friends and occasional strangers that I meet are having hard times. They have been shoveled up and out of jobs without compensation. They have lost their health insurance, even their homes and worst of all their dignity.
Losing a job is never easy. There is a mourning period, an angry period, a denial period. Just like Kübler-Ross said there would be. What strikes me as the cruelest cut of all is the lack of class and consideration that should come with this dismissal of a human being.
Where is the person that looks you in the face and says, "I'm so sorry, but we had to make some choices or we had a financial issue or thank you for your work?" Where is the person who called us a family? Where are the caretakers who shepherd you along, employ you in good faith and then cut you free?
That last moment when you speak the last word you will ever utter in a show that last hollow sound of good-bye, even when you are saying something else echoes in your head as you walk the walk and exit the stage.
I'm sure it is no different in any profession.
In my case, I wandered upstairs to the offices of my show, on a Friday and heard the slamming of boxes and saw one of the line producers whirling around in her room tossing belongings and photos and her heart into a box that she was clutching. "I'm fired" she shouted out. I was stunned and tried to help her with her packing and ask what had happened. She said no. she could do it and informed me that there was another firing of a secretary down the hall. I found this girl with a map of tears on her face and looking so profoundly hurt and confused.
I took her hand and said "This is not about you, it's not your fault" and she wept and said that this had never happened to her before and she couldn't understand it.
Well, how could she since she was summarily dismissed and felt like her limbs had been cut off?
Don't they know? They, the inabsentia they?
Somewhere along the way we all hit this wall of loss and emptiness. That is, unless you are one of those blessed trust fund kiddies or choose the comfortable route and attach yourself to a worker bee. Most of us are out there stomping around trying to express ourselves, make a living and feel a little proud.
I exchange revenge fantasies with friends. Don't we all? Then, on reflection, do these so called leaders, employers, insensitive types really deserve all that time and energy? No, not really, but the human condition screams out avenge thyself!
Calm down. Don't let the bed bugs bite!
Concentrate on the present and the future! "Life's too short" "Dust yourself off, and start all over again."
In my particular arena it means calling your agent and inquiring about roles you might be right for. Then again, they may call you and set up an audition or meeting for a project. You always hope it's something of substance and at least interesting. In my case, I have had two calls for work that caused me to want to scream and then lapse into gales of laughter.
The first instance was just after I had been informed that I was no longer needed on my show, I got a call and an email describing a possible job. They were looking for seniors who could improvise for a hidden camera show on the very same network that I was working on. This sounded serendipitous. So off I went in a flurry to downtown Burbank, which leaves one thinking of Tehran as a place to move to. I parked my car and trudged ahead in ninety six degree weather, with humidity to match. I opened the door to a small room where there were at least twelve, silver-haired people of an age — one on a walker — I inquired as to whether this was a bus stop, got a chuckle from a few who were still able to breathe, signed a ledger for the audition and backed out of the room, diving for my cell phone and punching in the numbers of my agency in rapid succession. Now, in LA agents no longer answer phones during the day. You get the receptionist or a recording. I got the receptionist and I asked her to please explain that I couldn't stay for this appointment — later emailed my agent and described what had come to mind when I arrived, which was a picture of Dachau and my lost relatives. This may sound a bit extreme and it is. I later got an email asking if I had stayed for the audition or left. "Fled" was my answer, like a deer in the "graylights".
I probably should have prefaced this little tale with the fact that sheer luck has allowed me to age gracefully and I don't quite fit into the Betty White arena. Oh, I will someday but the title of this show is "Off Their Rockers" — literally and I may be off mine mentally but thanks to genetics and some effort on my part I'm not dead yet!
One more little vignette — I was having a lovely lunch by the sea with a friend of mine and my cell phone rang. Now, I don't usually answer in those situations, as I consider it rude but so many small but urgent things were going on that I did pick it up. "Sorry, I said, "but it could be important."
"Hello, this is James from DRF. We are doing a survey and wondering whether there are cities you could work in, where there would be no transportation to get you there and no living arrangements for you. Someplace where you have relatives, possibly. "They're all dead." I answered and then inquired "to whom am I speaking?" thinking this was a joke.
"Oh, this is your agency calling. We are just wondering how many of our clients would work under these circumstances."
"How would I get to these places?" I asked. By bicycle, horse and carriage, yak?
This was beginning to get sadder and funnier as it went on.
"I could go to Philadelphia. I have a few relatives that are still alive there." And of course there's New York, where I live." The conversation got less glib and I thanked him for inquiring and hung up. My friend said if she hadn't been sitting there she wouldn't have believed it.
These are the moments when you feel like the papers that flew into the air as the Titanic went down — there is a song written on you but the wind has sent you adrift. The ink sticks and you carry your song away from the sad drowning crowd.
So you see friends, it's the same for all of us. We are all waiting for a touch of class. A sign of our own self worth and the only way I know how to do that is to see the funny side and try to be true blue and sing out!