Well this should be a fun post! Wait a minute, how was I convinced to write a post about getting laid off? More specifically, a post about my feelings of getting laid off? Uh, no thanks. Let this be a lesson to all Candy Crush addicts — listen to what you’re agreeing to before mumbling “Sure, whatever.”
Interestingly enough, I decided to write a few journal entries in the days following my layoff. Why, you ask? Mostly because I had time. It felt like a productive thing to do. It also seemed like a healthy way to vent. Much healthier than, say, driving my car through my former employer’s brick building.
So join me as my former, laid-off me recounts (in abridged form) the first few days after getting laid off.
WARNING: I am not responsible for the emo drivel you are about to read. I mean, yeah, I wrote it, but no, I’m not responsible for the fork you may decide to stick in your eyeball(s) after reading this. And with that… enjoy!
Well, that sucks.
Surreal. That’s the only way to describe it. From the two-minute “We’re going to be letting a lot of talented people go today” speech at our mandatory 9am meeting. To the email I received at 2pm with the ominous subject line “meeting” when I thought I just might be in the clear. To sitting in front of my boss and HR director in the makeshift slaughterhouse complete with butcher’s paper hastily taped over the single window into the hallway providing a semblance of privacy while we were put down. To being handed the dreaded manilla envelope stuffed full of “You don’t work here anymore, got it?” paperwork.
As I exited the back doorway (to avoid seeing anyone) for the last time, I called Joanna still in shock. My denial gradually turned to anger as I recounted the day to her. What a mismanaged day. What a mismanaged company. When I arrived home, I put my overflowing bag down in the family room and made the walk of shame up the stairs and into the bedroom. There was Joanna, sitting with our little girl. Baby Girl heard me coming and looked over. Now I was looking face-to-face with the two women I had let down. It took everything in me to not break down then and there. In my head, I thought the silver lining was that she was young enough that she wouldn’t remember this day.
In a continuation of denial, I maintained an optimistic attitude. But as my time at home dragged on this afternoon, the lows began to set in. I began putting myself in imaginary meetings that surely weren’t so imaginary these last few weeks. In my head, I watched as they deliberated my standing with the company. I watched as my directors shrugged their shoulders when my name was called. No one was fighting for me. No one thought I was worth sticking their neck out for. It makes me wonder what they thought as they saw me in the halls the week preceding D-Day. Did it weigh on their conscience at all? Did they justify what they said or didn’t say in their heads? None of it would matter in a week because they’d never see me again.
There’s no two ways about it. Today was one of the lowest of my life. And despite it all, I still feel the right thing happened. I’m confident I’ll look back and see this as one of the single most important days of my life.
So this is what “freedom” feels like.
I woke up about the same time as usual. Maybe a little earlier. I went about my normal routine, even clipping my fingernails before my shower. That never happens. I got dressed in my “interview” blue plaid shirt, grabbed my phone, and headed downstairs to talk to a recruiter who had coincidentally contacted me on Friday. I was excited to hear more about the position, the opportunity, and to hear that someone thought I was worth something. It’s amazing how undervalued that is.
The call was pretty lackluster. Contract position. Six months. Maybe a year. Richmond. Mediocre rate. Blah.
It was trash day, so I had to back up the car to roll the trash and recycle bins out to the street. At nearly the exact time I’d typically be driving off to work, I rolled the garage up and put the car in reverse, knowing full well that I wasn’t actually going anywhere. I rolled the bins to the street as our neighbors scattered off to their normal, contributing-member-of-society jobs. I got back in the car, put it in drive, and idled it six feet forward. I closed the garage and the outside world behind me.
The only perk of working from home today was going on a walk with Joanna and Baby Girl at 3pm. It was nice to be with my girls. I don’t like them seeing me like this, but I don’t really have a choice. And I’d rather be near them than alone right now.
While I wanted to take my next steps slowly to avoid a repeat of this disaster , I get the sense that my anxiety will compel me to expedite the job search. And I’m really not too excited about the prospects. What I need to realize is that no job will ever be perfect. It’s a job and it pays the bills. That’s that.
Also, I’m writing this at 3am. Cool.
Perk #1: 10:30am tee time.
I always remember driving by the golf course in the morning and wondering, “How do those guys have time to golf during the day? They’re not retired, so what gives?” Maybe everyone on the course playing today was laid off too! I say that like it’s a good thing.
Today was a little brighter. Joanna and I discussed some options and decided that we’re probably not ready to jump the full-time employment ship just yet. Which means I’m going to work two leads while I cobble some freelance work together in the meantime.
I was telling Joanna today that people in the creative industry need hits of validation. An award, a portfolio-worthy campaign, a “job well done” email from a boss. I realized that I haven’t had that validation for a long time. And any fumes I was still running on were sucker punched out of my lungs on Monday. I’m completely rudderless in the self-esteem department and that unfortunately affects a lot of how I look at the future prospects.
Things will work out. They always do. But I haven’t a clue how it’ll happen.
Now that was fun, wasn’t it?! In the event you didn’t hear the news, I’ve since found an awesome job in Utah and life is great. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about the whole layoff process, but for now, I’ll spare you from making this the longest most depressing post ever. 🙂