One minute I was hard at work in a job I thought was secure. Next I’m being shown to the door. Whoa! In a flash my world as I knew it was turned upside down. Budget issues. That’s what they said. Could be other things. Don't know. Not going to dwell on the reasons they didn’t want me anymore. What’s done is done. As the wise man Mr. Bill says “It is what it is".
The question is, “So now what?”
And the answer is……. “I HAVE NO FREAKIN’ CLUE!”
I’ve never been in this situation before. I’ve always called the shots. I came and went from jobs on my own terms. And now, before I was ready, I was kicked to the curb with a box of stuff from the desk I sat at for 11 years.
For weeks afterward, I felt like I was on a carnival ride. Like the tilt-a-whirl. Ever go on that one? It spins round and round. And when it slows to a stop and you try to step out, you can’t get your bearings. Dizzying.
My head filled with crazy thoughts. I couldn’t process them in a way that made any sense. Had trouble sleeping. The craziest dreams. I thought about overdue bills, losing my home, starving. What if I couldn’t find another job? I felt shame. Embarrassed, stupid, worthless. I drank. I ate. Then I drank and ate some more. Drowning my sorrows in my own little pity party. Hiding away at home.
I watch the news. I knew what happened to me was happening to millions of others. But I still felt alone. Why? Why me? What did I do wrong? What could I have done to prevent this?
Silly me. I naively thought I'd get smothered in sympathy from everyone. I thought there'd be hugs, tear shedding, comforting reassurance of better days to come and be forceably removed from my home by well meaning friends and family hoping to cheer me up.
Not quite. I'm just another unemployment statistic. Losing a job these days is nothing earth shattering. How sad. It's so commonplace, not newsworthy at all. I had hoped to be surrounded by supportive loved ones but found loneliness instead. I guess they couldn't find the right words to say, so they hesitated to say anything at all. I get it. It's uncomfortable for everyone.
I've worked real hard on shutting out the "why me" voice and look at the lay off as a corporate decision, nothing personal. I figured I couldn’t depend on anyone else to help me. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to stay stuck in my misery or pull myself up by the bootstraps and move on. My choice.
I pulled up the bootstraps.
As weeks went by, the crazy thoughts and fuzziness faded. I started a list. Things I’d been meaning to do. Some little and boring: washing my car. Some big and exciting: traveling to see the grandkids. Having that list gave me structure again. Purpose. Goals. I've taken to heart the phrase I'm hearing a lot these days: "When one door closes, another door opens".
Instead of waiting for friends and family to come to me, I went to them. I picked up the phone. I texted, emailed, tweeted. I opened the front door of the house and headed out. Dog parks. Shopping. Sightseeing. Concerts. Museums. Libraries. Travel. Family visits. I even signed up for a few classes and meet with a job counselor to hopefully reinvent myself and start a new career.
It’s now 2 months post-job loss. I’ve made a dent in the list. I’m working on getting back into the work force. Been on some grand adventures and spent some wonderful, fun times with my family and friends. But I won’t lie and say I’m no longer feeling hurt, angry and sad about losing my job. It's painful. Negative thoughts still pop up. It’s going to take a lot of time to heal. I’m working on it tho. How’s that saying go? Slow and steady wins the race.
And I’m back in the race.
To be continued....................................................