Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Nov 29, 2008

The seven stages of being laid off

If until about two weeks ago I was interested mostly in politics, since I have lost my job, my focus switched dramatically towards different fields. Namely looking for another job.
Maybe reading about recession is just a passing scary thought. Living it without a job it’s a completely different issue.
Like any traumatic event, it’s got a few stages, and you must walk all of them before being able to function normally again.

First stage
It’s the moment you hear the dreadful words ‘the company is in bad shape and unfortunately we decided to let you go’
Your mind is trying to bloc the panic that menace to make you start crying or vomiting. Or both. You keep a straight face and articulate words like you are just an observer. In the mean time your stomach is tied up in knots and there is uncomfortable cold sweat running down your spine. Suddenly you feel very, very tired. But you can’t afford to be tired because you are given an hour to clean up your office. What are you going to do with all your projects? Or your in-progress files? And so you move to the second stage.

Second stage
Now that you are back in your office, your hands start shaking. You make phone calls to inform the loved ones that you are out of job. Sure, you feel bad for breaking the bad news, but what really is in your soul can’t be compared to anything. Now you get some boxes and start gathering the pictures or your family, the artwork made by your kid, the flowers that brought up warm feeling to your working environment.

Third stage
Now that the thought is sinking even more in your brain, you have a few moments of being rational. Let’s see what documents you could take with you. And by that I don’t want to recommend stealing confidential information, just take what’s yours. Maybe some contact names along with their phone numbers. Then it’s time to move your boxes to the car and return the Black Berry and the office keys.

Forth stage
Now you are in your car, driving home, praying that there is a God of laid off people, because definitely you are not paying attention to what you are doing. You do what you routinely do, only that your mind is still blocked and your mind eye is seeing only one thought ‘I got laid off’. You can cry, now is the best moment, because you cry in the silence of your car, you don’t upset your family. Trust me. They are going to be scared for your sanity and you don’t want to put extra pressure on their emotions.
They are going to comfort you, but you are still going to be crushed and full of guilt.

Fifth stage
After a restless night, the future looks bleak. Now you feel even more the impact of not having a job. You feel lost and depleted of energy. You start thinking how to do damage control. The kid must stay in the day care because he needs structured activity, and what sort of activity can you offer when you are just in panic mode, stressed and really down? So, it’s no way to cut living expenses here. Let’s see what is to be done?
Clean up the freezer. For sure there is lots of stuff that can be used for cooking home made meals. Here you are, a way of saving your grocery bill.
Moving on… recycling bottles. Yes, plenty of them sitting in the basement. Not much money, but still around $40 more in your wallet.
Then you apply on-line for employment benefits and for the care card, because you are not covered anymore by the company’s medical plan.
Finally, you start browsing the net looking for another job.

Sixth stage
After a few days you have found some jobs listed by various companies untouched by the economic crisis. You fine tuned your resume and sent it along with nice cover letters. It’s time to think positive and ignore the nagging thought that maybe there are lots of guys around freshly out of jobs, with the same qualifications as yours. No, you have to think that you are unique and that you are going to get the job you want.

Seventh stage
Now that you passed the shaking, crying, guilty phases, what about some revenge? Because it’s not fair that your company outsourced to India and China, keeping that guys in job, while you and your family suffer. I mean, when you reach the point of being worried about your mortgage and your family’s well being, trust me, you don’t give a rat’s ass on ‘poor Chinese or Indians, they need jobs’ propaganda.
If you have access to information you can use against the company, it’s time to do it. Out of revenge it comes hope.
And you need hope.

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