What it’s like to be laid off

No matter your feelings on downsizing, going through the actual layoff process is a bit surreal. Your reality shifts, sometimes with no forewarning and no time to prepare. And even if you suspect it’s coming, you’re never sure exactly when. That is, until you’re called into a meeting with your boss and the HR person.

For me, there’s a moment in that meeting when all those work responsibilities are lifted off my shoulders. I physically feel lighter. I realize that everything work-related that bothered me 5 minutes ago no longer matters. It’s all someone else’s problem. The people in front of me explaining COBRA or 401K rollovers, to whom I had to answer just a minute ago, don’t matter either. I don’t have to defer to their opinions or try to impress them, because they no longer sign my check. They’re just average people. And while I may need a recommendation from them, I don’t have to suck up to get it. They feel so guilty that they offer it without prompting. There’s a certain calm, when you’ve lost one reality but not fully grasped another. Things slow down.

I’ve been laid off 4 times, and each carries its own story. The circumstances were all unique, as was was my frame of mind afterward. It was never fun, but every instance was interesting and informative in retrospect. Stay tuned for each of those stories one of these days.

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One Comment

  1. thomas wrote:

    I was laid off 3 days later on the 21ist.Your feelings etc are exactly what I felt when called in by the dynamic duo……….

    Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 9:23 am | Permalink

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