I was laid off Thursday after 13 ½ years with my company, through three different owners and several different positions. Needless to say, the range of emotions I’ve experienced over the past few days has been pretty widespread.
I’m not writing this blog for sympathy. I’m in good spirits. I’m getting a decent enough severance package to prevent me from eating ramen noodles and sleeping on the PATH train (for now, anyway – check back in six months). I know people are in far worse situations than I am for a number of reasons, especially people with families to feed. I know the decision was made purely based on numbers and not on my performance, because frankly, I’m damn good at what I do, so I’m not the least bit down on myself. I know I’ll be vigilant about my job hunt and try to get something right away, rather than being lazy and telling myself I have time. This is just such uncharted territory for me.
I haven’t been happy at my old job for quite some time. Let’s face it: Unless you’re fortunate enough to hold a title along the lines of chief bikini waxer for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot, or you’re one of the lucky ones who works for yourself doing something you’re passionate about, few people really like their jobs. But the past year has been very draining to the point of dreading the thought of each day. So I’m trying to keep a positive frame of mind and tell myself that this will prompt a very necessary change.
But the reason why I hadn’t moved on is what concerns me: This job market is terrible and only seems to be getting worse. And obviously, the events on Wall Street of the past month or so will do little to change that.
This will be a completely new experience from me. Since graduating NYU in 1990 and joining the work force, this past job was only my third one.
I spent one year at my first job, was laid off and ended up with the best of both worlds. For three months, I did the exact same job, at the exact same desk, for two weeks per month, getting paid more than I would have working full-time because I was hired as a free-lancer, and being able to come and go as I pleased because I worked by the hour.
Then, after five-and-a-half years at my second job, I was able to find this last job and give the traditional two weeks’ notice, transitioning right from one into the other.
I always regretted never taking time off between jobs. Now the irony is that I could have three days, three weeks, three months, or God only knows.
I always envisioned myself walking into my boss’ office with a smile and giving him my two weeks’ notice, then spending two weeks on cruise control, teaching my former co-workers how to do my job and enjoying the farewell cocktails. I never saw it ending so coldly and abruptly in a human-resources office.
One thing I’m grateful about is the support I’ve gotten from friends. I’m never surprised about good things coming from close friends, because situations like this are prominently included in the “close friends” contract. They’re part of the deal. But I e-mailed just about everyone in my address book who might have any kind of contact, and getting immediate and helpful responses – complete with contacts, information, connections, etc. – from people I’m not that close with was humbling. When people who were more like friends of friends responded within minutes, I was really taken aback.
Maybe I should have a little more faith in human nature and stop being so cynical. OK, I’ll stop being silly now.
I know the cats will be very happy to have me home. But it’s an adjustment period for them, too. When I got home at around 1:30 Thursday afternoon, Trouble picked her head up out of a deep sleep and gave me a look that said, “What the FUCK are YOU doing home?”
So I’m guessing I’ll be updating this blog a lot more frequently because, well, I’ll have more time (hopefully for not very long). And it’ll help keep my morale high and my writing skills sharp.
Oh, if anyone has any contacts for a position involving Web content, especially editorial, you know where to find me!