On job loss

This isn’t going to be full of platitudes. Most people will not understand the heartache when it comes to their job. But, I of all people have experienced many job transitions throughout my career, unexpectedly and by choice. With all the recent tech layoffs, it triggered a lot of feelings I’ve experienced over the years. The hindsight is always after the fact, does it get better eventually? Yes. Should our jobs define us? No. But it’s not that black and white. There’s so much gray area.

For leaders and management, it’s a business decision. They are thinking about numbers and performance. Maybe they give some thought to the real people their decision will affect. Maybe they will offer themselves as a resource but oftentimes, they are protecting their business.

For those who aren’t let go, there is guilt. There is anxiety knowing you could be next. For those who get to stay, it doesn’t stay the same. The team dynamic changes, the work needs to be absorbed by everyone else. The burn out is imminent. 

For those loved ones in the periphery, they have good intentions. They will ask short loaded questions, like “How are you? Or are you okay?” Like breakups they are quick to tell you, it’s not you it’s them. They tell you that you’ll find something even better soon. But they rarely give you space to be sad and wallow. 

For those experiencing job loss, you might have a family to feed or you might be single and have no other source of income. There is no way unemployment will pay the bills, COBRA is very expensive. The timing is almost never ideal, sometimes adjacent to a big life event or right before the holidays. You have to turn on your network, reach out, and apply mindlessly to jobs- some of which may never even respond to you. Depression is imminent.

In time, things do get better but take your time in processing, grieving, and healing. You’re allowed to be upset, to be bitter that some companies receive 16 weeks of severance. Without judgment, you have permission to that nagging fear of what the future holds.

Do what you need to do. Day drink, let your friends spoil you, spend as much time with your family as you can, soak in some sunshine, finish that book, eat junk food, binge watch garbage TV, cry in the shower, lay in bed all day. 

And when you’re ready to fill your cup, do the things you love. The small things that fulfill you outside of your job. Back in 2019, along with my personal relationship ending, my previous company had a huge reorg and though I kept my job I was put in a department working a thankless position. It stripped me of my creativity and the idea of business fueled hope and inspiration but gave me the agency I long needed in my career. You never know, grief can bring forward opportunity. It did for me.

If you know someone who is struggling with recent job loss, I put together a collection of gifts to get them through this time here.

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