(I was going to start this a week ago, and I was going to catch up all in one post, but it hasn’t been happening like that, so I’ll just part it out into a few posts, and see where it goes)
So, I have been meaning to make a record of this latest unemploy of mine. It–unfortunately–feels like I’m getting a real feel for the progression to finding a new job after being laid off. I feel like I know the pattern, although every time I sort of doubt it will hold this time.
I don’t know this ending yet, but so far, it feels very similar. It starts like this:
First, you get laid off. It’s a crummy day. You may or may not have seen the signs, like other people slowly getting let go around you, or talk of a slowdown in income or traffic for your team’s project, or, you know, your project being canceled or something. Maybe you saw the signs and figured you were safe/lucky, or maybe you started tentatively putting out feelers–but too tentatively. Maybe you just went on, oblivious. However you mentally prepared or didn’t, *POW*, here’s the sit down with your manager and HR, where you aren’t ready, and where they try to maintain a little decorum by being icy, icy cold. You will probably follow along (I’ve laid a couple people off, myself, not fun). It’s like an unexpected slap in the face, whap! You don’t really respond, so you act like a gentleman (or a lady) and that’s what they are really hoping for, instead of the crying or the anger flash that you would do if you were in a movie (“I say!”). You knew right when you sat down, by the setup, with the people, and the big envelope of stuff for you to read over after they’ve told you about it. There’s no plea bargaining or anything, and anyway, how would that even work? So you just listen, maybe don’t listen, maybe put yourself in your poor manager’s shoes, maybe wonder how the HR person is able to be so nice the rest of her day. So you don’t stomp out or anything. You just take your envelope and slink back to your office or desk.
I personally, have been lucky, and at the places I’ve been let go from, they have each let me collect my things at my leisure, taking as long as I wanted (sort of). However, where I was working where I had to let people go as a manager myself, I had to help them get whatever they needed together ASAP and walk their sad bottoms out the door in “30 minutes or less”, telling them to schedule a later time for them to pick up the rest of their stuff from boxes at the front desk. That seemed pretty brutal, but I guess it’s just two ways of pulling off the same bandaid. In retrospect, when I’ve been laid off, each time, I stayed too long before leaving, like as a micro-defiance, like I didn’t want to go right when they said to or something.
This last time, I think I at least tried to motivate myself out a *little* faster, but I still dragged it out.