Thanks to the recession that economists say we are no longer in, I’ve had the unique pleasure of being laid off twice in the past two years. The first time it happened there was more relief than sadness. I had been unhappy at that company for some time but didn’t have the balls to walk out on the job, so I had to be kicked out on my kiester.
The second layoff hit a lot harder for a couple of reasons, mainly because I actually liked my job. I had identified with the mission (helping at-risk youth beat the odds through mentoring), and I enjoyed using my talents as an administrative assistant to help the agency fulfill that mission. I even got to develop a previously-undiscovered creative side. So yeah, I was feeling good about myself and the work I was doing when, all of a sudden, the rug was pulled out from under me.
Not long ago, I was reading an article on being unemployed in America when the author noted that being laid off from a job that you love is a lot like being involved in a bad break-up. My immediate response was, well that explains why I have this urge to slash someone’s tires. My second response was one of relief over finding someone who understood what I had been going through and who offered, in one sentence, an explanation for everything I had been feeling since losing my job. This break-up analogy was such a revelation to me that I began to ponder all the ways the comparison held true.
No bad break-up would be complete without a few tears and mine was no exception. When I was called into the CEO’s office and given the It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me speech, I tried to be brave and take it like a man, but my emotions soon got the best of me and my eyes began to swell with tears which eventually gave way to quiet sobs. I was tempted to throw my arms around my boss’s ankles and scream, “Please don’t leave me!” but decided I had already shown more emotion than I’d cared to.
In both jobs and break-ups, it’s not uncommon for the dumpee to feel uncomfortable around the dumper in public. Case in point: A few weeks after being laid off, I was sitting in my car in a grocery store parking lot scouring the deep recesses of my purse for a shopping list when I noticed the CEO of the agency and her husband parking a few spaces over from me. Immediately, I knew what I had to do. I buried my list back in my purse, hunched down in the driver’s seat and discretely drove off. It’s not that I have any bad feelings against my former boss or anything, but that situation had the potential for more awkwardness than I was ready to deal with at that moment.
So I fled. Like the jilted lover I was.
After you’ve been handed your walking papers and you’ve spent some time mourning what was lost, there comes a time when you realize that you have to move on — take whatever positives you can from the situation — and prepare yourself for something better. That’s the conclusion I came to as I was speeding away from the grocery store parking lot. Yes, my job was enjoyable. Yes, I loved what I did and the people that I worked for. But as long as I was holding on to the past, longing for what I once had, I was never going to move forward.
That’s probably true whether you’ve been let go from a job that you love or a relationship you thought was going well. In the end, we all have to move on.
Angela Richards, a currently unemployed administrative assistant, has been littering the blogosphere with her writings since 2006. She enjoys cooking and writing and aspires to be a bridezilla. The rest of her musings can be found at grizzbabesden.blogspot.com.
Photo credit: spekulator