Last Monday I was laid off from my job. I had worked at the same company for three years—not long, but long enough to feel comfortable, long enough to be part of the family. So being laid off came as something of a shock.
At first, I told people I was fired, but then I found out that being fired carried with it the connotation that I had done something to deserve what happened. I also didn’t like saying, “I lost my job.” It sounded like something I had misplaced, like my car keys or glasses. If only I look hard enough, I can find it again.
I’ve never been laid off before. Previous job changes have always been at my discretion. I’ve never been eligible for unemployment before.
It has been more painful than I expected.
At first, I was simply stunned. It took me a couple of days just to get used to the idea. I found myself thinking about work I had to get done, stopping mid-thought, and realizing I didn’t have to do it after all. Not only didn’t have to, but prohibited from. One day I was working. The next day, I was barred from the corporate network, barred from my email account, barred from my online tools. Since I worked from home, I had to pack up the equipment owned by my employer and ship it back. I was surprised at the emotions welling up as I did this.
I was angry. I was sad. I was grieved.
In fact, grief seemed to predominate. I was not angry at my employer for letting me go. I understood the need for workforce reduction, and I was in full agreement with the reasoning that led to me being the one to go. I was angry because I had lost something I loved. What hurt most was that I could no longer do a job I loved doing. So I’ve been grieving, mourning the loss of my job.
“Blessed are those who mourn, …”
Of course, there are practical considerations. I have a family with three children still at home and two still partially dependent on Mom and Dad. I have a house payment, utility bills, expenditures for groceries and clothes and other necessities. I have children who expect birthday presents and a prom dress and a trip to Eagle Bluff. I have a wife who wants something really special for our upcoming 25th anniversary. All these things require income now lost. But they are ancillary concerns. I grieve because the work I loved doing is gone.
“… for they shall be comforted.”