On April 1, 2019, I woke up like any other day. Alarm went off by 5:30am, and I got dressed to head to work. It was a cool Monday morning. Going into work was like every other day. There was loads of traffic and a real sense of dread.
I remember getting to work and having computer issues. I waited till 8am to contact help desk. No answer. I kept trying. No answer. I didn’t think much of it, and decided to just get back to work and try later. At exactly 8:58am, I got an instant message from my now former boss. She had a last minute meeting scheduled and was hoping myself and another coworker would join. At this point, I’m not surprised. My coworker and I walk upstairs ready to take notes. When we get to the room, we see members of Human Resources, our boss, and other members of the management team. We’re also joined by a friend from my department and someone else I’ve never seen thus far. This is where dread starts to settle in.
We’re either getting fired or laid off. The company had been having financial troubles, but we were always told as a department that we were “untouchable.” From this point forward, I remember time slowing down. We were told the news. Our positions had been eliminated. We were being let go. Best part… there was an hour long PowerPoint. In the meantime, we were to tell our current boss what we needed to leave for the day as we would not be allowed back to our desks for security reasons.
To this day, I look back at that moment with an array of emotions… anger, grief, happiness, shame, relief, and much more. During my career, I was working hard to find an out. I fell into a career that made me feel dead. There was nothing but dread. On top of that, the department was full of favoritism and lack of leadership. If you weren’t kissing ass, you didn’t matter. Yet, I was also in need of the benefits and money the job offered. Most importantly, I wasn’t leaving on my terms, I was being pushed out. I had no choice. I had fantasized about my exit so many times, but this scenario wasn’t one of the possibilities I envisioned.
I recall walking out with two of my coworkers. None of us wanted the job. To be honest, everyone in the room was uncomfortable. There was no tears. Just acceptance. As we walked out, we let out a laugh. We were free. Yes, there would be a lot to figure out, but we were FREE.
The following two months are a blur for me. I recall going home and crying. Again, I dunno that I was mourning the job as much as I was mourning the loss of control. For someone who has always been in control of her life, this was scary shit. Not to mention, my dog would be undergoing major and very expensive surgery within a week of me getting laid off.
I ended up getting a job in the same field. I ended up panicking about health care. I can honestly say that while some of the work is the same… the environment is not. There is no blatant favoritism from management. There is no drama. It’s pretty chill. Am I 100% happy? No, I’m not. Yet, I am able to have the space to go to therapy. I have the space to be able to leave work at home. I have the space to come home and do what I love (hello fosters). I have the space to find my authenticity. There are frustrating days, but those do not outweigh the “good” days.
Today, I write this from my couch. I’m currently in self-quarantine. There’s a stay at home order. I truly feel that getting laid off a year ago prepared me for this. I don’t feel the need to control and know what’s next. I feel like I can trust myself to see this through.