I Lost My Job, and I’m Still Mentally Recovering


I’ve heard from a few separate people that maybe it’s not strategically wise to announce to the world that I lost my job but, 1. It’s almost 2018 and I feel like blatant honesty is one of the only things we have left, 2. I’m an over-sharer by nature, and 3. If anyone else is dipping into the quarter-life crisis pool right now, I’m here with ya and for ya.

It’s been a little over a month, and I’m not completely healed, per se, but the times when I feel like I have a good grasp on why this was for the best are longer in duration, so that seems like a positive?

Being let go from a company is flat out traumatic. It’s traumatic to walk into a tiny windowless conference room and see your boss but then also see someone you don’t know but, wait, you were just supposed to be meeting with your boss and… oh no. This is happening. You sit down and your boss reads off some very formal legal statement while looking like she wants to be anywhere else in the world and then the HR guy starts walking you through this twenty-page document and you stop him and are like, “Yeah I’m not going to remember even one word that you’re telling me” and it’s the first time you talk so you start crying and this guy you’ve known for sixty seconds hands you a tissue and you’re like, “You do this for a LIVING?” and then he starts talking again but he sounds like that teacher in Charlie Brown and you’re thinking about how you’re going to tell people and you take a break from thinking about that just long enough to think about what a completely worthless piece of shit you must be, and then all of the sudden the conversation is over. Your boss tells you you can wait in the conference room a little longer, to avoid transition time in between meetings and you wonder just how high you can score on the Pathetic Meter for the day but you agree and then they leave and you’re stuck staring at the clock wondering if the minute hand has moved far enough away from the six and close enough to the seven and you’re just staring at it not breathing with tears in your eyes and a coffee mug in your hand wondering just how far this rejection is going to set you back mentally.

It’s kind of like being dumped by someone who you’re not sure that you ever really liked to begin with and then they also take all of your money. What sucks is telling your parents. That is a very specific kind of shame that no one tells you about. They’re understanding and let you cry and tell you it’s okay but you wonder what they’re really thinking in their pauses. You want them to be proud of you and “I got let go from my cushy corporate job” is like one of the worst things you can say to a Generation X parent.

People are like, “Oh, holy shit, I had no idea” and it’s like yeah surprisingly, I’ve been kind of low-key about the darkest voices I have in my head coming to fruition through an entity telling me I’m not of any value to them! I’ve kept those cards pretty close to my chest! Lol!!!

Them: “Oh, I can’t wait to see what you do next! You’ve got something. You’ll find something.”

Me, internally: Actually no one is as special as they think they are and reality is reality. You may never achieve what you want to.

Them: “This is the BEST thing that has ever happened to you.”

Me, internally: You stood in front of the fridge eating prosciutto in an open robe and slippers like Tony fucking Soprano today.

Them: “Whoever gets you next is SO lucky.”

Me, internally: Actually you’re an untalented moron who no one will ever find worthy of long-term employment.

Them: “One day at a time. That’s all you can do.”

Me, internally: That’s a very annoying thing to say and also I’m not going to have health insurance in a month.

There’s this underlying pressure that permeates you to find your career path at a young age. Be so in love with what you do, get a head start so by the time you’re running this game-changing dynasty at 27 people can be like, “SHE’S ONLY 27?!?!” and in turn feel terrible about themselves. It’s weird to realize how much of how we define ourselves is wrapped up into how we contribute to capitalism. And once you’re put out of that wheelhouse that just keeps on spinning without you, you spend a lot of time convincing yourself that you’re more than your productivity and labor, which can be f*cking tricky. I recommend surrounding yourself with people who genuinely believe in you more than you believe in yourself. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have a network of friends who see some sort of talent in me that I struggle to believe is real every. single. day.

I’m on the lucky side, I know that. I don’t have kids, only myself to worry about. If I truly hit financial rock bottom there are probably a couple people who could be there for me. Not everyone has that. And I remind myself of that in my lowest points (crying in the grocery store parking lot for an hour) what a privilege it is to be able to say: “Maybe this is a good thing.”

So what am I scared of? I don’t know how I’m going to live outside of this job-losing PTSD in my next endeavor. Will I just be scared all the time that the end is near and these people don’t need me and are secretly scheming as to how to get rid of me? But what’s worse? Coasting along in a job I’m ultimately unhappy at until something (maybe) better comes along? Or being shoved out of your comfort zone to dial the proverbial radio nob a little more in tune with Your Station? Actually being forced to crack down on your finances like a real live adult? It can be easy to root yourself in comfort. Especially when you’re someone who craves it for a little bit of center in your life, like me.

So I bounce back and forth between feeling like I’ll Be Somebody and feeling like I’m just another average person who doesn’t have what it takes to make it. Wherever and whatever ‘it’ is. But I truly do believe things happen the way they’re supposed to. So things will work out for me. Maybe differently than I expected, but that’s okay. One day at a time.

Image sources: 1 / 2

Liz Welle is a professional feelings feeler but gets paid to do social and digital stuff for brands in Minneapolis while occasionally food styling on the side. She lives in Uptown with her boyfriend and their thirteen plants. She is doing her best.

 

 

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

  • As a parent I can tell you that we are ALWAYS supportive of our kids! Remember, we’ve had sucky job stories too! Hang in there. The mantra one day at a time does work.

  • Liz! I am so, so sorry to hear this! Hang in there — and those fuckers ARE right — the next company who gets you is extremely lucky.

  • Yep! Just take it one day at a time, Liz. A few of my colleagues and I found out that our teaching contracts were not going to be renewed for this school year in January 2016. So…during my final year and a half, it was such an awkward phase: trying to find a job that would see what I can do beyond the resume and “specific” degreed earn (still looking) and trying to not make it uncomfortable for the remaining colleagues who got the letter that they were doing to stay. In that year…it was eye-opening to see how my colleagues handle themselves (those who remained and those were about to be out the door with me). It was also eye-opening for me to see the growth that came from me and how my perspective in life changed. Maybe it’s age…maybe it’s change…maybe it’s everything…but there’s only one way to look at a situation like this: just keep your hopes up even when it’s hard because like you said…something will come out of it even when you are not certain what it is. Here’s to the new year, new start!

    • You are a fucking WARRIOR for being able to carry out your job with poise and grace for the remainder of that shit storm. What a completely difficult situation to be in, for both you AND your colleagues.

      We’re all in this together. I’ll be thinking of you! <3

  • Looking for an escape of my own reality, I just googled best interior design
    Blogs for 2018 to follow and hopped onto your site. I read this one post and am so widely impressed with your honesty. The voice your sharing lives and rules in so many people’s heads. Having the courage to share your fears is so rare and a quality most people don’t posses. I am so sorry you are hurting.

    You are a jem. I am a momma and that was not dispointment you heard or felt that was who the f’ would not want my kid but they were shocked and parents suck a lot of time. We praise you when you are one when can’t understand language and then forget to praise you when you need it most. Be kind to yourself and know that you are a rare and inspirational person.

    • “We praise you when you are one when can’t understand language and then forget to praise you when you need it most.” JULIE YOU MADE ME CRY WITH THAT ONE! 🙂

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop, read, and write this comment. It means more to me than you know. <3

  • I lost my job earlier in the year too, and though I have recovered for the most part, it sent me in a journey of figuring out what kind of person I want to be professionally and how I want to use my skills. Hang in there! You are definitely not alone in feeling like a loser.

    • It’s a crazy feeling to be very consciously aware of this new life journey you’re on; i’m just scared to fail it or something.

      Thanks for your note, it means a bunch <3

  • I was fired six months ago. As a super driven career woman it was the biggest fear of my life, realized.

    But it was also exactly what I needed to push myself into an even more challenging and rewarding career path. Right after it happened someone said to me “sometimes the best way to find your parachute is to be pushed off that cliff,” and boy were they right.

    Thank you for having the guts to put this all out there. I feel like as a society we are busting through so many stigmatized yet totally typical moments…except for this one? You’re brave and you’re clearly talented and wise.

  • I don’t have job advice or inspirational words or anything of merit to say really except: damn. You’re a good writer. I’m not sure what you did in the corporate world, but lady…you could write your way into something infinitely better. You write well, all the proper grammar and structure, but then you throw in an f-bomb and it keeps pace and isn’t shocking and never pulls the reader from the ultimate story or message. That is a skill. You managed to express feelings I’ve had for years, even though I’ve never been in your shoes. That’s a skill. For whatever it’s worth, I see something much bigger and bolder on your horizon. Good luck.

    • Amy I’m so moved by your comment I’ve read it five or six times. I think I’ll print it off to fold into my wallet. I doubt myself a LOT and attribute my “good writing” to people just not knowing what “good writing” is (ISN’T THAT TERRIBLE) but I’m choosing to believe you.

      Also – just checked out your blog – it’s GREAT.

  • “It’s weird to realize how much of how we define ourselves is wrapped up into how we contribute to capitalism.”

    Ugh. Yes. I am admittedly not someone who is really “succeeding” career-wise. I am struggling to adult on many fronts (finding a job in a field I care about, getting paid a LIVING wage, feeding myself, making time for ‘self care.’) but what I value the most is my connections with people, being a reliable friend and life partner. None of these things are “valued” in capitalism. I’m afraid to chase my dream in the field I want to work in—it’s true—but I am also not sure I will ever fit into it all. I too am very lucky to have a safety net.

    • I FEEL THIS ON EVERY LEVEL. I *too* value my connections most, and think it’s my most valuable skill. So I will continue on trying to figure out how to blend that in with my passions.

      <3

  • So beautifully written. I’ve been laid off from two cushy corporate jobs now. It’s never fun to go through but think of this time as a gift. You’re handling it so gracefully and I admire that. Surrounding yourself with people that believe in you is absolutely key. It’s a new year full of possibilities. Best wishes xx

  • what a year! we did a really good job with a group of freelancers for a company that considers itself as very employee-friendly––out of the blue they fired us after ten years. no compensation. no explanation. just the end of a great project.
    let’s learn our lessons. and move on. let’s have a great 2018 with great new jobs!
    sending best energy. xx

  • Liz, You very accurately conveyed my exact emotions when I was let go from a company I had been at for almost 6 years in 2013. From the outside it was that ‘awesome job’ and at times it really was… but at others times, not so much. And after staying in a similar role for most of my time there and being in a rollercoaster environment of we’re all doing an amazing job and no one is doing good enough… I knew deep down, I could not mentally thrive in that environment, so for the last couple of years I looked for new opportunities and nothing came to fruition. Being let go was so hard for me. It was the hardest thing that had ever happened to me. As a perfectionist, I felt like I had failed beyond repair. I still get butterflies thinking about that day…almost exactly as you described. All that is to say…it happens for a reason and whatever you do next you will be better for going through this experience. And the thing that really got me through… Oprah at one point had been fired. And I think that’s all the evidence we need that sometimes these things are the universes way of saying, “Girl, this job is not for you…We’ve got better plans”

    Best of luck! And as crazy as it seems… enjoy the downtime! xo

  • “It’s weird to realize how much of how we define ourselves is wrapped up into how we contribute to capitalism.”

    Thank you for this reminder! I lost one of my jobs an hour ago and reading this felt like the encouraging friend that was right beside me.

  • Oh Liz … I thought I had finally reached acceptance (lost my job in November) but you’ve turned me into a puddle. THE PARENT PART. The holidays were relaxing and full of love but I’d be lying if I said it’s easy to look them in the eye. It’s the love part I have to focus on: the love around me and the love I know I still have for myself. If you need another friend or if you’re willing to listen to the crazy new ideas I have in my head, holler at me.

  • That you for writing such a raw and insightful article. Financial pressures are enormous but nothing in comparison to the weight of high expectations that we place on ourselves. There needs to be a shift in our associations of worth. A job is a superficial mask of our character. It’s in times of strife that we define who we truely are. I tried to remember it was a career detour rather than a decline. Ultimately, the growth and resilience obtained will be invaluable in the future. xx

  • thinking of you, Liz. I quit my job in August because it sucked and I was about to have a baby. But now she’s 4 months old and I’m ready to dive back in and just got rejected from an awesome job yesterday. It’s so hard to not equate my worth to this. Ugh. You are super talented and funny and will for sure land on your feet. ❤️

  • Amazing piece! You said everything I feel. I was laid off from my job after moving to a new city, where I have no network. It has been a real struggle to find something new (still looking) and deal with the emotional impact (feeling like you’ll never be good enough). Thank you for having the courage to write this! <3

  • This was a great piece to read and it echoed all my thoughts from a similar experience. I got made redundant at the end of 2016 and I spent the whole of 2017 trying to dig myself out of that weird emotional wreckage. It was tough for me to be in a different country away from family and friends. The mistake I made was shutting myself off from everyone. They support and love you no matter what. It will get better, even if it doesn’t feel like it now, you’ll get to look back eventually as a learning experience. <3

  • I never comment on things but I am in a similar profession doing digital design things and also lost my job a few months ago from a well known agency in Minneapolis. Tthis is super refreshing to hear from someone I follow on Instagram. Thanks for sharing. Honesty like this is hard to come by in Minnesota!

  • Liz, your words mirrored my feelings: I’m going through the exact same thing, only that I’m older than you and somehow that adds to my inner struggle.
    I hope that this year brings you (and me) an even better job, where you skills shine through while feeling secure in your position.

    Love from Mexico!

  • Hi Liz,

    I’m in the exact same boat as you. I was hired at an agency in NYC in Sept., and they realized that Marketing needed ‘restructuring’ and let me go in November. It’s happened to me 3x in the past 3 years and I hate every single second of it. Your article was quite literally my diary out loud, where you wrote my exact thoughts and feelings. I’m seriously reconsidering ever going into marketing because NO ONE knows what ‘GOOD WRITING’ is and everyone has their own opinion!

    Right there with you sister, so glad to feel that I’m not the only one right now going through this!

    Best of luck to you,
    Ashley xx

  • Wow Liz, you are brave and strong and vulnerable in all the best ways. And clearly smart and talented. It would be easy for me to agree with your friends and family that it’s their loss, you’re on your way to better things, blah, blah, blah. But for now, just thanks for being real. The world needs that.

  • I was laid off one year ago this week, and I still haven’t fully recovered. You completely nailed it here. It shifts your way of thinking about yourself and your contribution, and who you want to be. I wish you luck as you figure out your next step!

  • I’d love to say a whole bunch of encouraging things, but honesty is the best. It sucks to lose your job, I know, I’ve been there. What no one tells you is how long it can take to become comfortable in your next job cause that fear that probably hasn’t ever been there before, haunts you at every professional decision now. Hopefully you can regain that confidence in your work back, but don’t be surprised if it takes longer than expected. You will be drawn to security over potential at first and that isn’t a bad thing to boost that confidence in the short term. Good luck with whatever comes next.

  • Great piece! I got laid off from my first full time job a few years ago and immediately jumped into another job because I got an offer and the thought of no unemployment seemed too good to turn down. The new job turned out to SUCK majorly and I quit after a few months. In hindsight I wish I would have taken some time off and have had faith in myself that there would be more opportunities. I ignored the red flags about the new position because I just wanted a position and was happy that someone wanted me. It’s hard to not feel desperate when your unemployed but try and remember your value! You are an excelent writer and I wish you the best of luck!

  • I’m going through this right now and I have been reading a lot of articles like this lately. This one speaks to me more than any other has. Thank you for writing this.

  • I don’t know how but I’m just now seeing this! I’m in the exact same boat, add to the story that two weeks before my lay off I had a a two year review that went great and I got a raise. So, talk about confusion and frustation. At least I got all that holiday vacation? That’s what I kept telling myself anyways. Now it’s back to reality and hopefully finding something out there!

  • I’m living this right now. You sum it up perfectly that you feel like you got dumped by someone you weren’t really interested in, but they took all your money. Yup. Feeling like that right now. I wasn’t happy in my situation, but a week and a half after I’ve been let go, I’m feeling the emotions. What was wrong with me? Why? Will I ever find anything again? Struggling right now, but…one day at a time…

    • Girlfriend – I PROMISE you, it’s going to be okay. The struggle is a process and it helps to accept it as such. Be gentle with yourself and remember that there doesn’t need to be shame in not being compatible with a specific line of work. <3

  • Thank you for sharing this. This happened to me at age 62. Try getting hired at a new job at that age. My position was eliminated. And to make things even worse, a year later they called me back to work. I had been unable to find a new position so had to go back to a place that had eliminated my job as a VP and work at a staff position for half the salary. Daily humiliation until I retired at age 70.

  • Wow, this. This is everything I’ve been feeling since losing my job last December…in one of the most expensive cities in the world (NYC), in one of the most subjective fields (graphic design). It’s been hard. And nobody, no matter how supportive and loving they are, understands unless they’ve been there. So thank you for this. For putting it all into words.

    Xo, Kacie
    http://www.theprettylittlehustler.com

  • Thank you for sharing, reading this made me feel less alone. I lost my job on 10/24/17 and I’m still recovering too. It seems like I’ll never recover or be comfortable in the corporate world. Hang in there, you’re not alone!