19th April 2020
Last week I was made redundant. It’s the first time I’ve left a job without me being the one to eagerly hand in my notice in a ‘this is THE moment’ rush. Instead, a last-minute false sense of security followed by a dropping thud of realisation that I should listen to my intuition.
I cried silently as I was told a string of words that I can barely remember because my brain was too busy shouting “omg it’s happening, it’s really happening, i knew this was going to happen, why is it happening, why am I being let down, why me, why”.
I was thanked for my professionalism.
At least now I know that i can say ‘I am being professional’ when I'm asked why I'm silently nodding my head as tears rush down my cheek in the middle of a meeting.
I was given a date when my last day would be and when it would all become agreed and official.
Meanwhile, all internal contact and access was to be restricted, you know, it’s for security, but we’re really sorry and sad this is happening, it was so difficult to make this decision...
It would be 9 days between the day I was told and the day it would be finalised. The only way I can describe this period is mourning. A loved one dies, it’s a shock, and then you plan for the funeral. It’s stressful but you’re just waiting for that one planned appointment, for it to be over, for you to say “okay, that’s done, gotta move on now”
In a way, yes, I'm moving on. But it doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hurt or that i don’t feel lost. I already feel like the world is returning to normal (as normal as normal can be right now) such as not being checked-in on as much anymore, because the funeral has been and gone, so there’s no need to, right? It’s not entirely true, I still want to talk about it. I still have anger and nostalgia all wrapped into one, but at the same time I don't want to talk about it, I do want to move on.
There’s a whole lot of mixed emotion wrapped up in your head when you lose your job. There’s the feeling of rejection and sadness of losing the thing you were used to, a routine, familiar faces, free coffee; there’s the anger of how you’re being treated, knowing full well you’re being told the formal jargon, as opposed to the informal behind-the-scenes reality that you used to have insight into; and then there’s the scary outside world where you have no idea where you will fit in, you can’t even remember what the real world looks like without the Truman Show walls that encased your life until this moment.
You can hear Imposter Syndrome rousing from its sleep. It’s almost ready to join you for the day, maybe the week, maybe the month. It’s got a missed call from Anxiety, they’re due to meet up any day.
I wasn’t particularly driven by my job in the end. It was mostly the nostalgia of it that made me sad. I was going to miss the “original gang” and the way it “used to be”, but that’s just it, it wasn’t like that anymore anyway. So in more ways than one I’m happy to leave it behind.
I struggled a lot when I was in the job to find value. To have that balance of learning and making mistakes but to also be told you were doing a really good job. I think I found the value once I left. From the people who reached out to me when they found out I was part of the economic cuts. They were shocked and saddened and would miss me. Many of which I'm connected to on a personal level anyway, but it included those who I didn't really work with but crossed their paths enough to make an impression. That’s my value right there - humbled by the messages.
I’m almost glad to be in lockdown. So i can be selfish. I’m going through something and I don't want to agree to social things or be sad if someone else is going through something too. I also don’t want to pretend I'm happy or ignore that I need to vent, sometimes, about my situation. There’s finding value, but there’s also finding validity in what you’re feeling and acknowledging that. I’m sad and confused and have already fallen into a routine of lethargy which will no doubt turn into bad anxiety if i don’t watch it.
So what next?
I don’t know. I don’t feel like I should know either. I’m pretty proud of myself for that too. If this happened to me some 4, maybe 5, years ago, I think I would have fallen into panic and self-criticism. I think my work (albeit sporadic and lazy) on therapy and mindfulness, has done a lot to help me rationalise and not attack myself for something that wasn’t in my control.
I’m currently at peace knowing that I have no idea what’s next. I’m not usually very good at going into the unknown in this way, that’s where the self-criticism and imposter syndrome comes in; and no doubt when i do start looking for new jobs they will creep up on me and i will feel rather low; but i’m accepting of that and I can get through it, because i’ve gone through it before and survived. I think I'm a lot more prepared too. I’ve learned a lot more stuff, skills and about myself, and am probably a lot more willing to take risks now.
I want to take at least a month out. I find it very hard to switch my mind off, so I want to give myself that opportunity to find myself again, get my brain to a good place where I can figure out what I want to learn next. I might end up doing the same sort of job or I might do something different. Maybe i’ll decide that it’s probably just easier to work in a chip shop. Who knows?
What I do know is, I play Animal Crossing now, and I never thought I would.