The Six Stages of Grief Following a Layoff (Illustrated)
I, like so many others in this pandemic and economic crisis, have lost my job. Being laid off is something I have never experience before. I have to tell you, it's painful. Many compare it to a break-up, or maybe just a punch in the gut.
I felt myself reeling through the stages the grief slooowly over the rest of the month. The thing is, I loved my job. I woke up every day feeling lucky to do the work I was doing with some amazing people. When I was laid off, my world crumbled in front of my feet. By no means was I ready to move on from what seemed like a dream role.
What better way to move on than with cathartic doodles? (I'm saying that with a smile, honest.)
Anyone who has been laid off knows how it goes. You get called in and sat down. Your director looks you in your eye to say everything so calmly, but you can barely her. Friday, March 13th (oh the irony), 2020 at 3:30 PM was when I was let go.
On my bus ride home, "there's no way that just happened" and "this will go back to normal when the virus is over" were thoughts pounding at my temples. Each text from a colleague brought be back to reality. It wasn't until I took a shower and said it out loud to my partner that it all sank in.
"What if I had done a better job?" Naturally, I blamed myself. Even after my company laid off over 1/3 of employees, I still thought I could have done something to "earn my keep."
Resentment and frustration were clawing at me after what felt to me like a betrayal of my trust in the company. When you get so close with the people you work with, you take this personally.
Restricted indoors. Employment options on hold. The future looked bleak and uncertain for a while. It took some time, and it wasn't a pretty sight, but I eventually started to get my motivation back.
Have I hit the "acceptance" phase? I've accepted that this has changed my outlook on my future forever. I haven't been able to say "everything will be okay" yet, but I am lucky to have an amazing support system of family, friends, and my partner.
What I learned: No matter what exterior forces are happening, all I can do is continue to put forth my best work. For every company I have ever worked for, I went all in. Sometimes it's hard to forget that, at the end of the day (or string of bad quarters), they are just companies.
I know myself well enough to know that when I do find my next role, I will still throw myself whole heartedly back into the thrill of the work.
To all those in the same confusing boat that I'm in, here's to accepting a loss and looking towards a future.