Getting Laid Off: My Story

Monday (Day 1)

My morning started off like any Monday morning, I woke up, had some coffee and headed to work. Except for today as I was driving to work, I ran over a pothole. Not a little pothole, but a big ass pothole. Hello, tow truck! Monday’s are fun, right?! The tow truck guy told me it would probably take a few weeks for me to get my car repaired, so I called my insurance(it’s all good now) and turned my attention to work. I emailed my boss and asked her if I could work from home so I wouldn’t have to take a $45 Uber to work. She immediately told me ‘no’ I NEEDED to come in today. Which was pretty odd. She normally would be OK with me working from home.

So I take my $45 Uber to work, make it there before some of my coworkers even arrived, and started to make my coffee. As I sit back down to enjoy my morning cup, my boss asked me to come to her office. It was a little awkward, we sat on the same side of her table and I could tell something was not right.  She told me the current restructuring of the company(cutting all projects minus one) required only one Project Manager – read: not me. My projects were no longer funded or part of the companies overall output. There wasn’t much discussion to be had – 75% of our company had already been cut, it was just a matter of time for me. When she was done, I smiled and nodded and thanked her for letting me know. I felt numb. Like I was on auto-pilot.

5 Minutes Later…

Tbh, it didn’t really hit me until I sat back down and ping’d my work bestie and told her. It took me a while to type out exactly what I wanted to say, but I finally did it.

 

Last Day

We chatted back and forth for a bit about how much we were going to miss each other, and about how crazy that everyone at work was getting let go. It felt good to get some of the anxiety off of my chest.

And then she gave me some advice that I needed to hear.

“Relax during holiday, then it’s the perfect time to look for new opportunity after holiday.”

My initial reaction was “Uhh, what?! Relax?!”, but then I realized she was right.

Hmm.

I thought about her words but then I also thought about rent. And holiday gifts. And the meaning of life. The idea of relaxing stressed me the fuck out. So I left work for a few hours and went home on my lunch break to snuggle my dogs.

I felt a little like this:

Depression

One hour into wallowing on the couch with my dogs, l said out loud “I’m too bad of a bitch to be sad right now”. True statement. I then utilized my tried and true self-help/sanity preservation strategy. I headed to McDonald’s and buy two sausage burritos. Extra salsa. With Micky D’s in hand I headed back to work.

What worked:

It seems crazy when I look back at how literally 30 seconds could change my life. I went from having a steady income, health insurance and a place to get free snacks a job in general to having less than two weeks to start all over. But that’s life and I know that so many people have it way worse than I do. What worked best on my Day 1 situation was that I confided in my work bestie, snuggled my pups and had a solid self-help strategy ready to go.

What didn’t:

In hindsight, I feel like I should’ve asked more clarifying questions when she let me go – rather than just nodding. I blame shock and auto pilot. Or the fact that this was my first time getting let go.

Tuesday (Day 2)

On my way to work, I listened to some of my favorite podcasts, and decided that I was going to spend my day at work finishing up my final project and working on something for myself. That something for myself was a coding ecourse, FreeCodeCamp.org. Since I had almost finished my current/last project at work, I decided it was OK to do something for myself. I spent a few hours working on my project and then spent an hour relearning some CSS.

Then I did something that your typical Aries or anyone who is super stressed would do. I uploaded my resume to LinkedIn, and applied to about 10 different “Easy Apply” jobs.

I thought I was being ‘productive’. Lol.

What worked

Listening to the Being Boss podcast on my drive to work pumped me up to be productive. I am also happy that I worked on my final project for work – it was important for the company and I didn’t want to leave on a bad note. But what I’m most happy about is that I gave myself a little time to work on something for myself. Refreshing my web development skills.

What didn’t

Ok, this one should have been obvious for me. I shouldn’t have impulsively applied to a bunch of jobs with my general resume. Why? Because each time I got rejected, it was like an additional mini stab to the heart. Getting rejected always sucks, even though I didn’t have any investment in these specific jobs. For future applications, I will stay away from Easy Apply positions on LinkedIn. Lol.

Wednesday (Day 3)

Wednesday was pay day. I had already paid December rent with my last paycheck, so I moved money from this check to my savings for January Rent. In the memo, I put “January Rent Biatch don’t use me”. A friendly reminder to myself. I reallocated my usual monthly investing/life/savings money to rent. Just in case I couldn’t find a job! I continued to edit my final project for work, and then did a little more coding practice! I also scheduled a bunch of appointments that my current health insurance covered – an eye exam, and a physical. This ensured I was healthy and covered with a current glasses prescription for at least a year!

Towards the end of the day, I asked the office manager how many sick days(2 total) and Paid Time Off Hours(3 days) I had and if I would get paid out for them!

He said no.

Well OK then, Mental Health Day coming up! Just what the doctor ordered.

What worked:

I think reallocating money was a good move on my part. I’m lucky that I paid off all of my graduate school fees, and don’t have too many personal expenses besides housing, food and car payments. I knew that if I could set aside my usual investing/savings money for next months rent, I’d feel a little better about my whole situation. Most importantly, I am SO glad I asked about my sick and paid time off days. Because I sure as hell needed a day off.

What didn’t

You know how I impulsively applied to a bunch of jobs the previous day? Well, the rejections kept flowing in. I let them get to me, and I wish I didn’t.

Thursday (Day 4)

Seeing as I had a few sick days to use, I took a Mental Health Day. I stayed home in my PJ’s, thought about life and drank a ton of coffee. I began this blog post which helped me to digest everything that was happening. Maybe this was the push I needed to change careers? Maybe. As much as I tried to find excitement in getting let go, I always felt a little pang of disappointment in myself. Why me?

Nevertheless, I worked on this post, completely redid my resume, and did some more coding practice. The one thing I didn’t do? Apply to new jobs. My work besties words had finally sunk in. I needed to take a break.

But I did change my LinkedIn status to “Let recruiters know you’re OPEN”.

Shrug

What worked

I think taking the day off for a Mental Health Day(yes, these are important!) was crucial for me to get back in the right head space to be productive. Sometimes taking even one day off can be super stressful for people, myself included. But the energy gained from a day of rest is more productive than working through exhaustion and a crazy head space!

What didn’t

TBH I didn’t have many regrets from taking the day off. I could have maybe gone for a run – but I wasn’t feeling it. And that’s OK.

Friday (Day 5)

What’s crazy is that I already had requested Paid Time Off(PTO) for this day. I was going on a family vacation! It was a super exciting vacation to look forward to – before I got let go. Now I just felt anxious about the inevitable questions of “So, how’s work?!” “You liking your job?!” You know how it goes.

I knew these questions were coming, so I prepared for them. I came up with a one sentence conversation starter/ender. “My last week is next week and I’m excited that I finally get a break.” I chose this sentence for two reasons: One, to end the conversation by implying the next step was taking a break, and two, to try to manifest some bit of excitement for myself about getting let go.

I also knew my family would be supportive and offer loving advice. It always came from a good place. So I prepared to embrace it!

What worked

TBH I’m so happy I came up with my answer to my family’s favorite question, it was honest and straightforward. And it gave me lots of mental bandwidth to enjoy my time with them! I didn’t have to stress about what I’d say if they asked me how work was going! I knew exactly how it was going!

What didn’t

I wish I hadn’t been as stressed about my family asking about my job – those questions totaled only about 20 seconds of my entire vacation! But hindsight is 20/20, right?

 

Next Steps

For now, I’m going to force allow myself to take a break and relax. I’m going to enjoy the holidays with the people I love. I’m going to work on the book I’ve been writing and continue progressing my developing skills. I’ll create my personal portfolio page, maybe take up some freelance work. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll go back to teaching or stay in tech.

Who knows?! The world is my oyster.

Have you ever been laid off? What did you do that first week? How did it feel? Comment below!

 

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2 thoughts on “Getting Laid Off: My Story

  1. This is such an amazing and personal read. I loved it. I was in the exact same position as you (literally, was also in project management)! I 100% empathize with this and find it so brave to give this advice to others as well <3

    1. Yay PM’s unite! But really thank you so much for your kind words! I am sure hoping my story will help others know they’re not alone :]

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