5 Stages Of Grief: Laid Off Edition

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“Your position has been eliminated, effective today.”

Not the words you want to hear at 8 am on a Wednesday. Three years and a promotion later, I never thought I’d actually hear these words in my manager’s voice. It wasn’t even a face to face termination. Granted, the HR person was in the room, but nonetheless, it still stung.

Let me take through a tour of my emotions in the two hours after hearing those words.

1. Denial

Wait, what? You mean today? What about my projects? What does eliminated even mean? I’m being fired? This can’t be right. It can’t be today! Who’s going to do my job? Are you sure about this?

2. Anger

Are you kidding me right now? I just got a raise a few weeks ago! This is crazy. There are no grounds, just restructuring. Why me? I’m the only one who got called to this room. What is going on? Who put management up to this? I have an excellent work ethic, even though I’m incredibly guilty of blasting 1D from my earphones sometimes. I’m not even sorry, I’m 24 after all.

3. Bargaining

What did I do wrong? Scratch that, what can I do better? I mean, I should probably turn in my reports a day early, but I make the deadline every time! What do you mean “this isn’t performance related, it’s just that the company is changing”? Seriously, why me?

Do you need a spreadsheet of current projects and where they are in my drive?

4. Depression

I have to walk back to my desk and get my purse because the HR person is walking me out. Oh my God, this is the workplace edition of a walk of shame. You mean I don’t even get to say goodbye to those I got along with? Wait, my personal effects will be couriered to me? Are you actually saying that I will never have to come back to this office again? Be assaulted by the smell of the burger joint downstairs again?

I drive home in tears, being consoled by a good friend, dreading the inevitable phone calls to my family that I just lost my job. My precious job I got right out of university, one that has taken me to wonderful places, got eliminated. That’s right. Eliminated.

I call the coworkers I work most closely with. Tears are shed. I’m sad I won’t work with such awesome people anymore. This is depressing. I learned so much from them, laughed so much with them. Now I’m not one of them.

5. Acceptance

It’s noon and instead of having a sad desk lunch, I’m at home and sending out the “it’s been such a pleasure working with you all for the past three years” email from my personal account. I’m looking at the number associated with my severance. Maybe I can do something with this.

It’s going to be weird not going to work tomorrow though. TC mark

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