Two days ago I was driving to the store for milk and lettuce to support my (fairly mundane) eating habits. I turned left on Slauson and into the on-ramp for the 90 to Marina Del Rey. Suddenly I woke up. This is not the way to the store; this is the way to the job that I felt happy and secure in, three days ago.
Yes, I have been “laid off.” This is a first for me and I was unprepared for the emotions that it brought up. I needed a little refresher on the Five Stages of Grief to make sense of it. Hopefully I won’t be getting to Stage Four. I’ve never been prone to depression and don’t expect it now; but I didn’t expect the others either.
The experience itself? I came into work on Monday to find the parking lot less full than usual. I got my coffee as always and went to my desk. It was eerily quiet everywhere in the office. I answered three emails from London, knowing that they would be leaving the office soon. I checked for new projects in my queue. I went for another cup of coffee and noticed that my section was empty. Ominous. My Manager saw me, seemed flustered, and said “do you have a minute?”
Down the hall and into an office, seated across from the head of HR. She got straight to the point and continued on, but after the first few sentences I was sealed in a cocoon of numb shock. Vacation pay, severance, COBRA and finally reaching behind her desk while asking if I needed a box for my things.