Life After Layoff
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“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”―
When I started this blog in 2014, after my husband and I had lost our jobs, I thought of it as an online diary—a place to exorcise those dark thoughts—What happened? How did we end up here? When will it end?—that looped through my mind.
Writing it all down was therapeutic. (If you're struggling with something, I highly recommend putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Even if you never share it with another soul or ball it up and toss it to your cat, it may help.)
Another reason I began chronicling our mutual unemployment and the arduous task of finding new jobs was because, despite all the career advice that existed, I couldn't find anything that addressed the "Holy sh!t!"-ness of our situation.
There were plenty of resume, cover letter, and interview tips out there, but I wanted to hear from someone who'd lived it, someone who could say, "Yes, I'm wide awake at 2 a.m. licking Dorito dust off my fingertips and wondering how it all went south."
So I wrote the thing I wanted to read (hat tip to Toni Morrison). Of course, when I started this eight years ago, I couldn't imagine that I'd be laid off twice more. (Though, let's be real, it has given me oodles of material!)
Yet sometimes I look back and think, Is this too much? Am I oversharing?
If you're shaking your head and saying, "That horse left the barn a long time ago, Liz! You wrote a whole damn memoir about this, remember?" I'd say, "Point taken. But still...."
Then, a few weeks ago, I received a message from someone who'd lost their job suddenly, and as is often the case these days, it happened in a swift and undignified fashion that left them with zero closure.
They were distraught, reeling, filled with anxiety and self-doubt. They reached out because they'd read a few of my pieces and wanted to commiserate. They asked how to make peace with what happened and move forward.
I knew that no matter how much empathy I wanted my words to convey, they wouldn't be enough. Still, I told them the first days are often the hardest, when the wound is still fresh. I encouraged them to seek immediate help if they were considering self-harm. I reminded them that they are so much more than whoever their former job title suggested they were. I told them I'd help any way I could, to stay in touch, to keep the faith that better days lay ahead.
They thanked me and said it was nice to "talk" to someone who understood. Two weeks later, I reached out to ask how things were going. I received a quick response. They'd just returned from a job interview for a dream position. It had gone so well, they'd been asked to lunch with the company president. They said they'd begun to view the job loss not as an ending but a fresh start. I was thrilled to read it.
I felt the same way after my most recent layoff. (Perhaps the third time really is the charm?)
Since losing my job in February, I've taken some time to regroup. How have I spent it? I've been finishing up a new manuscript (with mixed results). I've been helping my mom clean out my childhood home as she prepares to sell it. (If you need extra buttons or Cheerios coupons that never expire, hit me up. My mom's got hundreds of each I've learned.) I've been attempting (again with mixed results) to promote my domestic suspense novel, The Perfect Neighborhood, which comes out July 12. I'd be thrilled if you considered pre-ordering it. But books are expensive, and with food and gas prices sprouting up faster than my chin hair, I'd be equally delighted if you asked your library to order a copy. To Alison Y who already did:
What's next for me? I'm not quite sure, and I'm okay with that. I'm taking my own advice, believing better days lay ahead.
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you are well!