It completely blindsided me. I was part of management, and knew that layoffs were coming. I just didn't know one of them would be mine.
So when I was called in to a meeting with my supervisor, her supervisor and the HR person... I figured it out pretty quickly.
The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes. I was told what was happening, told what my severance situation would be, and a few minutes into it, I was overcome with emotion and began to cry.
Unprofessional. I wish I had handled it better. About 25 months later, I'd get laid off again. I didn't cry then. It still hurt, but I did better.
Losing a job sucks. It makes you question yourself in soul-shaking ways, even when you have no reason to. On April 23, 2009, among more than a dozen others, the most qualified person in his position was also let go. Personally, I feel like I was the far-and-away most productive person at my level. In fact, I was basically doing three jobs in one. And I guess that's why getting the axe shocked me so much.
I have a number of conspiracy theories about who got cut and why. It won't do me much good to review that. What's encouraging is that among my friends who suddenly found themselves without work that day:
* One has taken his extraordinary skills on a cross-country trek and gotten far, far away from those people. I still think he could play in a bigger arena and truly shine -- he's that good. But as long as he is happy, I am happy for him.
* One who had a very sick child has managed to start a career path with a reputable company and is advancing. In a place with limited opportunity, I'm very proud of his accomplishments. He's finally getting the respect he deserves.
* One who was actually torn about fulfilling her professional obligations and pursuing her dreams had the decision made for her, and it was the best thing that could have happened. She took a life-affirming trip, got an advanced degree and is just now starting to make a major mark. It's exciting.
* One exceptional young talent used the opportunity to develop his skills online, starting a mini-movement in his community and leveraged that into a reliable gig with a promising future.
Unfortunately my career has stalled to some extent. I landed a job about a month after the layoff, but it only lasted two years before the economy claimed it (and that of a few others). Snakebit.
I got a part-time job last year but had to leave it when we moved. Here, I've been able to substitute teach a little, and that not only brings in some income but rewards my heart as well.
Yesterday, I got a callback for a preliminary interview. It has sparked my hopes but a long period of underemployment makes me temper my enthusiasm. I don't want to hope too much.