When work leaves you speechless

I went to work last Tuesday and was looking forward to a productive day. I was light on meetings and was excited about getting some things checked off my list. Of course, that’s when the real fun began. For the second time in four years, I got told that I had been laid off. My first thought, “Oh great, here we go again.”  

The first time I was laid off my coworkers and I saw the writing on the wall. We were in the middle of the pandemic, and the firm was losing money faster than employees calling out sick with the Coronavirus. The timing surprised me a bit more this time. Oh, I’ve been paying attention to the news and have noticed Amazon, Google, Twitter, and many others announcing layoffs. However, when a senior manager sent me an invite for a last-minute meeting, my mind started spinning. With so many IT projects and large-scale changes in the works, I thought for sure we’d have a few more months. 

Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.

Good news, bad news

The irony of my layoff was that I got the news on my one-year anniversary at the firm. In a span of a few hours, I went from getting a system-generated email from the CEO of the company saying, “Oh, we’re so happy to have you, we think you’re swell” to being pulled into an impromptu meeting with a manager and HR rep and being told, “Be sure to drop off your badge, and don’t let the door kick you on the way out!”

It wasn’t quite like that, but you get my drift. 

In the following days, I’ve gone through a myriad of emotions, sadness, anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance and then back to the beginning. Many of my peers — 300 or so employees — have talked about grieving the loss of their jobs and I think there’s some truth to the comment. It feels very similar to grieving the loss of a loved one.

Image by Anna Shvets via Pexels.

Seeing the positives

The day we got the news, my immediate coworkers joked about taking the rest of the day off and going out for Bloody Mary’s, Margaritas, and beers. My splurge? I’ve been a big Diet Pepsi drinker for much of my life. I gave it up recently to take better care of my health and have done a good job of staying away from it, at least until I got the news. When I went for a short drive to collect my thoughts, I splurged and gulped down a Diet Pepsi and a super-sized pack of Peanut M&Ms. Oh the little things. 

I’m still a bit numb about that news, but I’m laughing. I think that’s a good thing. Oh, I know there are some frustrating days in front of me, but I’m grateful that I got to work with great people, learned a ton from my job, and I’m glad too that I have the support of my wife and family. 

I’ve learned over the years from other huge changes, you may have lots of decisions and challenges in front of you, but what matters most, is simply getting yourself in the right mindset and taking the next step. The step or action is irrelevant, what matters is to keep moving forward. Yes, I’ll get to where I need, I just need to take one step at a time.

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51 thoughts on “When work leaves you speechless

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    1. Thank you Granny! Yes, I’m interested to see what new opportunities come along too. I’m trying to keep an open mind and not jump into something that’s really not a great fit. And yes, I’m trying to keep my sense of humor. Thankfully my family is making sure I don’t lose that!

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  1. I’m so sorry to hear this Brian. I know the system can be different in the US. Did you get any notice? I can understand the shock, and yes the emotions you are feeling are very similar to the grief cycle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the system is definitely different in the US versus Canada or Europe. I was notified on a Tuesday and my formal cut-off day was the following day. I’ll get a limited severance and medical insurance package. I worry more about a single mother who’s on my team and some of my peers who are in tougher situations. I’m fortunate, we’ll be okay. The sun came up today . . . that’s a good start!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hated hearing this news, Brian. You’re a gem and I guess that’s the worst part of the whole layoff business….it IS business, devoid (IMHO) of consideration of people as assets. Financial decisions, I get that, but it still stinks. And the sting you described of the ‘woo-hoo – you’re celebrating one year’ in a robo email followed by the ‘drop your badge on the way out’ chat is bizarre, thoughtless. You – (and all of your colleagues in the same situation) deserved better.
    Here’s to you – your talent and the certainty that a new opportunity awaits. And if it helps, I’m so happy to hear you hit the Diet Pepsi and peanut M&M’s as comfort food. Yeah, man! Be good to yourself right now. Sending big hugs – I’m here to cheer you on…anytime! ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s early so I’m pretty optimistic now. I know things could be much worse. I feel like I have small parachute. Hopefully it won’t be a long search. And yes, you’re right, layoffs are scary and businesses really miss the boat. I see so many different opportunities where the company could have reinvested in its people and positioned itself for a strong recovery, but hey it’s their decision. I’m better off. I find something better. And thank you for the hugs and laughs. Very much appreciated. Onward and upward.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry, Brian 😔 “When I went for a short drive to collect my thoughts, I splurged and gulped down a Diet Pepsi and a super-sized pack of Peanut M&Ms. Oh the little things.” Well of all the ways you could have reacted, that sounds pretty healthy to me, considering the circumstances. I know that sometimes, there just aren’t any words, but oh, my heart goes out to you…🙏💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Patti. Your last comment means more than you’ll ever know. I appreciate the encouragement. I’m fine and will figure this out, but it’s still good to hear the positive thoughts. I’m not sure anyone will pay me, but maybe my next job will be as a permanent blogger! Ha, ha. I’m laughing already!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Obviously I’m sorry this happened to you and find the irony of the situation to be heavy-handed. I mean really. But I also like your take that moving on is a matter of “simply getting yourself in the right mindset and taking the next step.” You’re wise to know that in order to keep yourself sane in a crazy world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you Ally. The irony was not lost on me. If you’re going to lay off a large group of folks, don’t you check first to make sure that you don’t see out a silly congratulations like that. You obviously don’t care about your people. I’m better off moving on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Brian, I’m so sorry to hear this. Talk about a punch in the gut. As someone else has commented, you will go through a grieving process and will have some emotional ups and downs as you work your way towards the door opening to new opportunities. Your sense of humor will help get you through this, that and a little more junk food!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m very sorry about the bad news, Brian. You have a great attitude – and gulp that Pepsi down – and I’m wishing you a speedy recovery from these recent events.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about the layoff, Brian. It so tough, especially when unexpected. It sounds like you’re taking it in stride, though. If you’re having a rough day, allow yourself the Diet Pepsi and M&Ms… the little things really do help. Wishing you all the best on the next leg of your journey!

    Also, if you’re open to sharing your line of work, perhaps some readers may have some contacts or leads that may help. (It sounds like you may be in IT? Federal contractors offering IT support services are very stable though downturns, so that’s an idea, if applicable.)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was caught up in two closing/relocation layoffs at back-to-back career stops, and not only were they my two favorite positions I ever had, but my career never really returned to the level I hoped to achieve. I certainly treated myself to some comfort food after those instances to be sure. Bring on the Diet Pepsi and Peanut M&M’s! In my opinion, your background puts you in a favorable position towards getting a new role soon. That skill set has to be in demand if you are in fact looking to stay in that line of work. Wishing you all the best, Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Bruce . . . I can’t say that this stop was one of my favorite ones, mainly because it was just a year, but I still feel fortunate. I’m in a pretty good position to land on my feet. It’s a crazy market, but I’m keeping a positive attitude. Thanks for the well wishes and encouragement. Very much appreciate them!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this news, Brian. What a rotten thing to do to a good employee(s). I know they say when one door closes, another door opens – It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s often true. I’m glad to hear your family are keeping your chin up. The Diet Coke and M&Ms sound like a very sensible options under the circumstances. I’m sure you needed a bit of comfort food right then. I do hope something else comes your way very soon. In the meantime, you’ll have loads of time to write, which is a bit of a bonus. I will be reading more about your journey forwards as the days go by. Lots of luck to you, Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry about this, Brian! But your title for this post about getting laid off as a communications person is the best ever – and proves what a great communications guy you are!

    The juxtaposition of the 1 year anniversary and the lay off. Wow wow wow. And so funny in the timing with your wife going back to work too.

    I’m so glad you are seeing the bright side (but not surprised). I hope this opens the door to the next great thing for you – because you are amazing! Sending good vibes!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thanks for getting the irony Wynne. Sort of crazy timing, but what are can you do!!!! I’m trying to see the bright side. Thanks so much for the encouragement, it means a lot. it feels strange to have my schedule changed on me, but I know good things are coming.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure I’m handling in stride, but I’ll get there eventually. The optimism comes and goes. It’s a strange word to use, but I do feel blessed/fortunate. Some of my peers are in tougher situations, a single mother, another in a tougher job market. I’ll manage. Definitely looking to see what’s behind door #3. Ha, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t mean to minimize your situation. I imagine you are grieving and the surprise and sudden nature of the news makes it more difficult. I also imagine that just trying to wrap your head around the news would take some time. It sounds like you’re being calm about it is all I meant. (But really, what do I know? You could be the opposite of calm which would be ok too but just not what I’ve picked up in what I’ve read.) Here’s wishing door #3 holds many good things behind it!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my Brian. You seem to have gotten caught in the Great Universal Upheaval that is occurring amidst this amazing Saturn in Pisces event that is changing each of us to the core. It’s all good—if not just also a little confounding and confusing—but I am reminded of the old adage, “When one door closes another opens”. I know the old door didn’t kick you on the way out, and that the new one will welcome you with open doorknobs. Who knows—maybe it’s a door of your own making. God bless Brian, and keep the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

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