No sooner than I discussed my frustrations with my job, the company I worked for decided they could no longer keep up with the competition in the Audiology/Hearing Instrument Sales Industry, and axed my position to stop their "financial bleed" within the corporation. The irony of the situation still gets me.
Here I was complaining about how burned out I was, how tired I was of the office politics, and the general dissatisfaction with the way the company manned it’s ship. It’s a good thing I brought my life preserver when that ship finally sank.
In the 15 years of my employment history, I’ve never been laid off. Actually, I’ve never been canned. And while I wasn’t technically fired, it still hurt the same. It still felt like a slap in the face. One day I had a job, the next day I didn’t.
When the boss uttered those fateful words, "we can’t afford to keep you on staff," I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or an insult, and my first instinct was to cry. All I could picture in my mind was Donald Trump, as his signature, "You’re Fired!"
Surprisingly, I held in my emotions until I turned in my key and I choked back tears as I gathered my box of things and walked to my car.
What the hell just happened here? What do I do now? What is the next step?
This was unchartered territory for me. As I was driving to daycare to pick up my son, I started to cry. I had to painfully explain to Dawson’s caregiver that he wouldn’t be there for some time, until I found a job.
Shucks. I have to find a job. I have to go through the want-ads, the interview process, all of it — all over again.
I felt sick to my stomach. The knots were tightening and I could feel the stress rising to my chest.
I’m going to throw up.
When I got home, I was so emotionally exhausted. The financial worries began to fill my head.
How will we pay the bills? The mortgage, the utilities, the insurance? Will we have to tap into the savings? What savings, dummy, you’ve barely got enough for a month!
I called my father first. Like a lost little girl, I wanted my dad to console me, to offer his advice. Actually, I was stalling. I dreaded the moment I would have to call my husband at work to tell him the awful news.
"Sometimes, getting canned is the best thing that can happen to a person," my father said.
"Ugh, Daddy. Such an awful word. Canned. Fired. But it wasn’t because of something I did. They couldn’t afford to keep me. That’s what they said. I was good at my job." I sobbed.
"I know that. You know that. I’m sure they know that. This economy just sucks. I don’t think they wanted to let you go." he assured me.
"I know. I do know." It still didn’t make me feel better.
"Listen," Dad said. "Losing a job is what lit a fire under my ass which enabled me to be self-employed. Things will work out."
I knew he was right, but that didn’t make my next step any easier. Telling my husband was so terrifying. I worried about his reaction. Even though I had no control over losing my job and no notice as to what would happen, I didn’t know if my husband could handle this burden.
"You’re joking. This is a practical joke, right?" he asked.
"Um, no. I wouldn’t kid about this." I cried into the phone.
"Shut up. For real? You’re really out of a job?"
It was my silence and sobs that confirmed the seriousness of the situation. He mumbled some swear words under his breath, and I could tell he was just as terrified as I was.
That was a difficult day for my family. The next day was worse. I really didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself, but the pity washed over me like a cold shower.
As the days went by, I realized I’m not the first person to lose a job, that others in this country have it worse than I do, that I really had no right to sulk. But when I perused the job postings in our local paper as well as an online employment source, reality sunk in. There were no jobs available that I was qualified for.
I’m not an OTR truck driver. I can barely drive my own car. I’m not an LPN or RPN or CPN, so those listings were out. The only hospital job I’d get would be as a volunteer.
I have no experience with chemical engineering, unless cleaning the toilet counts. I don’t have a background in elementary education, so a substitute teacher position wouldn’t suit me.
Is this what jobless Americans have to look at day after day, after day? How do they survive? How do they manage?
Even now, three weeks later, I’m no closer to finding a suitable job. I mean sure, I could work at Walmart, but the scheduling would be horrendous on my family life.
What’s a jobless gal like me to do?
After making adjustments in our budget and finances, my husband and I discovered that we’re not destitute.
The money we’re saving on daycare, gasoline and my fast-food lunches is enough to pay the necessities like phone and electricity. We just have learn to stretch the almighty dollar (that’s another post entirely).
As I navigate the want-ads and mail out resumes left and right, I can’t help but wonder how this will play out.
Right now I’m okay. I’m enjoying my family time and my house has never been cleaner. I still don’t know what happens next in this new chapter of my life, but I’m not afraid to navigate the stormy waters.
Maybe getting fired was a blessing in disguise. Pardon the pun, but I’m "fired up". This experience has taught me that I really can handle the unexpected.
Stay tuned for next month’s Adverntures in Interviewland. When did telephone interviews become the norm?