A couple of years I ago I had pleasure of losing a job with a company I’d worked with for a dozen years give or take. It was an awful, awkward, humiliating, freeing, challenging, and a growing season. It’s not my favorite memory but it’s part of the journey that got me where I am today. And I’m in a job I’m excited about and work with people I enjoy and I’m doing work that inspires me. I’m pretty much over it … except when the occasional awkward encounter would remind me that I’m not.
My situation was unusual. The whole story wasn’t told nor should it have been. It wasn’t for the masses. I have no idea what people think happened; which to a control freak like me is disconcerting. Because of the way things went down, questions occasionally come up in conversation. It’s awkward but survivable. It’s usually pretty easy to side step the land mines and change the subject. Those moments sting but they don’t leave a mark.
The worst scenario is when you run into coworkers for the first time. 12ish years with a company is a long time. You get to know lots of people in varying capacities and some of those people cross the line between co-worker and friend. It hurts when people you considered friends don’t reach out to you after that situation. It’s even more hurtful when years go by and they never reached out to you. I know there are lots of reasons people don’t and it’s not all personally directed at me. But it sure is hard not to take it that way.
So I find myself face to face and the loudest conversation is one going on in my head over the “it’s great to see you” chit chat. Seems like those moments are harder for me to navigate because I can’t help but respond emotionally, while I’m trying to keep my game face on the outside, I’m struggling with the emotional memories of hurt and betrayal layered on embarrassment and anger that the situation created. It’s hard not to spiral down into a puddle of self pity right there. Even though I’m happy where I am and for the most part I’ve moved on from the situation, one unplanned for encounter takes me right back to all those feelings.
I care less about the embarrassment and awkwardness than I do about my response to it. I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me NOT to allow bitterness to build and resentment to take hold. I don’t want to carry that around. I want to leave all that behind and move forward. But dang, it’s hard.
I wonder how much time passes before you stop feeling this way?
If you know someone who has lost a job, give them some time to get over it and then give them a call or send them a text or an email. It’s nice to be acknowledged as a person who’s going through a difficult time . It’s nice to be reminded you’re not just a person who did a job that had something to do with their job who no longer works in the next office over. I didn’t know that before. I do now.