As someone who has not been unemployed since I was 15 (that’s over 25 years ago,) and has never (until very recently) been fired, I’ll tell you, it is a totally new sensation.
Before I continue with this story, I would like to state that I understand that firing an employee is a business decision, and I hold no animosity towards the company or the people involved; it totally made sense for them. This is me trying to make it make sense for me.
Let me start with the moment I walked into my boss’ office and saw the HR representative sitting there, that ‘s the moment my brain said “Brace yourself; you’re in for a bumpy ride.”
My body and mind felt numb as they handed me my termination papers, and as they talked about what I was entitled to, the words swirled around in my brain, not really making any sense. I know the word “okay” tumbled out of my mouth every so often, while my eyes scanned the words on the paper, but didn’t fully digest them. Their mouths moved, and I tried to listen, but I heard nothing until they said the words “effective immediately.” That set off a small panic button for me, as I tried to figure out what everything meant, and what I would need/want to take with me.
Then, a few, short moments later, the talk was done, and I was rising from my seat unsure I would be able to steady myself. I hugged my boss (we had a great relationship,) and even found myself trying to comfort her because I knew she was having a seriously crappy day too, and while I could only get fired once, she had to go through the process again.
At this point, I headed back to my desk, somewhat bewildered, and was thankful the office had cleared out for lunch. An IT person came and deleted my work email from my phone, while I pulled personal files from my computer. Then, I forced myself to my feet and walked, dazed, out the door, down the stairs, and to my car. The numbness continued as I sat in my car and phoned my husband.
If you know me, you know I am very emotional, but I didn’t cry until I had to say the words: “I was fired.” My voice cracked, and the emotions that had been building were finally released. Tom reminded me that this wasn’t really a surprise; I had been speculating for weeks. I could relax now because it was over. My response? “I guess I don’t have any reason not to clean the house now,” cause that’s exactly what he was worried about, I’m sure. His response was equally funny; “Can you bring me a coffee when you come home?”
It’s been 4 days now, and I still wake up every morning panicked that I’m going to be late, or that I should be doing something for work. Then reality sets in. Emotionally I am drained because I have been on this emotional roller coaster. It started with the initial shock, and moved to excited, then overwhelmed with prospects, then amazed with all the support I have received. I then move to worried about the future, analyzing what went wrong, why me? I try to enjoy the freedom, then I hate the freedom. Now? Now I’m at the point where I pick myself up, brush myself off, and move on.
I still feel these emotions almost every day, but I don’t let myself linger on the negative feelings, and I try to amplify the positive, because I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and whatever comes next, I’m going to rock it!