How It Feels to Lose Your Job

by Al Getler

 

“You work for 30 years because you think that what you do makes a difference, you think it matters to people, but then you wake up one morning and find out, well no, you’ve made a little error there, you’re expendable. I should be laughing.” –  Glenn Holland on the news his job was eliminated in the film “Mr. Holland’s Opus”

 

Al Getler Headshot - 600x600When you change your job, you leave behind a lot of people, accomplishments and memories.  When you lose your job suddenly, you lose all of this and quite a bit of your soul. Quite frankly, it hurts.

On a sunny morning in 2004, I had a flight from the Columbus, Ohio airport to Washington DC. I was headed to an industry convention to meet with a headhunter. There was an exciting prospect for a job in the Boston area.  Since my wife and I had always felt called to live in New England for no particular reason other than a feeling, we were very excited.

While waiting for my flight, I browsed the books in the airport book store when a fabulous title caught my attention.

“Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass: A Survival Guide for the Recently Unemployed” by Michael Blastoff leapt out at me.  As I was between permanent positions (the polite term) in my industry (newspaper), I was intrigued by the book’s fetching title. Even though I had immediately gone back to work in friend’s advertising and branding agency, I wanted to get back into my chosen industry.

Landing-on-the-Right-Side-of-Your-Ass-194x300On the flight to and from Washington, I read the book one and one half times. This guy Laskoff managed to tap into everything I was feeling after having been layed-off. I had gone through every stage he described after losing my job and his comedic approach to describing the feelings I had and the steps to recovery are lessons I have shared with many people.

The Dreaded Moment: The Real ‘You’re Fired”

After the 2003 holiday season had come to an end, I was ready to get back to the job I loved at a newspaper company. I had been real sick just before the holidays and then came a week’s vacation, so I was ripe to return.

It was a Monday. The weather was gray and cold and large snowflakes fell intermittently. I had just shaken the chill from my walk back from lunch as I sat in my office checking email. That was when the grim reaper popped his head into my office and asked me to come to his office. I could smell death.

As I walked into the grim reaper’s office, I saw the regional HR vice president sitting in a chair. The grim reaper started speaking. At first I didn’t hear him (the sound was more like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice in those old cartoons) and then I interrupted him.

“Why? Why the hell would you do this?”

for the rest of the blog post…

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