I Had a Job. Now I Don’t.

I am not, by nature, a sharer.  This is a strange fact for a person writing a blog but it is true about me nonetheless.  By now, if you’ve read my first post or the background information, you know that I lost my job.  This is the thing about me people want to know the most about – and so I will oblige.

I had a job.  It was a pretty good job – it was in my intended post-graduation field.  It paid a living wage.  It had a lot of what I was looking for at the time – autonomy, small staff, connection to the public, an opportunity to take ideas and run with them.  I was pretty happy, all things considered.

Jobs change, over time, as do people.  The hours get longer, the projects get harder, the budgets shrink, the demands increase, and suddenly, the ideal job becomes less and less ideal.  As I became more frustrated, my performance suffered.  Because my performance suffered, the work environment got more frustrating.  Insert vicious circle here.

Then, the day comes. If you have ever been fired from or quit a job before, you know what the day is.  You go into a meeting with your boss [and possibly human resources, if you have that sort of thing], you say what you have to say, they say what they need to say, and you walk out of that meeting and go home for good.  It’s a jarring experience.

In my circumstance, the parting was mutual but it didn’t make it any easier.  I still had to listen as my employer noted the reasons why they felt like it was time for me to go.  I had to vocalize my unhappiness, something I rarely do to authority figures.  You have to look at your final paycheck and confront the financial realities of what just happened.

One of my readers asked what I did when I left the building.  It was honestly a blur.  I was dog-sitting for close friends and remember taking the two larger dogs on a walk and crying.  I prefer to cry in solitude, if at all.  I called my best friend/roommate to inform her that drinking would be necessary.  I spent a couple days wallowing, going to happy hour at 3:30 pm and using the dogs as an excuse to avoid sunlight before then.  I waited an entire week before I told my parents.

A few days after that, I hit the job search.  I polished my resume.  I started to telling people, many of whom knew me solely through my professional affiliation, that I had broken off on my own.  I developed a new, non-working routine.  It took me about two weeks to realize that I was happier than I had been in a year.

Leaving a job is never easy – especially if you don’t have another one waiting for you.  For me, though, it was the right thing to do and whenever I start to doubt that [like when my parents ask me how the hunt is going or when I realize my bar fund is dangerously low], I just remember how I felt this time last year and I feel much better.

Want to share a job-leaving experience?  Email postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dotcom] with how it went and you coped!

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15 thoughts on “I Had a Job. Now I Don’t.

  1. I can relate to your comment “It took me about two weeks to realize that I was happier than I had been in a year.”

    It’s not exactly a job situation, but i actually just expressed similar sentiments to Heather last night. I have been on a crazy, 14 hour day schedule with classes, work, and interning for almost a year. I just finished up my first of two necessary internships two weeks ago and while I know that I need to have already started my second one in order to graduate at the end of December as planned, I can’t seem to push myself to even start looking.

    Truth is I am so much less stressed and anxious now that I have a regular daily schedule that I am happier than I have been in almost a year. That realization is really making me reevaluate my timeline and plan for finishing my degree.

    • I think anyone’s initial reaction to being unemployed, even if you know it’s coming or it’s something that you choose, it’s always shock. We spend a great deal of time preparing for “the real world” and when that busy-busy-busy schedule/mentality changes, there’s a definite period of adjustment.

      I’m becoming a firm believer that, as a generation, we can redefine what success and work looks and feels like. 14 hour days should not be the modus operandi for anyone – it’s crazy!

      Thanks for all your great comments 🙂

  2. I have been sporadic and fortunate enough to never to have gone through this. Its always temp work or internships where there is always an end date already set.

    Whew.

    I know the day will come though. Egads.

    Good on you, for sharing this, Becca.

    • I think I was very fortunate in that it was mutual, had been something that was discussed, and I knew what was going to happen. Not everyone is that fortunate in these situations. No matter how it happens though, it’s very weird to go from working to not working.

  3. I stumbled upon this blog, and it’s comforting to know there are other people out there that are going through the same thing I am.

    I graduated from Penn State in 2008 with a communications degree (also known as the degree that guarantees poverty for the first part of your 20s). I moved to Maryland, and dealt with not one, but two terrible jobs. On that I left on my own and one that I’m currently being let go from the current one because I applied to graduate school.

    I’m a hard worker and love to stay busy, so I know going through the initial shock period of losing a job that I didn’t even particular like, is going to be tough. You expressed the feelings people go through perfectly. Best of luck with everything!

  4. Checking out your blog for the first time after you commented on mine! When I saw the title to this post on your sidebar I knew I had to read it first.

    When I left the office for the last time (when I got laid off in January) it was much the same for me….I cried in private, then stayed home and finished all the chores I hadn’t done before because I was always so tired after work. I attended a birthday party that night and kept my mouth shut because I knew I’d burst into tears. I knew it was coming for several months, but it was still pretty hard to deal with.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting, because otherwise I wouldn’t have found your blog!

    • Thanks for checking out the blog and all your great comments!

      Thanks for sharing your experience – I definitely went through that period where I felt like if I had to tell people (especially people who knew me solely through my work), I would cry! It’s definitely a difficult process and one people don’t like to talk about, which makes you feel like you’re going through it alone.

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