There are things in life that no amount of preparation can make you ready to deal with the reality of, like the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job in a rapidly shrinking economy. You can plan, you can reason with yourself, you can stiffen your upper lip all you like, but when the thing hits you, it’s always so much harder than you imagined.
Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with the former in several years now, although the gray in my beard and the bags beneath my eyes remind me every day that death is indeed inevitable. But as of yesterday afternoon, I was laid off from my rather lucrative day job, where I had barely been for long enough to get settled in.
There’s been a massive sea change in my industry that stood to upend my company completely, and in the interest of battening down the hatches, my employer decided to forego the projects I’d been working on in favor of a leaner operation. I can’t say I blame him; I was quite literally the fifth wheel of our five-man operation, and the project I was working on involved building our business in a direction we could no longer go. Therefore, I had to go.
My boss was kind enough to pay me through the end of the month – essentially an entire paycheck – plus I’m pretty sure he gave me a little bonus on top of it. Along with a good reference and the work portfolio I’ve put together, I suppose it’s better than I could have hoped for. I’ve known it was coming for a while now, and had been scrambling to jump ship well in advance. But being a year from forty with no college education and no specialty skill set tends to keep my resume low in the stack, and as they say, the rest is history.
All things considered, things could be a whole lot worse, up to and including my handling of the situation. This is the sixth job I’ve either been fired or laid off from in the last five years. It gets harder and harder to bounce back from that every time. But over the last couple of years, I’ve done more to prepare myself for the sad inevitability of events like this than I have in literal decades. I’ve got nearly two years of therapy under my belt, and I’ve finally started taking the right medications that allow me to get my head on straight and keep it that way.
I’ve also got a great support system in the form of several lovely people that have come into my life over the last year or so, like my girlfriend, who is my much champion as I am hers; my lovely roommates, with whom I’ve started to form quite the happy little dysfunctional family; and of course, my parents, whom I’m finally beginning to realize that I’m never going to stop needing as long as I live. They are my everything, warts and all, and I wouldn’t trade either of them for the world.
Obviously, it’s too soon to tell how all of this will play out. It’s time for me to batten down my hatches as well, and take things one day at a time. The silver lining in all this is that I suddenly have a lot more free time with which to rev up production on the podcast, and hopefully get it out sooner than anticipated. It also means that if you were ever thinking about supporting Pink Elephants, now would be a very, very good time.
Storms like these always come. I’m just glad that this time, I have somewhere to go.