Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beware the Ides of March...

Okay, to be fair, it was a little after the Ides of March... but it was in March, all the same.

I got laid off.
Actually, my entire department got laid off, not just me.

Ugh, I know.  Being laid off sucks under ordinary circumstances, but in my case, it was from a job I loved.  A job I had poured my heart into for nearly three years.  Not only did I love the work I did, but I loved everyone I worked with... the team was pretty much like an extended family.  I felt like we were all working together toward an honorable goal: teaching the world to program.

After having the rug pulled out from under me, it's taken me some time to figure out how to talk about it. I've needed to compose myself a bit.

If you've ever been broken up with before a relationship has run its course, you'll know how I feel.  At first, I blamed myself and searched high and low for the reason why I was laid off. Surely there was something I had done wrong -- something I could fix -- and therefore, something I could do to make things right again.  Maybe I shouldn't have drank that Diet Dr. Pepper that was in the fridge on Friday.

These thoughts were pretty irrational, obviously.  I had been a team player for my entire tenure,  and for what it's worth, those Dr. Peppers were for everyone.  I hadn't done anything wrong.

Next, I started in with the "but we..."  Again, if you've been broken up with, you'll be familiar with those thoughts: "but we were going to see the cherry blossom festival in DC" and "but we never got to watch Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon!" It seems cruel and unusual to get the rug pulled out from under you when you have projects in the works.  At work, we had not one, not two, but THREE shows that were currently either in production or slated to begin production within the next month.  We had just hired two new on-camera hosts, and we were headed to NYC to shoot in the YouTube studios.  We had bought new equipment, finalized scripts, and locked down the locations we needed.

But... nope.

Then came the insecurity.  Like someone dropped back into the dating pool after a long relationship, I  found myself navigating unfamiliar systems (unemployment) and scanning job boards, only to find what I feared: there aren't any jobs.  When my boss let us go, he said "Don't worry, you're going off into a good job market."  This may be true, but I've yet to see evidence of it. Even jobs I should be qualified for come with daunting new requirements, like knowledge of Drupal, or 10 years experience managing social media accounts.  Despite my years of experience and my pending masters degree (which I will receive in a mere five months), I seem to find myself applying for an awful lot of jobs that have the word intern somewhere in the title.

Despite it all, I'm trying to think of my unemployment as an extended vacation. Finally, some time to read all those books I've never gotten around to, clear out the Netflix queue, focus on finishing up my masters program, and complete my young adult novel.  In theory, that sounds great.  In reality, however, anxiety has other ideas. What if you never get another job you like as much? it says. What if your unemployment runs out before you find anything at all? What if you have to go back to... gasp... retail?

If I ignore our old friend anxiety, this is an exciting time: The world is pretty much my oyster.  With regards to employment, I can pursue anything I want.  But at the same time, getting laid off has deflated some of my confidence. Although it's been a few weeks, every time I open up a job search site I find myself saying, "I can't believe I got laid off!"  It's such a strange feeling. A combination of opportunity and fear, with a side of disbelief.

I'll pull through, of course. Just thought y'all might like to know why it's been a little quiet on my end. :)

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