An unexpected layoff: Sometimes a door closing is just a door closing

A little black humor helps me cope with a black day.

An unexpected layoff is not far removed from the death of a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, depending on how emotionally attached you are to the job. One minute you have a lot of responsibility, a place to go in the morning, and people to hang out with. The next minute, you don’t, and there’s a hole in your life.

Friends and relatives with kind intentions don’t know what to say, but they feel they must say something to support you. They fall back on cliches, such as, “Whenever a door closes, another opens” or “It’s a chance to start something new.” Who can blame them? The only way people cope with endings is to imagine a post-ending, like an afterlife.

After the shock comes the hurt, then the anger

I had a good run at Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. I was sacked on October 20, only days after my ninth anniversary with the company. Funding issues, the boss said, though we both know that a layoff is like a complex piece of music. It has overtones and undertones as well as a melody. It’s a tactic within a strategy.

After the shock comes the hurt, then the anger, then the suppression of anger as you pack up and leave. The storm had been building for months, but when I got the news, it broke over me like an abrupt squall. I thought I’d have time to find shelter. My boss wrote me a nice recommendation letter to cushion the impact.

I was prepared in part. Responding to hints that things weren’t going my way, I had applied to other companies for months in hopes of avoiding the ax. The strategy failed, but I can adapt to the new circumstances.

I wrote to my contacts and posted on social media my goal to find a position with these kinds of titles: Communications Specialist, Communications Manager, Communications Associate, Social Media Manager, Content Producer, Content Editor, Media Relations Manager, and similar. If you have any contacts, ideas, or know of open positions, email me. You can also see my background in details at LinkedIn.

You’ve probably noticed the tone of this post. It isn’t all bubbly and upbeat, as if it were a news release written by a publicist. To be sure, I’m optimistic. I’ll find something. I would fail as a writer, however, if I weren’t honest and authentic. Getting laid off sucks, and I’m not going to pretend that everything will be A-OK in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. One burden is lifted, and another replaces it.

Sometimes a door closes, and that’s it, at least in the short term. At this point, I’m knocking on a dozen doors, hoping and praying that one will not only open, but that I’ll be invited in.

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