Those first moments of being told I was laid off were not as hard as the hours to come. I was told on a Friday, but more layoffs were coming on Tuesday…..so I couldn’t talk to most of the people I worked with until then. Now, I did talk to the people in the office I worked in, but I didn’t actually work with any of them at all (the company I worked for is enormous). That, frankly, made being let go harder than it needed to be. One of the keys to getting through this is the support of friends, and I had to forgo that for a couple days.
I talked to my wife, my sons, and my parents. All of them were very supportive, but I could tell that at least one of my sons was worried about money, even though I told him not to be.
Later, as I’d write in my notes, I began to feel that I had let everyone down. I was the breadwinner. I was the person that was supposed to grow up to be someone. I was the example of hard work paying off. ETC…..
So, what should that first night look like?
From everything I can find (and the stories I’ve heard, and the advice I’ve received), that first night is about relaxing. Not beating yourself up. Finding people that can support you over the coming days and weeks. It’s about setting a good emotional stage to move on, eventually.
Remember, don’t take this personally. Try to spend time with your partner, if you don’t have one, find a friend that can spend time with you. It’s good to get emotional at this stage, to start the grieving process. So, find someone you are comfortable being emotional with, even if that is Skype or a phone call, and not in person. If you don’t have that person, then go ahead and cry on your own!
Most of the advice I read about that first day is to not get overly concerned about money or plans, and I think that makes sense. There will be plenty of time for that later, plenty.
The one thing to plan for is tomorrow, the day after being laid off. Plan to meet someone for coffee, or lunch. Plan to workout, even a little. And, plan to file for unemployment. Because, when we read about successful transitions, those three things happen right away.
Me? I think we went out for dinner. My recollection is that we talked and it was a nice dinner, but I don’t have notes on this, so maybe I’m just hoping that happened! I do know that I got advice to work out, or to do something fun, the next day. No one told me, alas, to file for unemployment benefits. Wish they had . . .