I am soiled by the touch of a taboo, the unmentionable, the shameful: I have been laid off. This is a condition that causes people to veer away, lest the spoilage should seep into their lives; sometimes, I get a lot of pitying looks and some people just look through me. My friends and family look at me with helplessness, unable to do anything. But how can they? If I cannot help my situation, what can the ones who love me do?
I should not be surprised, though. There is the obvious fact that over half of the company's workforce has been laid off. However, some people DO remain; this inevitably leads me to sense that something HAD to be lacking in the way I worked because I was chosen over someone else, not that I wish my friends and colleagues had been laid off instead of me. I would not wish this condition on my enemy, had I an enemy.
However, no matter how one cuts it, no matter the platitudes one feeds oneself, it feels like a betrayal and no matter what anyone says, it feels personal.
I wish that there were some dignity to this process; I wish it didn't feel like a limb cut off; but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride! So I will stop wishing. After all, I AM grateful for the nurturing I have enjoyed here for over a decade and half. I love my job and I am going back part time (Reader, I accepted!).
People ask me if I am angry and bitter. I have been examining my feelings and I must confess, I am sad and worried, but I can find no anger or bitterness. My friend asked me what was worse, my house burning down in 2011 or this lay off. I was flummoxed and couldn't really choose. But my child, my rock and my rainbow reminded me that this lay off is not as bad as the house burning, which left us bereft in unimaginable ways since we lost most of our worldly possessions and a feline friend to it. Comparatively, I have not yet lost my worldly possessions, and the recent loss of my feline friend is not connected to this lay off, I don't think, unless it is the movement of the spheres that lacks harmony.
Perhaps that's what it is, a fault of my stars! I have noticed that every five years, the earth shifts away from beneath my feet and I have to figure things out all over again, emerge from great losses. Even though this loss is not on the same magnitude as the fire, it is no small thing: this job has given me definition, friends, a personal philosophy, and joy; I shall always be grateful for having it. I bought my home, my car, and my child's education with it. I wish joy to all who remain with it.
I know I will never get this job back, no matter what shifts the spheres make. But when I dream, I forget it is no longer with me; in my dream, I wake up from this loss with relief, like I have many times these past years as I have seen the institution dwindle.
I do not know what awaits me; this is the hardest part of this condition, the uncertainty. Whatever comes after this, I will see it through the screen of the job that needs me no more. I understand that my job has shifted away and I know that a separate path is already beneath my feet; yet I cannot really tread on it, since my heart still looks back and yearns.
Perhaps one day, I will stop mourning for the job; perhaps one day, my missing limb will stop hurting; perhaps one day, I will redeem myself and will be tabooed no more. This post goes out with that hope.