The Relief of Getting Fired
…that awkward moment when you realize you’re happily unemployed
FYI: This one is a bit more personal than the pieces I’ve written so far. It originally started as a simple Facebook post about my own situation, but it seemed to have resonated with a few people and what they’re going through, so here we are.
So, just one week and one day ago, at around 5:30 pm, I was semi-enjoying a couple of bittersweet glasses of Cabernet in my job’s employee lounge, before I took a couple of old Walgreen’s bags full of all my belongings from work, and walked out of the office for the last time. A couple of hours before that, I was having a short meeting with said employer’s Director of HR, awkwardly going over some pertinent paperwork. And couple of hours before that, I sat down with my manager (who kept a noticeably somber look on his face from the second we entered the meeting room) for our weekly one-on-one meeting, where the first words out of his mouth were “We’re gonna have to let you go.” He then went on the list out all of the performance-related issues that led to my termination. As I was pretty much fully aware of the reasons (we’d discussed my performance-related issues in the weeks prior), I was looking at him from across the table, but I was hardly listening. But over the course of his talking, I felt a wave of panic…which was quickly coated over by enough relief to fill Lake Michigan.
Frankly, I hated the job and it showed in my work (which was well below what I’ve proven capable of in the past), so I could do nothing but respect his decision. And thing is, I have no real complaints about my now-former employer. As far as corporations go, it was a good company…treated its employees well, great benefits, relatively laid-back environment, nice people (even with the overwhelming lack of Black people in a Chicago-based office, but I digress), free lunches every other week, regular company/team outings, craft beer on tap, etc. Yet, with all of that, I was just miserable. It was menial work that I didn’t really care about and didn’t remotely align with my real-world interests; it just didn’t move or stimulate me in any way.
But I think it’s mostly that, after 6 years of working in I/T, I’ve grown increasingly tired of the corporate office environment…which I was expected to be present for just about everyday. Whether rigid and old-school, or more “progressive” and laid-back, I just hate being around people for that long, there are far too many distractions, and I hate being on a set schedule. Also, the ever-expanding “open-office environment” (which said employer fully embraces) made getting up and going to work resemble a hell on earth that much more.
This is the first time I’ve been unemployed (with no follow-up job lined up) since high school…as terrifying as it is, this release honestly needed to happen. In the last few months, I’ve had an onset of (what I’m gathering is) depression, which I’m currently trying to work through, but I know will take time. Just in the last few months, I quit my community symphony — and since hadn’t even touched my violin until last week, I stopped working out, my diet went to shit, my condo’s an absolute mess, etc. I was in that miserable cycle of dreading getting out of bed and going to work.
I’m getting a small severance and also have money saved to last a few months, so might as well take break and get myself back together. I have no idea what I’m doing next. What I do know is, no matter how many complementary snacks are provided or craft beers are available on tap…no matter how “laid-back” the environment, the office life just ain’t for my introverted ass…period.
I’d been spending the last few months contemplating quitting my job, going into my savings, perhaps cashing out my 401k if need be, and just exploring and taking time off, but I never had the guts to do it. So I’m taking getting fired as the universe doing me a big favor by forcing my hand.
Maybe this exploration means a career change, maybe my next job needs to be remote, maybe making peace with a pay cut…maybe a combo of the three. Really, if I could make a career out of writing, podcasting and social media, I’d gladly do that…but as someone who’s done poverty before, I’d rather not go back to that life, sooo…I don’t know*…capitalism gives us SOOO much flexibility, after all. 😒
On another note, in this past week of unemployment, I’ve confirmed that I’m nocturnal as fuck, so hopefully whatever I fall into is conducive to that…because I’ve never been a morning person, and staying up all night without consequence is everything!
But yea, we’ll see what’s next. *shrugs*
*(I mean, really, though…if anyone’s got tips on how I can make a career out of that and not be broke, I’m absolutely all ears) ☕
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