I’m down in Isle of Palms, SC for Thanksgiving. I was so looking forward to a vacation. I know. You’re thinking, what exactly does a person who’s out of work need a vacation from. Think of it this way: instead of a job, it’s a vacation from the reality of my life.
But I didn’t anticipate what it would be like to see all the extended family and family friends and having to talk to them about my joblessness. It ‘s either them saying, “how are things in Vermont?” and me saying, “Um, good ?” Or else they’ve heard or I tell them I’m out of work. And then I have to spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince them that it’s fine, because they get so upset.
Hearing I’ve been laid off seems to be almost universally upsetting. Which I totally get. An astounding number of people I know have been laid off or fired. Or they are married to someone who has. Or they just live their lives in fear of it happening to them. That’s a sad reality of our time. But a lot of the time it seems like after hearing that I lost my job, I end up having to cheer up the listener of my news. Which is kind of a weird consequence. And also, even though I understand where it’s coming from, it’s annoying. I’m not saying I want or need to be consoled, but I really do not want to have to buck you up about the fact that I lost my job.
Some people though are truly great in their reactions. Some people (and it’s really only people who have themselves been laid off) are instantly, “Losing your job is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you.” And they say this with conviction and an unquestionable belief that whatever comes next for me, it’s going to be ok. I like talking to these people.