Keeping with the theme of non-relationship breakups, I thought today I would talk about all the ways losing your job is like going through a breakup. Spoiler alert: Ice cream is necessary for both. Breakups suck no matter who does the breaking. Likewise for getting let go—even if you were emotionally ready to move on, there will be tears either way.
Stage One: Group Drinking
If you’re lucky (?) enough to be let go with other people, there’s a certain comfort in numbers. You can gather the troops and head to your closest watering hole, day drinking and shit talking until you feel a little less jilted. This is harder to accomplish when you’re dealing with a breakup, unless you and several friends plan some kind of squad dumpathon.
Stage Two: I Don’t Need You Anyway
Once the hangover has worn off, you may find yourself with a sudden upswing in confidence. I am fucking great! I am amazing! I don’t need you anyway! Yeah! You might also be surprised how relevant breakup playlists feel when you’re nursing the layoff wounds. You, like early 2000’s Britney, are fucking stronger. Friends will tell you how much better off you are now, that you were too good for them. You’ll believe them.
Stage Three: Why Am I Crying?
Stages two and three can happen interchangeably, sometimes even simultaneously. You feel fine, and then you see a puppy gif that is just too cute for life and you burst into tears. Hopefully not on public transit, but shit happens. They might be sad tears, or angry tears, or existential life crisis tears, but to the rest of the world, you’re just a crying mess. Travel packs of Kleenex were made for this.
Stage Four: Back on the Horse
Eventually you realize you haven’t showered or left the house in four days and you’ve literally run out of Netflix. It’s time to at least start to consider rejoining the workforce. Since we’re all lazy and the thought of a conversation with an actual human is exhausting, our search for both a job and a person to love (or at least not hate) typically starts online. You know what makes you hate people less? Not the internet! A quick perusal of job boards and sites is enough to drive someone to drink (more). Whether it’s “entry-level” postings that ask for 5+ years experience or the familiar refrain of the startup that can’t afford to pay with anything more than exposure, the job equivalents of fuckboys are everywhere. Also be wary of the slippery internet slope of checking the company website to see if your job is posted, or even worse—who replaced you. You don’t need to know that shit any more than you need to see who your ninth grade crush ended up marrying.
Stage Five: Who Am I?
The worst part of searching for a new job/person/reason to live is the near-constant existential dread. “You can do anything you want! How exciting!” Fuck off, Karen, that is not exciting, it’s terrifying. Am I good at this thing? Am I charming enough to get past an interview—which, let’s face it, is just a first date in business professional attire. Am I ultimately unlovable/unhirable? Unfortunately, unlike first dates, drinking is typically frowned upon during interviews. Thank god the friendly neighbourhood wine shop has your back.
Stage Six: I’m Just Gonna Work on Myself For a While
For a lucky bunch of people (read: me), returning to an office isn’t the only option. You can stay single (freelance/consultant), explore an open relationship (temp or short term contracts until you find a job you like), or go full-on polyamorous (a combination of freelance and a steady part-time gig). And none of these options have to be til death do you part. Maybe you want to spend some time exploring the single life, but realize you don’t do well with only your cats to keep you company during the day. Or maybe you jump right into the first relationship that shakes an RRSP plan your way, only to find you can’t face another day of inane water cooler chit chat. Just how many sweaters do you have for your dachshund, Karen?
Whatever stage of job loss/breakup you may find yourself in, remember two things: you’ll be fine and you absolutely can pair wine with ice cream.