The Reality of Being Laid Off

As someone who works remotely 99% of the time, getting asked to come into the office which is 87 miles from my house is always a big deal. There are so many logistics to figure out- from traffic patterns to daycare drop off to getting out of the house before my sweet three year old wakes up.

Last week, my office day started out just like any other. I was excited to see my office based coworkers and to have some face time with the Senior Management in a few meetings. I had an 8:30 meeting with my boss’s boss regarding some outstanding issues we needed to nail down on a project we were working together on. Traffic wasn’t terrible. My splurged on fancy coffee tasted amazing. And I had several great ideas ready to discuss with her. I.WAS.PUMPED.

Until I walked through her office door, that is. I could tell immediately that we would not be discussing my bullet points.  The HR Director was there and my boss’s boss started to talk about the direction my department would be going in for the new year.

For a split second, I was really excited despite the ominous tone in the air. My mind started to race. They were giving me a promotion. They had to be. All of my hard work and long nights while my preschooler played with his father were paying off.

After working for almost five years in both via both part time and full time, their new direction  didn’t include me in my current leadership role or even at the company at all. I was being laid off.

I was shocked. This news came completely out of left field. I started to shake a little bit. I just couldn’t believe it. I was confused because I knew that my work had always been regarded as outstanding.  I had never had a poor review. I was known within our organization as a problem solver, a process lover, and a team player.

I didn’t cry, yell in anger, or speak in haste the things that I was actually thinking. I had enough composure to ask if they would please send me a copy of the photos in my “my photos” folder. I had recently been on a working vacation with my family and dumped my camera onto my laptop when the memory card was full. I hadn’t had a chance to transfer them over to my personal computer. They didn’t have to agree to do that, since the laptop was company property. But they did. And I was grateful.

I was in and out of the office in less than 45 minutes. Ironically the CEO of the company walked by my car was sitting there breaking the news to my husband. He smiled and waved as he walked by to start his day at the company that just said goodbye to me.

The hour and half drive home was a long one. My mind raced and skipped. Did that really just happen? What will we do about daycare? Can our budget handle this? What are the steps I need to take to file unemployment? Oh boy.. I carried our health insurance. Now what?

As I write this, I am six days removed from my life as a corporate 9 to 5iver. I have been on hold with my state’s unemployment hotline for sixty minutes and I am praying that my son doesn’t wake up from his nap before I can file my claim.

I still don’t have all of the answers to my immediate questions from last week.

I am determined to embrace this new journey with a positive attitude. My priorities have shifted and I am looking at the world through a new lens. My career really defined me and now I have some time to refine myself. I’m looking forward to it.

Have you ever been laid off? How long did it take for you to recover from it? How did it change the landscape of your family’s priorities?

Photo via woodlywonderwors on Flickr

NJ Rongner was employed in the insurance industry until she was recently laid off. With her increased spare time she’s catching up on projects that were always on her to do list, considering a new career path, and enjoying the stay at home mom gig- if only that paid as well as her old job! She blogs about life, love, and breaking the parenting rules at A Cookie Before Dinner and tweets at @acookieb4dinner.


  • Shannon says:

    Wow. I’m so taken back by your optimism and willingness to approach this situation with a positive attitude. I would probably fall apart because I tend to break down in helpless situations, but we all know that’s counter-productive. How did that phone call end up? The only time I was laid off was in college from a law firm–I didn’t see it coming either–and even though I was able to get a part-time job to finish school and then start teaching, it still stung. I’m sorry it happened to you and wish your family the best.
    Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

    • Thanks Shannon! I decided on that long drive home that my family lives and dies with how I responded do it. If I wasn’t positive about it, then my grumps would spread to my son and husband. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m determined to fake it until I make it. I was on hold with the UI office for 2 hours before I got through. I finished the call JUST as my son was waking up from his nap! I’m sorry to here that you were laid off once as well, it sucks the wind right out of you doesn’t it?
      NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted..Things I Can’t Say- BraveMy Profile

  • Nancy says:

    I’ve never been in this situation, only because I was a teacher and that is a pretty safe job! But I can relate to having that sinking feeling of not knowing what will happen next or how everything will turn out. Cheers to your positive attitude.
    Nancy recently posted..Holiday Ice CreamMy Profile

  • Thanks Nancy! The feeling is getting better, mostly because I’m having a blast while I’m home with Malone!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted..Things I Can’t Say- BraveMy Profile

  • Mary Beth says:

    Wow – a very different story for LWM. Thank you for sharing it – and best wishes to you! What part of the county do you live in? Maybe we can muster up our LWM network to help land you a new job??! IF you want/need one that is…. :)
    Mary Beth recently posted..Obama Rally in Richmond Virginia – a Photolog {10.25.2012}My Profile
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  • Hey NJ – Welcome to the club! It’s tough, but you will survive this. I’ve been laid off twice, and it was a career changer both times. But, I am SO glad those layoffs happened. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today, doing what I love with my websites.

    The good news is that you have a blog, and a good resume. I hope you have an excellent LinkedIn Profile and a Google+ profile. If not, hop on those bandwagons as soon as you can. They are very important!

    Also track down a good job search support group. A solitary job search can be VERY discouraging! Look for the WIND group, Acton Networkers, and many more west of Bostong. The are great for networking and ideas and just keeping up your morale. Fake it till you make it is a great philosophy!

    After both of my layoffs, I read What Color Is Your Parachute? It was a big help figuring out what to do next. If your library has only one careers book, this one is it. Do ALL the exercises. It won’t take very long, and it will be VERY helpful.

    I’m also about 90 minutes west of Boston, so if I can help, let me know!
    Susan P Joyce recently posted..Job Interviews: 10 Steps to Successful Job InterviewingMy Profile

  • Texasroseinok says:

    I am sorry to read of your post, but I can surely sympathize. I was a manager for 5 years at my most recent job — loved my job and was constantly busy in the IT field. The first of November, myself and 2 other IT Managers were herded into the boardroom where we THOUGHT we were going to be told about a different direction for our department in the coming year. Like you, the department WAS moving in a different direction—-and it was without us. Our salaries/insurance were too much and the department wasn’t big enough for so many managers. We weren’t given an option to downgrade our titles or take a cut in pay…..we were simply laid off. I heard later that 2 other managers in a different department as well as several regular employees were also laid off. Then last week, my previous director was also laid off. I filed UI online….no holding on the phone.

    This is where our similarities end….you are still young and have years left to work…..if you choose to. I am one of those ‘in betweeners’…..too young to retire, but too old for most jobs that paid anywhere close to what I was making–regardless of my qualifications. I did not graduate college, therefore even though I have about 10 years of management experience, everyone wants a degree and doesn’t allow for experience in the IT industry. I’ve been told I have an exemplary resume and it won’t be a problem to place me in a management field—probably making more than I was—however, the agency calls have stopped coming and the Management jobs are not there. I have even applied for ‘back to basics’….technical support positions which is what I did prior to becoming a manager…..since my experience is not recent, no one is interested.

    I am still looking, using various resources/agencies and hoping that after the first of the year, the NEXT perfect job will be coming along.

    Good luck with your search!

  • I was laid off over 6 months ago. Although I am receiving unemployment benefits and working as a waitress part-time, I would really like to use the college degree I worked so hard to earn. And…I need to earn enough to pay back my student loans taken out for that hard-earned degree. Hundreds of resumes sent, dozens of interviews later, still nothing. Back to the drawing board. This is the hardest waiting I have ever done. My 2 pregnancies were easier, because I knew I had a beautiful life waiting on the other side. The uncertainty of this waiting is horrendous. My brain tells me God has turned a deaf ear, but my heart tells me to keep the faith: Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Here is to “being sure” and “being certain.” Best wishes to all.

    Raki (OutsideTheBoxMom) recently posted..13 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Working Moms in 2013My Profile
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  • Stacey says:

    I was laid off today. Knew it would come eventually as work has been extremely slow. My company has had several layoffs in the past 4 years…this was my time. I was mentally prepared…had already started putting my resume out months ago. Financially…mostly prepared…how do you prepare when you have 2 kids and bills? Today started out with me feeling blah..going to work to my boring job. I actually even googled “stuck in a rut” after missing my favorite boot camp twice this week because I lacked all motivation and energy to get out of bed…my how a boring workday exhausted me. Then I received my call to go to my manager’s office..was an odd call, so I knew something was up. I was calm..shed a few tears because I knew my husband would be stressed over this. Part of me thought…well I sure hope they let “so and so” go too…because Lord knows I’m better than her. After spending the afternoon with my husband and talking things through…fine tuning the budget, we discovered we will be okay. I can take this time to spend with my 4 yr old before he starts school in the fall. If no opportunities present themselves we will make do. We always have. My day was looking better…I was happy and motivated again. This is definitely a blessing in disguise.

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