Monday, April 22, 2013

The Five Stages of Downsizing: Denial

Oh hi there! It's been a while, hasn't it? Well lucky for you, I recently came into some free time, having recently been a victim of corporate downsizing. Please don't say you're sorry. I'm fine. No, really, I am. I'm what you would call a pro at this sort of thing. I've been through the layoff wringer many a time, and I've picked up a few observations along the way.

Much like the age-old "tennis shoes" vs "sneakers" or the "soda" vs "pop" debate, the act of getting laid off has many names. There is of course, "downsizing," some know it as "reorganization/reorg" or "restructuring." Some say "getting flexed." There's also the bullshittiest of all terms, "resource management action." The Brits call it "redundancy," and I can't for the life of me figure that one out. I know all the jargon and I'm not really sure what that says about me. I feel like I probably shouldn't put that on my resume though.

When it happens, people usually experience a wide range of emotions. The first stage of grief getting downsized is denial. I think that's because no matter what, you always get blindsided with this shit. Sometimes I think companies hire reality tv show staff to coordinate your sendoff. I swear I'm an expert at this. I know all the signs to look for, I know how to handle it. And yet, I get floored every time it happens.

The first time, I knew it was coming, but we only found out the day before. I actually made myself a shirt for the occasion. I was 20 years old, and a wiseass.

still fits... go, me!

 The second time, I was working for a startup, and that's the kind of environment where you should always expect the unexpected. They called us all in on a Friday and let us know they were closing the doors. Whatever.

This time, for a very long time, I would go in to my job every Friday and wonder if that particular day would be my last. And every Friday would come to a close and I would be spared another week. I started to think maybe I was being paranoid, and eventually I relaxed a little. That's why, when they got me on a Tuesday, they caught me completely off guard. Well played, corporate America. You got me again, you sneaky scoundrel!

So with that said, even if you can see it coming a mile away, it will still be a total shock to you when you get the news. That's how people end up in the first stage of getting laid off: DENIAL. Of course you're in denial, you were a productive, contributing member of society two seconds ago and now you're not. It's like losing a limb... a limb that you really kind of hated anyway because all it ever did was cause you grief and stress.  I guess it's more like losing your stupid appendix than a limb. Appendixes are cool and everything, but it's not like they're the coolest thing in your body. At least your limbs never turn on you like your douchebag appendix might one day.

The denial stage can evolve into the next stage very quickly, or it can extend over a period of time. It all depends on whether or not you get a decent severance package and/or your level of life experience I guess. For instance, after my first corporate execution, I convinced myself I was on a paid vacation for weeks and weeks. Fun, but not smart. At first, I even pretended I was going to work for a while. I actually got up and got ready most mornings, and then I drove over to my friend's apartment and, well... I don't even know what I did all day. Maybe I cleaned? Watched tv? I have no idea. Like I said, I was young. Don't do what I did. Or do... sometimes sitting on your ass for a while is just what you need.

The best thing to do at this stage is to take it all in and wait for the next stage to set in, which I will cover in more detail tomorrow. It's my least favorite, and the darkest, of the Five Stages of Downsizing. I know, you can't wait to hear more about it, can you?

1 comment:

  1. I seriously love your shirt. And you. Hope you get to posting a little more now that you have more time because I love reading your blog :)


let's get awkward!