I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was just coming back from getting awful work coffee in the break room. I’m not even sure I had put my makeup on yet (hey, I’m not an early riser so I put makeup on during my work break at around 10). Coming back from the kitchen, I ran into my boss. He says, “Hey, you have a minute?”
Famous last words.
I go into the meeting room and sitting there was our benefits representative. I thought I had forgotten paperwork when they had our benefits meeting earlier in the year. I sit down. She smiles. My boss sits next to me.
“Evelyn (not my real name), we have been reviewing your work load and we have come to the conclusion that we no longer are in need of your position. Today, will be your last day at our company.”
There it was. I had just gotten laid off. Like a punch in the gut, I ask, “Are you serious?”
And like I had just asked him if the sky was blue, he says, “Yes.”
So that’s what the tissues were for. I grab one as tears well up. He explains that the benefits lady that I have forgotten the name of will explain everything to me and walks out of the room. Through tears I explain to the lady that one of my other family members had just gotten laid off as well. My boss knew this as well, by the way. I shouldn’t be surprised that this didn’t make a difference, but I am. Anyways, she explains to me the benefits details and I see her tear up as well. It reminded me of the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney and how the girl in the movie couldn’t take laying people off for a living.
The benefits lady left the room, and explained she would be right back. While she’s gone, I call my mom and tell her the news, asking her if she can pick me up (I don’t have a car). And then I am left sitting in the meeting room of a company I no longer work in, and wait for about fifteen minutes before anyone realizes I am still there. They obviously don’t think I’m gonna go postal on them.
The benefits lady returns, surprised to still see me sitting there. She tells me I can leave and get my stuff and say goodbye to people. When I walk to my cubicle, I pass by two of my closer coworkers who give me looks of sympathy as I walk past. Tears well up again and I head to my cubicle to pack up my personal items. It isn’t very much, since I don’t crowd my desk with many of my own things. I say goodbye only to two people. For the rest, I didn’t bother.
And just like that, here I am four months later. I heard later on that other people got laid off a few weeks after me. It still sucked though. It was my first job out of college and while it wasn’t my first choice job, it was still a job.
It was still a lot better than this. And this is my unemployment story.