Counseling Stories: I Got Laid Off, But I’m Still Okay

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When I was only starting my first job as a marketing assistant, I feared losing my job before I was ready. After all, I had a lot of bills to pay at the time. I was renting my apartment, paying my car mortgage, and trying to live in an expensive city through my minimum wage. I had not even included my student loans in the equation, but I would most likely have to couch-surf or live in my car if I did.

Because of that, I tried hard to be likable in the company and learn everything as fast as possible so that my bosses would not think of replacing me immediately. It entailed spending my office breaks in my desk, typing away, or watching tutorials on doing this or that. If anyone invited me for a group lunch or dinner, I would say yes, even if the gathering would bring me down to my last dollar.

I would say it worked. My sacrifices and determination worked. After all, there was a vacancy for a senior marketing role a year later, and I took a shot and applied for it. Others might have been discouraged to do that, especially if they were still rookies in the field like me, but since I got close with my bosses and earned their respect, I got the job. It allowed me to have an office of my own and a higher salary.

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I managed to stay in the same company for a decade. I took on various vital roles until I decided to stick with a marketing executive post. I could have gone for the chief marketing officer position if I wanted to, but I was pretty happy and contented with my current role. As I mentioned above, my only goal was to avoid getting sacked, and I believe that would be almost impossible since I was no longer at the base of the hierarchy.

When Things Changed

When the pandemic happened, my company decided to make us all do our jobs in the safety of our homes. I missed going to the office every day and chatting up my coworkers between breaks, but I supported remote work 100%. Ever since I worked from home, I got to revive my plants, catch up with the movies and TV shows that I did not get to watch before, and even learn how to do yoga.

Despite all that, I was among the millions of people who assumed that the pandemic would disappear after a few months. Once the lockdown was almost over, I even ordered some new clothes online to prepare myself for when the bosses would call us back to the office. Hence, you could imagine how surprised I was when I received an email from the HR department informing me that they were laying off 200 people – and that number included me.

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On the same night, I received countless texts and missed calls from my coworkers who received the same email. Some of them said they expected it to happen, but many were devastated because they could not survive without a job. The company would provide a separation pay for all, but there were so many of us, so it might take weeks – if not months – before we could collect the money.

How I Took The News

My mother learned about it through her favorite morning news show the next day, and she called me immediately. When I informed her that I was one of those people who got laid off, she felt sad. She was well-aware of my initial desperation to keep my job when I was still starting and perhaps assume that that’s still the case ten years later.

“Honey, if you need anything – food, gas money, or rent money – just let me know, okay?” my mom said.

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“Oh, no, mom, you can keep your money,” I replied with a short laugh. “I have enough savings and do not need to work for at least two years. I already paid off my car earlier this year, and I gave my landlord 12 months’ worth of rent, so I’ll be fine.”

My other friends called after my mother, and we had the same conversation. They were all sympathetic, but they also sounded surprised when I insisted that I was okay. Of course, I could not blame them because it was the worst time for most people not to have a job, but I was already financially secure, so I was not worried about it.

When the office counselor called to help me cope with the loss of my job, she was so fascinated by my way of thinking that she encouraged me to share it with the world. In reality, I did not feel any different. I worked hard in the last ten years and saved a significant portion of my salary every month to have enough money to spend in cases like this. I did not expect it to happen during my early 30s, but fate dealt me with this card, and I won’t let it bother me.