I remember calmly sitting in the room, faces around me expectant.
Was she going to cry? Was she going to throw something, break something? They probably wondered, as I stared back at them.
Stunned though I was, being laid off was not unlike the relief of ending a stale relationship–not brought on by abuse, or endless arguments, or incompatibility, but rather by the lack of momentum to move forward to the next milestone.
I had known now for months that there would not be another lilypad, stepping stone, stairstep. Not with this company, at least.
Until I started working at Company X, I wasn't on a traditional path to "grown up job." I grew up with working parents, both working 7 days a week, so it wasn't surprising that the idea of busying myself at all times was deeply ingrained in me.
Beginning in high school, my schedule thrummed with activity. I collected jobs like marbles, so that I wouldn't have downtime. When I was finishing grad school, I had three different gigs, plus night classes. Then I started working five days a week, eight hours a day.
The weirdest part of the whole situation is how everyone else reacted. I was very (very!) okay from the beginning.
I was taken aback at how sad everyone was when they found out, how they would try to console or baby me.
But it felt a lot like a windfall. It felt like the last day of school before winter vacation. You mean I now have the freedom to do whatever I want with my time? This is a luxury I don't expect to see in such large, unmeasured doses again.
And when the time comes, I can't wait to Get to Work on something meaningful and challenging. (I enjoy a good challenge.)
I'm least likely to follow the path of least resistance. I'll go out of my way to select the especially difficult task, something that teaches me a little more. That's especially more rewarding.
So no one dare feel sorry for me. This is a very exciting time for me.