They Let Me Go…

MY VIEWS | | September 3, 2009 at 8:42 am


It was a call I had dreading, well somewhat. Actually I had stopped expecting it so it was a surprise. When hubby called to say those words, the belated breakfast that I had been dying to eat tasted like charcoal in my mouth. I mean we should be experts of this in my home right? I mean we have gone through enough lay-offs and should be immune to it, right? But I guess that is like saying that if you get burnt enough you stop feeling the pain.

Just last year, around this time, we were visiting these same emotions. In fact I still remember it as it was 2 days before our birthdays (we share the same birthday) and I had a Boston BlogHer the day after. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking of it. It is amazing how tough times heighten every little mountain and magnify every little crack in a marriage. How every conversation everywhere suddenly gets amplified to remind you of your status. Frightening how a job defines who you are. Today a hard, late night working guy and tomorrow “Pack up in 10 minutes!” changes everything.

Social settings can become a trial on their own, a mixture of pity and pie and one can be left with a taste of indigestion. It is also a time when you see the nature of people. Some friends come out of nowhere and some “friends” unmask to reveal some unsavory behavior. Of course insensitivity can reign supreme and just a little dished out (even if it was unmeant to be that way) can push you over the edge.

Life is brutal but the manner of being kicked out the door from work even more so. With marching orders and you and your “accomplices” being escorted out thebuilding is tantamount to criminal. It is the one biggest reason I am so reluctant to rejoin the rat race. I guess like taxes and death, working in these environments is inevitable. I guess this is the Layoff Game.

So this time we are going to (try to) ┬ádo it differently. We are going to say this is a perfect opportunity to refocus and think that better opportunities are just the other side of the paycheck. We will not try to focus on the fact that applying for unemployment is difficult (both mentally and a challenge getting through the paperwork). We will not try to think of medical insurance and how we will pay for it so our 2 little girls can be healthy. We will not try to think that a job defines who we are. We will not hear the ice-cream truck that draws every kid in the neighborhood like a magnet. We will not think about our non-existent savings. We will not think about how to pay for our children’s education. We will not let this get the better of us.

We will not…

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  1. 1
    Jessica says:

    I am so sorry!

    Almost a year ago, I was laid off too so I know what your family is going through. Hang in there! Here is a link that may help, “Coping Emotionally and Financially After Being Laid Off”.

  2. 2
    Jill says:

    Niri, I’m so sorry you and your family have hit this rough patch. I do hope it’s short-lived.


  3. 3

    I am so sorry.I know. All of it.

    My husband was unemployed for 18 months. It rips everything apart. The dreams, that picture in the window of your mind that is your life stands still, then it hangs there unsupported until eventually it falls, smashing onto the floor in a million sharp, tiny, shiney pieces. It is glass after all.

    Six months after I gave birth to my second child (now two), my husband was layed off. He’s so talented and had be so lauded that at first, I thought okay, keep him calm, it will be okay. He will find another job.

    His industry is cyclical so I knew if he didn’t get a job in the next few months, it might be a year. But then Lehman Brothers failled and the stock market crashed and our whole life — which had already be flipped and spun and driven to the ground by the tragic loss of my sister’s husband, the brain surgery for my brother and the incessant screams of a baby suffering from reflux — became constant fear, tension, panic, isolation and guilt.

    It is an awful feeling and I do not care what anyone else thinks. No matter what your lifestlye or income level, if you need that money to sustain it, it is a devastating loss.

    The shattered glass on the floor is the image of your child going to school, being educated the way you worked so hard to pay for. It’s the house you live in, and now you could not sell it for what you paid for it and then how are you going to buy another one with no income to declare on the mortgage application. It is the image of you happily balancing work and motherhood because you have the means to pay for some help. It’s you living a life with your husband and children that is not extravagant but is warm, sunny and filled with positive energy.

    What noone can know unless they have been through this is that the pain is the tension that comes into all the relationships in your family because of the fear and the loss and the confusion. It is rejection and money worries, things noone wants to admit to having. I felt like I was a walking lie when I was in public. How is everything? Great I would answer with all the positive spin I could muster.

    For me, it was also a loss of faith or trust or just maybe a wake up to the reality that the ground is not stable beneath me and I better get used to it.

    My husband got a new job in July. And after 18 mos, we didn’t jump for joy. We were just sort of numb. Releived the worst would likely not happen.

    I am happily working again. I got a job in January, 12 months into my husbands unemployment.

    It shakes your foundation, literally. It is so complicated because it involves your whole life. And, with two kids, 2 and 4, you really can’t easily walk away and start over.

    Please reach out. I get it.


  4. 4


    This is so heartbreaking! I’m so sorry. I’m not sure what I can do, but I am here for you.

  5. 5

    Niri, I’m terribly sorry to hear this news. I understand how our self-worth can oft-times be so contingent upon our fiscal worth. I do wish the best for your family and you will be in my thoughts as you make your way through this.

  6. 6
    Laura Benjamin Emerson says:

    Oh Niri, I am so so very sorry. My heart goes out to you as I know how hard it is to hear those words. I was laid off from teaching position as the state decided to cut back due to the budget. I loved that job as it was a dream job and I looked so forward to gettting up each morning and going to work. We had no savings (we still do not) and I did not have enough time teaching to accrue any benefits.

    I understand exactly how you feel. I love being a mom and wife but my job made me “Laura”. For a few hours each day I was my own self and not just someone’s mom or wife. When I went to sign in in the office I felt like I belonged and part of a different family. Losing the money almost hurt less than losing a life I so come to love.

    I believe that we are where we are supposed to be at any given time in our life and that something so wonderful, so exciting and so just for you is right around the corner. I know it is hard to believe now, but so much has happened since I lost my job that never would have happened if I had not.

    I believe with all of my heart in Karma and I know that all the good karma you have sent to so many people will come to you. If it had not been for you I would never have gotten up the courage to show up at one of your parties (inside I am shy to the bone), or entered your contest.
    You truly have a sweet soul and I know that that something better is coming your way.
    I am not good with words but if you ever need anything I am only a email away!
    Take care, God Bless and know that you are not alone.

  7. 7
    Aparna says:

    I am so sorry Niri! Better things are on the horizon. Call me when you can to chat.

  8. 8
    Purvi says:

    I am soo sorry to hear this..You guys have gone through so much recently..Hang in there. I do believe that with every door that closes, another one opens..

  9. 9

    Hi there, just read your post. I can completely get it. I went through this last year knowing full well it was pretty much coming but its not until you are sitting in the room with HR and the business unit head does it become a reality. I agree that you have to look at the bright side and refocus. I am still looking after 9 months but if not for the layoff, I wouldnt have started my blog, met you and other mom bloggers.

    My prayers are with you. Stay positive.

  10. 10
    j0D says:

    I read your post and am sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope that your creativity and resourcefulness will open bigger and better doors for you in the near future.

  11. 11
    Dddiva says:

    *hugs* Just wanted to say that I’m sorry something so sucky happened to y’all. Good for you for trying to focus on what good might come from this. It is definitely a time to reevaluate your priorities. I hope that something fabulous and life altering comes from this and that you guys are able to find something you are passionate about.

  12. 12
    Charity says:

    I really sorry. I know many people that have been laid off. Wishing you the best.

  13. 13
    Lia says:

    I’m sorry, not good. Ive never been laid off but my husband was out of work for 2 years and even his checks ran out so we had it rough but made it through

  14. 14
    brenna says:

    “It is amazing how tough times heighten every little mountain and magnify every little crack in a marriage.”

    How true! Any stresses always put extra stress on the marriage. If anything is bothering hubby, I can count on bearing the weight of it on my shoulders. We can go to best friends to roommates who can barely stand the sight of each other with one unexpected hurdle some days.
    The hurdles pass and happy days return. Over and Over. Then you welcome grandchildren and you know the rest.

    Sending well wishes. I hope there is a silver lining to this cloudy sky.

  15. 15
    Mariana says:

    I’m catching up on your blog, and am so sorry to hear about this! Stay positive and know that you will get through this just fine! (((Hugs)))

  16. 16
    Julie L. says:

    I am sorry about the layoff. We’ve been in as similar situation and while it was painful we came out of the other side in a much, MUCH better situation. I wish you lots of luck and courage.

    I respect that you blogged about this. You are such an amazing talent.You always seem to say things so perfectly and poignantly. Even when describing a layoff. I could only dream of being so observant, analytical and articulate.

    Best wishes and lots of hugs,
    Julie L.

  17. 17
    Al_Pal says:

    Ah, rough. Best wishes on new and better employment arriving soon.

  18. 18

    {{hugs}} I hope this transition brings new and better things you never even dreamed of.

  19. 19
    Renee says:

    Oh, Niri. Sorry to hear about this..I know things will work out.

  20. 20
    Trina says:

    Hey Niri,
    I can feel your pain. My husband has been laid off for a year now. It’s difficult at times. Keep your husband’s spirits up. It is really hard for them when they are not bringing in a paycheck. Nevertheless, today is not forever. Soon, you and your husband, like me and mine, will look back on this time, and say “remember when?” Things will get better.

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