The Laid Off Diary: Dear Diary…this sucks.

Tell Me About Your Habits
May 14, 2009, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Dear Diary:

I’ve been interviewing potential roommates from craigslist this past week. It’s been…er…fun? Nevermind my previous post about being struck with “This is the guy!” feeling that I will launch my career with and become a legend…I can’t even find the guy that will pay the rent on time, not be a complete slob, and not get my dog high. New York has too many weirdos.

I know, I know, craigslist…questionable…but that’s how we do it in New York. My current roommate is going back to school to ride out the market and is paying way too little anyway because I freaked out when I got laid off, put an ad in craigslist of the room several hundred dollars below market because I thought my money was going to all dry up and blow away now that Big Daddy cut me off. I lucked out on my current roommate though since we get along during the times we actually see each other. (but this begs the question, what kind of overindulgent A-hole was I to have such a “spacious” apartment in NYC and living alone? I was so dumb. I hope those who still have jobs are being smart about saving, unlike I was).

But now, I have to deal with people who are just coming for a “go-see” just to see what else is out there but who aren’t necessarily ready to move. In other words, they waste me fucking time.

But on the upside, somewhere between my “tell me about yourself” questions, I’m getting to know a bunch of different people (mostly dull or weird) but also some decent people who have shared with me what they do for a living or who are trying to pick themselves up after being laid off (maybe not the best thing on their part to share with a potential roommate that you’re without an income) or who have survived a lay off and promises that life does go on. It makes me feel better talking to other people, in other sectors, who have been laid off. I’m not exactly blazing the lay off trail here so I can learn from their experiences.

Today’s potential roommate (we’ll call potential roommate “PR”) was a “go-see” and wasn’t too sure if PR was going to stay in the city after being laid off in September. After getting over my initial annoyance, I shot the shit with PR for a bit. PR said that when PR was first laid off from the business side of things, it was difficult budgeting money–knowing how much you spend, how low you can go, what you can live without, etc. PR said that for the first two months, there was no eating out, no drinking out, no movies, no nothing but slowly you learn that you can still eat out once in a while and to not feel guilty about it because life goes on. PR is still on the look-out for a job but somehow talking to PR made me feel better–a sort of unity or solidarity. I think I really enjoy meeting people because I want to know how they are living their lives and finding out how they are navigating through life…

It’s strange…when you’ve been laid off, there is no shame in being laid off. We don’t really feel all the ashamed when so many people have been laid off with us and life goes on for them. It’s only sitting on that cusp, in that little room, staring at the computer, trying to look busy, trying to be optimistic, waiting until 7:30pm to slip out unnoticed to go home and not sure if the whispers behind the curtain of the Machine was about you and about whether your head is on the chopping block. That was dreadful. I assume it’s like being on death row and being told that D-day may or may not be “sometime” next week. Except, that’s too cruel. They don’t even do what they did to us to death row inmates. (well, being laid off is slightly different than being injected with death juice, but you know what I’m getting at…)

But through it all, being laid off wasn’t that bad. Every now and then I get a little anxiety attack about “WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE??” but I think that’s normal and that everyone SHOULD go through that. Like I said in a previous post, I think we skipped that soul searching when we entered BigLaw–but it turns out we just postponed it.

I’m not saying that there’s a reason for everything or I’m right where I should be (because I’m sitting in my underwear in the humidity because it’s raining outside with a bunch of protein bar wrappers everywhere and a pringle chip can and I hope that isn’t what I was meant for) but while I’m here, I might as well amuse myself. I won’t lie though, sometimes I do just sit around and watch tv and scratch myself, but at least interviewing potential roommates gives me something to do and provides additional insight (or the creeps–did I mention there are some real weirdos in NYC??) on just life and people in general.

And, I’m still trying to figure myself out. Strange, in kindergarden, did we ever think the question “What makes you happy” would be so damn difficult to answer??

–Life goes on.

p.s. I did check my AmEx balance (which I still pay off in full every month) and it was surprisingly much lower than it has been since I started eating at home, stopped going to happy hour, and stopped buying useless crap and mail ordering shit.


7 Comments so far
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“It’s only sitting on that cusp, in that little room, staring at the computer, trying to look busy, trying to be optimistic, waiting until 7:30pm to slip out unnoticed to go home and not sure if the whispers behind the curtain of the Machine was about you and about whether your head is on the chopping block.”

BigLaw associate in Texas here, currently employed, but going through this very thing. I’ve read in so several articles that the anxiety and depression associated with fearing the layoff is worse than being laid off itself. It must be true. I know I should feel lucky for still being employed, but walking into this Office of Fear every day is about give me a heart attack at age 30.

Comment by AA

It’s true. The waiting is much, much worse than the actual lay off. I was super relieved the day I was laid off.

Comment by Beesh

I’m with you. Although I’m a stealth layoff and I’m still going to work, pretending I haven’t lost my job. It’s better than when I was afraid I’d be laid off but still a bit stressful and weird.

Comment by HP

When I was laid off, I pretty much stopped showing up. I would go in to work in jeans to work for the partners I had good relationships with until they transitioned over to someone else and then I went AWOL (well, I technically had “leave”–I had permanent leave). Everyone knew I got laid off. Then the firm came a knockin’ offering lump sum just to get me off the books since I wasn’t a good worker monkey.

My philosophy was Play Hardball–what are they going to do to me? Fire me? oh wait, they already did.

Are you going to continue working the entire severance period? It’s not so bad that people find out. I mean, it does kind of suck if you care what those gunner assholes think. All my friends were supportive, and honestly, some were a bit jealous with all the fun I’ve been having and that I’m finally FREE. There were some douches though but I can’t remember the last time I cared what a douche thought. Can you?

Comment by laidoffdiary

I did the same thing. I was told I “officially” needed to work through the end of the next week and that I could keep an office for the severance period. I came in about 2 days total through the end of the next week, wore jeans both times, and told them I had no need for keeping the office, as I wouldn’t be back. I did ask if I could keep my laptop for awhile since mine sucks, but otherwise, I was outtie.

Comment by Beesh

It’s not severance if you keep working!

Comment by Beesh

Amen! Stop showing up to work and start enjoying your severance money!! Severance is the best part of having schlepped through the b.s. that is BigLaw.

Comment by laidoffdiary

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