Help Me To Begin Grieving My Lost Job
July 13, 2017 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Last Friday morning I received a phone call telling me was I terminated and not to commute on on Monday to my long held contracting job. There was no explanation, no feedback and no thank you (I know, they don't have to do this). I had no idea this was going to happen. Since then I have been a state of shock and pain like nothing i have previously experienced. Help me to figure out how to grieve the loss of my job. It feels a little like a death though I know its different.

I have been contracting with this customer for 21 years and with this particular contracting company for 5 and a half years. I have received consistently good feedback about my performance though I never had a formal review. Last year I told the contracting manager in order to maximize my social security, I would be retiring in August 2018. We both agreed on this. I have repeatedly requested that he be transparent about the plan to replace me as I have a lot of institutional knowledge I could share. This never happened,

Right now I'm still in shock. I contacted 15 of my co-workers on facebook. They were all surprised as they had not been informed. 1 of them volunteered to try to find out the backstory. She has not gotten back to me.

I am a natural procrastinator and believe that still will usually work out given enough time. That being said I am at a complete loss as how to move forward.

At my age (68) it seems working somewhere else is not a easy option. I have some savings but my financial plan has been destroyed.

I have friends who seem as shellshocked as I am now, after their son died unexpectedly in a construction accident. Will I be stuck in this grief a long time? Should I try to change/fix things or let it happen at it's own time and speed?
posted by Xurando to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, I can only imagine how shocked and upset you must be! You contracted with that customer for nearly as long as I've been alive.

It's okay to take some time to not do anything productive as you heal a bit. You don't have to redraw your financial plans right now, or think about picking up other work, or anything. You can (and should!) watch mindless TV and eat ice cream for a few days, or do whatever it is that makes you feel better.

When you're out of the immediate stage, you'll be able to think more clearly and some ideas for what to do next will come to you. But for now, you don't need to do anything more than survive and heal.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:27 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Take some time to do self care. It is a shock, but maybe in a few weeks or months you can put yourself out there as a consultant.

I don't know what your contract looks like, but most of the ones I've read and rejected lately had excessive non competes and non solicitation periods; ensure you don't run afoul of those.

As for the abrupt termination... the other reason I walked away is because that is becoming quite common in the US. Check out Glassdoor and other employee review sites - you may not be the only one this is happening to. And check your contract before posting about your termination, even anonymously--- one stated I wasn't allowed to blog about or review the company or their client or add work done for them to my portfolio without written permission from the contract company.
posted by tilde at 3:50 PM on July 13


Jesus, that's awful. I am so sorry. It is totally valid that you are reeling.

Priorities are first: rent/mortgage, food, medical/car insurance, the bureaucratic stuff---figure out where those are going to come from and enlist someone to help you if you are overwhelmed. Just write them down as a first step.

Secondarily, the emotional part: I can imagine how much this hurts and I understand why you are grasping at deaths as metaphors--the senselessness, the lack of explanation, the suddenness. There isn't an answer for that--it will take some time. Talk about it with people, be with friends, take deep breaths. Do not do anything to damage your relationships or reputation (you may not have impulse control problems; many of us do). Get enough sleep, try to eat healthy, and if you need to spend a week (I dunno) watching a Breaking Bad marathon and eating chips and drinking beer or root beer floats, do that. Be careful with your money. Don't do anything impulsive, even if you feel like it's So Clearly Right.

I'm really sorry.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:04 PM on July 13 [6 favorites]


In these situations I tend to make lists - things I've lost and will miss, things that always annoyed me that I won't miss, things I'm grateful to have experienced, crazy ideas about what to do next (sell everything and move to Alaska, join the Peace Corp, etc .. knowing that I'm not likely to do any of those things, it's just nice to be reminded of all the options)

I'm so sorry. I hope it starts sucking less and soon.
posted by bunderful at 5:11 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


I agree about giving yourself time to process. Sadly I've experienced similar terminations more than a few times and it has left lingering anxiety...

On the when your ready bright side if you have 20+ years in a job done by contractors the likelihood of finding a one year contract is better than, say, looking for a new full-time permanent gig. Reach out, other places may need someone willing to provide short term cover (e.g., maternity/paternity leave, short term disability, sabbatical or the like). And remember your MeFriends for support!
posted by billsaysthis at 5:15 PM on July 13


So, such cases are always challenges even to bring and never get you back everything you've lost, but it sounds as if you may possibly have been the victim of illegal age discrimination. You may want to consider your options. You don't have a lot of time to bring a claim.
posted by praemunire at 5:59 PM on July 13 [12 favorites]


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