On Losing My Job

It is strange when your whole being seems to be thrown quite dramatically upside down. And then to the side a bit. And then eventually down some sort of metaphorical but entirely real feeling gutter. It was Oscar Wilde who famously exclaimed that although he may have been lying in the gutter, he was in fact looking at the stars, a sentiment I not only feel I understand, but that I can put into practice.

I lost my job in an unfair and abrupt process. Less bothered about losing the thing that occupied my days, it was more the lack of income and place to live that has shook my entire being. Losing these elements of my existence links to losing other more deep rooted aspects; I feel I now have a lack of choices, a lack of security, a lack of agency and a lack of independence. It’s an act that was entirely out of my control, and I don’t like losing the element of control, therefore I am out of my comfort zone. It has also, expectedly, affected my self esteem and this is something I am really uncomfortable with.

I’ve never been sacked before, I like the control that comes with handing in my notice knowing I have somewhere else to be. I’ve also never been sacked for not being able to do my job, which makes it all the more confusing. The situation I currently find myself in the middle of is all the more baffling as there is no strain of logic running through its centre. Were I incapable and unable to fulfil my role correctly then this would be an entirely fair and justifiable outcome, but this isn’t the case. 

I have to regularly remind myself to not try and make sense of insane scenarios. I have a plethora of experience in this department, which my early years taught me. Me and my ex bosses could be stood in Etherow Park, looking at the duck pond and I could say, ‘Oh, look at that lovely duck’ and if they’d already decided that it was a cow, they would remain completely adamant that it was in fact, a cow. Sometimes there are people you encounter who have so much of their own stuff going on that the power of reason is simply not enough. 

I decided within the first week of unemployment that I didn’t need to understand it, rather just accept it, and I have. This doesn’t mean however, that it doesn’t hurt. I can accept something and still not like it. The thing I’m struggling with is accepting just how much this out of control act may have affected me. I may not have been in my dream job but losing it in such a confrontational and aggressive way has been massively insulting. Although I know my logic; don’t attempt to understand it, accept that that place is no longer where you needed to be, focus your attention and energy into more positive things, this can still be really hard due to the actual act itself. I constantly reinforce my positive attributes to myself. It’s really easy to get into negative thinking, especially when two people you thought were on the same page as you have behaved as if you were incompetent, but I am learning to recognise when this kind of thinking starts to take over, and have strategies to work my way out of it. What’s difficult to accept about it affecting me is that I really truly, honestly wish it hadn’t.

As in any human being, when stuff happens to me, it has a knock on effect. Not only am I feeling the consequences but so are my family, my partner and my friends. I’m used to being self-sufficient, and asking for help, or admitting that I have some giant feelings is something I find really scary, and it’s even scarier when I think it’s going to impact the one’s I love. I am ambitious, outgoing, sensible and (most of the time) rational, and the fact that at the moment my brain doesn’t seem to be functioning at full capacity is really scary. I still live at my old place of work and the psychological effects of this are, in my opinion, bigger than I’m accepting. The smallest tasks seem massive in an environment that feels oppressive and hostile, so taking those first steps towards reordering my life seem to be taking forever in comparison to how I’d normally respond. 

So, in these situations, I need to break it down. Everything I encounter is just for today, and just for today I don’t feel great and I’m still unemployed. Just for today I still have to interact with the people who sacked me in order to fully sort out me losing my job. Just for today I am not my best self. That doesn’t mean she’s gone forever. This is my third week of not having a job, my problem is I place too much importance on being busy. It’s been nice to be able to have a rest, and a bit of breathing space, as my job was extremely stressful, but now, as I know myself, I must start to get on again. So, I applied for a job on Wednesday, which made me feel good just because I managed to actually do it. For me, that was the first step to truly leaving behind this situation. I’m going to book in and complete my driving theory, therefore making me one step closer to that act of independence. I am going to concern myself less with people who do not know me, and remind myself constantly that I am not what people say I am. I will keep focussed on me so that I can be my best self towards the people around me. I will accept my feelings and I will work through them. I will not let this nonsensical act define me when in reality it is the best thing to ever happen. 

This afternoon I changed my wallpaper on my phone to a photograph of me when I am very small with my great-grandmother. She is looking at me and smiling and I am looking back at her with the purest look of joy on my face. I have put that there to remind me of the person I am. That even with all this pain and all this confusion, really, deep-down I am that little girl who loves to be around others, who gets never-ending joy from the people she loves and that simplest of acts; being alive.  

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