Getting laid off is a bit like announcing you have cancer. Some people just nod their heads when you tell them you are okay, although you can see their inner dialogue is saying, “poor dear, I hope she makes it through this”. All attempts at explaining why this is a good thing in your life fall on deaf ears and your ability to have a normal conversation seems to evaporate.
If you’re the survivor of lay offs, I understand the reluctance to talk with people who went through that experience. Perhaps there is a fear that the lay offs are contagious, and they will be next, maybe it is a renewed focus on work so that there is no excuse to put their position on the line. In the back of my mind though, I had hoped that after working with some people for ten years, I would at least get a phone call…or even a lunch date. Something to acknowledge all the long hours we worked together and the projects we struggled on. Even if it is for closure on both parts.
I’ve only received a couple of emails. Brief, polite almost a cursory attempt at acknowledging my empty desk. Last week, one former co-worker saw a job announcement she felt would interest me. Instead of sending it directly, she sent it to someone else to forward onto me. As if an intermediary would ensure that she would be unaffected by any contact with me. In comparison, I’ve run into other people in the office who openly smile and embrace my presence.
It hurts, this avoidance, but it also drives home the fact that I was in the wrong place for far too long.