5 STAGES

Do I grieve for my job? Or should I say – my soon to be gone job?

Oddly enough – no. I grieve for the thing my job brings: security.

I know most people would say money. Trust me, I’m not immune to the want/need of cold hard cash (or in this case – direct deposit!). But I’m not talking material things, but I won’t lie that those can’t be nice. And I’m not even necessarily talking about house, food, heat and medical/dental benefits, though there is something to be said for all those things and the security they bring.

It should be no surprise that I’m a worse-case scenario kind of guy. It is just my nature. When you live in that world, it is hard to be disappointed. Case in point is that whole tumor issue 14 years ago.

On some levels I will always be that guy who was making $14,000 gross (!!) and living off Mega pizzas (for the uninitiated, Mega pizzas were/are individual 7″ pizzas that one could get for $0.69-0.89 – and tasted like it). Sure, I spent equal amounts of my rent and car payment on beer – so I brought on that poverty by my lonesome. Even when we got our first house almost ten years ago, it was surreal. Who’d-a-thunk I wouldn’t be a renter my entire life? Certainly not me.

Last week David and I discussed that though we loathe to admit it, we often identify with what we do for a living moreso than who we are as people. If I am out of work, what is my self-worth? What do I do with my day? There is something to be said about the security of structure – at least there is for me. …and trust me, it’s not watching Judge Judy and Ellen!

Denton and I discussed that in other jobs we made a difference. We had impact in how things ran – good or bad. When you leave in an unexpected manner you immediately begin to question your contribution – and was it all just a waste of time.

The loss of a job is still a loss. Why shouldn’t you go through the five steps of grief? Ok, not all five. I don’t really believe one goes through all five – and definitely not in the order they say:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Even with cancer I pretty much skipped Bargaining. So far, this time, I’ve missed Bargaining and Acceptance – though it’s early. Denial was a blip here. I tend to bounce between Anger and Depression.

I border on Acceptance, but it’s not there. Not yet. David has been encouraging me to take the six months and do something….anything. It is so tempting. But I go right back to security and stepping outside my comfort zone. It’s scary. Denton has been supportive in me not going back to my old department (who wants me back) if it would make me unhappy. Again, I gravitate to security – at this point for the household. Everyone has been great and supportive.

I guess I’ll just take it as it comes. Today is a third interview for a job I wanted and now need. My goal for that hour today is to convey the want and not show the need. All of the sudden I hear John Lithgow and Jon Lovitz in my head from their bad SNL skit (wait….is that redundant?) saying: “ACTING!”

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