Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventures in Rejection: And Then I Lost My Job

Picture it: 29 April, overcast skies, nearing the end of the academic year. My boss asks me for a meeting. He's never very forthcoming with information, so I don't know what the meeting is about, but I text a friend and say, "I have a feeling I'm going to come out frustrated at best, jobless at worst." My friend thinks I am joking when I say this, but I encounter the same situation every year.

Since the beginning of my time working at this job, my contract has never been guaranteed for renewal. Each April, I have to alert my parents to the possibility that they might need to come to North Carolina and help me move out. They're used to it by now, and they have been super-supportive throughout every contract scare. This time, though, it's no false alarm.

My boss and the head of our business office sit me down and inform me, as gently as possible, that they will not be rehiring me for the coming school year. While I'm not shocked, I can't hold back the tears, and now I'm crying in front of two senior administrators. If ever there was a "fuck my life" moment, this is it. 

You may have noticed something by this point in the post: it's not a traditional "Adventures in Rejection" entry. But stick with me, because it is about rejection, after a fashion.

Within twelve hours of receiving the news, I started packing. Before a week had passed, I signed up for new health insurance (sidebar: is surprisingly easy to use, and I'm very grateful for the healthcare marketplace). Within ten days, I had filled out a change of address form, set a moving date, and informed relevant colleagues and business contacts of my departure. Sure, my apartment was a mess while I sorted and organized everything. Of course I had moments of despair. But overall, the experience has been educational.

See, rejection--no matter the kind--teaches you a few things, both about the world and about yourself. Would I have chosen to lose my job? Absolutely not. But I would never choose to have an anxiety disorder, either, yet having one has opened my eyes in unexpected ways in spite of the fact that part of my brain has rejected me. And I hate getting dumped, but every break up has helped me grow because I examine the rejection for clues to my personality and what I can do to improve myself.

I don't recommend getting laid off (as if anyone ever has a choice in the matter). It's a horrible experience. But in the event that you do find yourself jobless, believe me: it's better to take it one step at a time and look for the silver lining, difficult though that may be to do. Rejection isn't permanent.


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