The healing process from a layoff, like an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service or the Securities and Exchange Commission, never quite ends.
The whole deal reminds me of something that Roger Angell of the New Yorker wrote on the occasion of the Philadelphia Phillies’ appearance in the 1980 World Series (he franchise’s first time in the big show in 65 years): Lifelong Phillies fans are like hay fever sufferers. They may feel better — but not for long.
You will feel better, too. You can talk bravely about not living in the past. You can resolve to bury the unpleasant past, too. You may even pull it off.
For a while, that is.
Mostly, you have to approach your life like a recovering alcoholic. Every day is a new opportunity to continue to make progress. If you blow it, you will fall off the wagon, succumb to the self-pity you have obliterated (or tried like hell to) and slip back into a self-defeatist, pessimistic way of life.
You have to have The Talk with yourself every bleeding day. You have to remember the wisdom of Stuart Smalley: I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me. It actually helps a lot to say it Out Loud. Honestly.
QUESTION: What do you do when you think you might slip into pessimism.
(This is a part of a series, entitled “Me! Fired at 50: Now What” in parts 1-12, of my personal essays. Full disclosure: I am not exactly 50 years old on the dot (a hint: (look to the north). But, oh yes, I was recently laid off, along with a dozen other colleagues, from my job of more than 13 happy and productive years. The news jolted my happy and relatively sane Manhattan life. I am writing about what I went through — and continue to experience now — as a way to try and help people. Maybe you are dealing with all of this financial and emotional dislocation or know somebody in the same leaky boat. Hopefully I can help.)
Jon Friedman is the author of “Forget About Today: Bob Dylan’s Genius for Re-Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution,” which Penguin published in August 2012.