You’ve probably lost a job before. I have. I’ve lost a lot of jobs, in fact, but never big jobs. Until now. I just lost my first big job. My real job. A career, if you will. A job I assumed I would leave one day on my terms after I was ready to retire to a quiet island paradise where monkey butlers would serve me drinks and scare away beach bums in between clandestine tree diddles.
This is the dream.
At school, they barely prepare you for the idea of work, and even if they do, it’s for getting work, not losing it. Losing work is bullshit. No one tells you how to manage that. You’re not supposed to lose work. Our entire schooling system is structured around the premise of equipping you with valuable skills. Obviously, if you succeed, you’re a success. To fail means fuck you. You should have tried harder. But when you lose a job for reasons that have nothing to do with your performance, then … well … fuck … Here are a few things to know, I guess.
#4. Reasons Don’t Matter
My contract with my employer was what they call “at-will,” which meant that at any time, either of us could have exploded in madness and walked away for no reason whatsoever. I only agreed to those terms because they were giving me money, which in turn assured I had a home and food and stuff. If you’re willing to pay me, I’ll probably let you slip all kinds of crazy shit into a contract. You want an annual butt-fingering up to the second knuckle? It might require a Christmas bonus, but sure. Write it down.
I’ll earn that Jelly of the Month Club subscription.
At the end of the day, though, at-will employee or not, who cares why you lost your job? You still lost it. Being let go because of infrastructure changes is more or less the same as being let go because you shit in the lunch room fridge. Maybe the first instance will net you a better reference for later on, but that’s all.
You don’t want to focus on why you were fired, because it does nothing for you. Were you persecuted by an asshole manager who had it in for you until they finally broke you? That sucks balls too, but forget it. Unless they framed you or some shit. In that case, sue them six ways from Sunday. But assuming your firing wasn’t illegal, just let it go. That’s the best way to move into a new job. The bitterness, anxiety, and fear from losing your job makes you kind of weak and jittery and not in a good head space to find new work, which is what you need to do. Best to pretend you quit because you realized your old job was holding you back from becoming El Sexorcismo Royale, the world’s foremost paranormal Mexican wrestler / sex idol.
One of these people is Cracked Editor Adam Tod Brown. The other is El Sexorcismo.
Or whatever it is you’re hoping to become. Fill in your own blank. But not with El Sexorcismo. That’s my thing.
#3. Powerlessness Is A Shitty Feeling
The moment HR or a teenage supervisor or a “Fuck off” scrawled in feces on an old Pop-Tart put in your locker by an anonymous source tells you you’re no longer needed, it’s a bit like ending a date with your partner gently cupping your sexual organs, twisting them, scalding them with hot pizza, and then stomping them into the small gap between wooden slats in a fence.
There really is a stock photo for everything.
You have become useless to the other party in a way you weren’t expecting, and it’s a harsh reality when it comes to sit on your face. You thought you were on the ball, skilled, and, most of all, important. Whether consciously or not, you had a feeling of importance. You were needed. But not anymore.
Realizing you’re not important, even at a job you maybe don’t care that much about, is a real shot in the goodies. The more you liked the job, the worse the feeling is. No one likes to feel unwanted. We can man up and drink a Budweiser and eat an undercooked pork chop like we don’t care, but unless you’re a sociopath of some kind, of course you care. And now what?
You can’t just blubber about not being a valuable cog in the Taco Bell corporate machine while you sit at home and gloomily masturbate to Hot Bench. You have to polish up your resume and try to find someone else you’re important enough for, while just letting that open wound fester, since you probably don’t have the luxury of time to get over your last firing.
This is the only image search result for the word “wound” I’m comfortable showing you (unless you’re paying extra, in which case get at me).
That’s the real kicker. Most of us work because we need to, not because we’re super interested in interacting with the same public which thinks Donald Trump is a real idea man. Left to our own devices, we’d build a hedge maze around all those assholes that they’d never manage to escape, but that’s neither here nor there. We can’t build that confusing hedge maze with two left turns; we need another goddamn job. We have to pay bills. There’s food to buy and light bulbs that need powering. Jesus Christ, that’s a lot of responsibility. What if the stress makes you eat, you gain a few, and you need new pants? Now it’s time for a new goddamn belt. Can you afford that, fella? Did you make a belt budget?
Fuck no you didn’t. You were still all weepy like a toddler with a skinned knee about that Taco Bell slight, so now you have to wrap an extension cord around your waist. Good luck impressing the boss at KFC with that at your interview tomorrow.
It’s at this point that you realize you’ve been playing someone else’s game of cards your whole goddamn life. You’re not the dealer, you’re just the chump with the ever-shrinking pile of chips. The dealer is Satan himself — or the guy who started Walmart. Same difference. You’re just struggling to stay above board, because the moment all those chips are gone, you’re sharing a can of stew with a dog on an old mattress behind 7-11. I’ll be fuckin’ fucked if that’s about to happen.