Layoffs 3.0: Exhilaration, Fear, Exploration, Community

It’s been almost a month since the Yahoo layoffs. As in any breakup, I’ve cycled through what many describe as the five stages of job loss grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, but I’m left with four feelings that I want to talk about: exhilaration, fear, exploration, community.
Exhilaration: There is so much going on out there. So many companies, so many people and so many interesting things to focus on. It’s a good time to be someone with alot of experience, a track record, and a questioning mind–in some ways, I feel the whole bright, shiny eyes thing of great opportunities–and my heads down, make it ship focus at Yahoo! was just another world(one I want to return to at some point; I love product development).
Fear: In the month, good prospects and projects have materialized, but there’s no fulltime staff job offer that came in for something that felt just right–and I realize that one way my ego dealt with getting laid off was the wish to show everyone how quickly I could land another staff job (yes, I know this is silly, it doesn’t happen that fast). The fear is of instability, of an unpredictable future, of wishing to feel secure and engaged and wanting to give myself that–and there are moments I just feel scared.
Exploration: This is the moment of infinite possibility. I can start my own thing(s), work with different sizes of start-ups, join a bigger company, focus more on writing and media, get involved with dataportability, microformats, identity, publishing standards–Having cut loose from 50 hour a week job, I get to rethink what’s next. This is exciting, but also feels hard to juggle at times–I can explore it all, but I can’t do it all.
Community: The strong ties and good will I have with the Bay area and beyond community of digerati, tech innovators, entrepreneurs, execs, media folks, etc. are really showing at this moment, as I look for the next thing or things. In some ways, we are our community, and my hope is that I’ve provided value to others that helps make them so good to me-I certainly want to pay it forward…and I see how vibrant and rich our world is (and how driven we all are).
Sharing this: I thought about not posting this; after all, no one is supposed to admit they’re ever scared, right? But we all are sometimes, aren’t we?
In other words, in committing to write about my experiences post layoff, I ‘ve chosen to offer some transparency, knowing that what our social conventions keep us from admitting may be the very thing we all need to hear.
If you want to share about feelings and experiences of your own post a layoff, add to the comments here.

Latest Comments

  1. Shawn says:

    Well-stated with panache, Susan, thanks!

  2. Shenaz says:

    Just wanted to thank you for posting that!

  3. Marty says:

    Hi Susan,
    Good — and brave — of you to post your thoughts about getting “let go” from Yahoo. I’m sure a lot of people go through the same feelings and even if they don’t admit them, it’s only human. Yahoo’s loss is our gain, since I’m sure your insightful postings are helping a lot of people.
    Best,
    Marty

  4. Richard says:

    Thanks for sharing. Everything you are feeling sounds perfectly normal.
    Most of the people reading this blog don’t have to worry about some of the real fears facing the many unemployed and underemployed in this country: losing their homes, getting ill or having an accident without health insurance, not having money to pay for utilities or medicine or stuff their kids need for school.
    I come into contact with a lot of really poor people and also a lot of struggling middle class people who are really having a hard time in this recession.
    I think it’s important for those of us who are comparatively (incredibly) privileged to remember that our struggles, though certainly very very real, are not the struggle for survival that many people in our communities face.

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