I’m definitely not the most self-aware person. I’m just not in touch with my feelings – something which my wife tells me often. So I’m starting a series to reflect on what I’m going through post-termination.
As I look back on my first month post termination, I recognize that there is a distinct roller coaster of emotion.
Week 1 – Excited Anticipation Inching Up to the Top
After the initial surprise and dismay at getting that phone call, when my last day came I felt complete exhilaration. I really looked forward to embarking upon a new stage of life. A world of possibilities was open to me!
Do you remember that nervous excitement you had right when you graduated college and about to start your first job?
Yes, it was just like that.
After sending the classic good-bye email to my closer colleagues, I was constantly fielding calls and questions from them about what happened. Many of them were worried for their own careers. Some were curious about my future plans. Energy was high.
And I needed that energy to do a ton of paperwork to follow up on: COBRA selection, final expense reimbursements, getting requisite letters for documentation, etc.
And having been on the other side of the transaction, I knew not to leave things to chance. Administrative staff, already overworked, are more likely to let things slip for terminated employees compared to current employees.
Weeks 2-3 – Fear and Trepidation As I Look Down
But the excitement and euphoria began to fade.
Even though much of the paperwork still needed to be finalized, there was only so much I can do besides quickly respond to emails and wait for a response.
During this time, I was also gearing up for the job search. I went to city-sponsored career centers, talked to resume counselors, attended career fairs, and I even had an interview.
This was when the fear and trepidation started to grow. There were extremely long lines at the career fairs, people starting to line up an hour early. And this is during a time of extremely low unemployment!
People had worried and anxious looks on their faces. Some told me they had been searching for the past 3-4 months. The open positions were overwhelmingly hunter sales roles – high volume, high turnover. I could feel the stress in the room, and it made me feel anxious.
It actually got to a point where I would feel stress after I got home. I even started applying to job openings for similar roles that I had before. I started feeling depressed that the likelihood of actually getting a response was so incredibly low.
Week 4 – Letting Go and Enjoying the Ride
But then something happened during my fourth week.
I remembered all that I had been doing and my own why of FI.
I remembered that my wife and I had been training for years to get to this point. Albeit, my separation from my employer came a bit earlier than expected.
I remembered that time – which is really a measure of my mental and physical energy – is the only truly non-renewable resource I have.
I remembered the last time I had a major tumult in my career life. Despite the stress, it led to moving to China, meeting my future wife, and traveling to nearly every country in Asia.
So I was able to relax a bit and feel the rush of exhalation.