So…. You’ve Been “Notified” NOW WHAT?

First, let’s just get it out of the way – I’m sorry you were notified.  I do know exactly how you feel because I went through it all already.  I was notified, searched frantically for another internal position, felt humiliated as I applied for positions several levels below my current level and could not even get an interview despite being absolutely over qualified for every job I applied for.  That totally sucked.  There’s just no sugar coating it.

I have a family to support, and I was the bread-winner.  This was the SCARIEST thing that ever happened to me, and to my family.  I worked for the company for 31 years.  I entered as a kid, I left at age 49.5.  Landing on the surplus list broke my confidence, stole my identity, took my family’s income away — all for no good reason.  

I left, very unceremoniously, the place that I once was so proud of, only now I had such mixed feelings.  Not wanting to amputate that part of my life, yet hating the company for doing this to me. I had been loyal.  I was smart and hard-working.  I achieved good things.  I was promoted many times.  

Even now, every year, on the “anniversary” of my off payroll date… it still stings.  Since my layoff was right around Christmas, every year, with fewer things under the tree for my kids it felt like another stick in the eye.

Now that we got that sob story out of the way (every word of it is true), know that the only reason I tell the story here is to let you know – I get it.  We all get it.  I’ve been there, everyone else here as been there.  You are NOT alone.  I’ve felt everything you are feeling now.  So the good news is – there are people here who can help you, guide you, and offer our collective experience as a helping hand for you in a difficult time.  One of the things I realized going through the process is how much I thought I understood (from seeing others go through it) and realizing how much I really DIDN”T understand until I’ve been through it.  Spouses don’t get it either.  Sad, but true.  It’s like having kids, you can’t quite adequately describe it to someone who has never done it.

Expect to go through the stages of grief – this is a loss

Expect to go through the formal stages of grief! Believe it or not — especially if you’ve worked at AT&T for a long time — you may go through all the stages of grief, very much like when someone close to you dies:

  • Shock & Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

It may even take way longer than you expect to go through these stages.  You kind of think that once you are officially “cut” then you start your new life.  It’s not necessarily like that. Several folks report feeling “lost” several months after their off payroll date. Some are so sad they find it hard to even get out of bed.  This is normal.

If you expect this to happen, somehow it makes it a little easier, because you can forgive yourself for feeling this way.  It’s a process.  Also knowing others have gone through it, and others ARE going through it at the same time as you are also helps. Misery does love company. Try to find and connect with others if it helps.

Eventually, just as when you dig a hole in the sand, the side starts to flow into the hole and the tiny particles just fill the hole, “stuff” will start to fill your mind, your days, your time, and you’ll find yourself focusing on other things. You’ll “miss” Q less. You’ll laugh when you realize you haven’t been in Outlook for xxx-weeks or months.

Some helpful suggestions – make plans for the very next day – your first day of being unemployed.  Any kind of plans.  Have a reason to get up, get dressed and go do something.  Volunteer somewhere, make an errands list, whatever.  Just have something to do.

There is life after AT&T