I just got restructured – and I don’t care what anyone tells you – business is personal. People say otherwise, but they live in an incongruant world where they follow up “Don’t take it personally” with “Business is all about relationships”. Business is personal, our lives are a big mixing pot. And so being impacted in restructuring hurts you, it causes a stumble, a pause, where you wonder what’s wrong with you.
But just a pause for most, when you pick up the pieces and move forward to something better (while occasionally looking back and thinking “those bastards” and eating lots of grilled cheese sandwiches).
The worst thing about getting laid off is the telling other people. You have to cause impact to ALL of your relationships. Spouse, family, mentors, close friends, personal and professional suppliers, customers, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances and strangers. And that piece of information changes the dynamic of that relationship – you get all sorts of reactions (kind and otherwise – overt and below the surface), but always changing the other person’s perception of you and your relationship with them.
This played out yesterday when I was enjoying the new found freedom of being able to get my haircut during the day on a week day. My stylist – who I struggle to chat with to begin with because I am intimidated by his hipness (let’s not delve into that issue within my psyche today) – asked me “So, not working today? Day off?”. This was his attempt to get conversation rolling – a safe bet normally.
I am sitting there getting my $80 haircut when he asked me that. Yes, I know, one does not *need* $80 haircuts, but if I have to have all of these conversations with everyone, I am going to at least look well groomed, attractive and in control. It is bad enough I have to now forgo eyelash extensions, manicures, and facials, but I am not going to give up on my hair. (as I write this, I am realizing the impact to the Vancouver economy my termination is causing and I apologize to my “team” for the impact to their business – Christmas is cancelled everyone.)
I hesitated when he asked, tried to get the right combination of strength/humour/wistfulness in my voice when I answered “Yes, in fact I have every day off now. I was laid off a couple of weeks ago”. He didn’t handle it well, he got paralyzed between showing appropriate sympathy, wondering if I am embarrassed/sad/angry and not knowing me well enough to ask further questions for details. Further attempts at conversation for the rest of the haircut petered out pretty quickly. Awkward silence was thankfully eventually interrupted by the blow dryer.
That went well. Only 499 more conversations to go.
February 16, 2016 Extra-Ordinary: I still tipped the same amount I always do – unemployed or not, I didn’t want anything to change. Plus he does a great job – my hair is pretty dope (do the kids still say that?)