The waiting really is the hardest part.
When I was laid off from Boeing it didn’t seem real. Corporate headquarters was moving to Chicago and many of us were not invited to go with it, not that I would have due to family responsibilities here. But there were several months between the announcement and the date that I actually handed off my job to my replacement in Chicago. Because of the long wait it somehow didn’t seem real that job would actually end. I prepared as best I could and I was always aware intellectually of the end date, but I didn’t feel it. I had to wait and wait. In the end it still felt like a surprise.
By contrast, my second layoff was quite quick and easy to believe in. With the economic troubles of 2009 the company was in difficulties and my workgroup had already been dropped to part time hours. When I was laid off I was told it was happening and had my few remaining personal items at the desk packed and out the door with me about 15 minutes later.
This time the gap between announcement and my end date was about 2 months. I like having the time to make sure I can hand off my job properly and make sure all my procedure documents are fully up to date. I also like having a few extra paychecks to plump up my bank accounts. At the same time it does feel a bit unreal having to balance between continuing the work, training someone else to do it and preparing to let go and leave. As one of my coworkers said “I wish I could just leave now and get on with my life.” Of course if we leave early we forfeit the severance, so that isn’t happening. Instead I have to keep reminding myself to keep up with the balancing act.
In a way the job end date is like the whale just starting to surface in the distance. When you first see the spout it is hard to tell if it will breech or just break the surface and sink down again. You just have to wait for it.
One month to go. Back to my preparations…