I got laid off yesterday. Two of our three offices were closed, leaving 80 of us unemployed. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do the day you get laid off, but I’m certain of what not to do.
I need to not go home just yet. I need something practical to do. My body is too tired to exercise. My voice is too shaky to call anyone. After carting boxes down to my car and turning in my laptop and badge, I make a list. A list of things to stock up on while I have money.
And so I find myself wandering around Walmart, loading up on paper towels, dish detergent, and toilet paper. As if these things will become out of my reach in the months to come. I think I’m being practical. Maybe I am. If so, practicality is overrated.
Do not go anywhere near a Walmart the day you get laid off. First, everyone else wandering the store on a Tuesday afternoon is also laid off. Then there’s the gut-deep fear that a blue vest and nametag will be my next uniform.
I should have followed the advice of one of my colleagues. Just after our layoff meeting, we stood in my cube awkwardly, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, he sighed. “I’m going to Denny’s for a Grand Slam and then I’m taking a nap.”
— Kim Baker
Former employee of PLATO Learning, Inc.
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