Okay, let’s talk layoffs. But first…
This photo was taken in Summer 2008. It was my first day at Lehman Brothers and my wife took this right as I left for the office.
Two months later, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. I was out of a job. But then I wasn’t. Barclays acquired the U.S. team. I was saved.
Until I wasn’t.
On January 14, 2009, I was sitting at my desk when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and was greeted by the head of my team. He asked me to swing by his office. I knew what that meant.
I sheepishly followed him, like a kid being escorted to the principal’s office, my heart pounding uncontrollably. He said a lot of words. I don’t remember many.
I went back to my desk and was told to call HR. They told me I had to leave the building immediately and I couldn’t talk to anyone. I had spent years taking all the “right” moves to land an investment banking job and it was over in an instant.
I couldn’t call my wife because my phone was taken from me. I drove to her office. We went on a walk. She cried. I told her everything was fine and I’d find a job in a few weeks.
I was wrong. It took more than four months. Not that long in the grand scheme of things, but an eternity to someone who’s full-time career was all of six months.
That period of unemployment was brutal. Self doubt. Rejection. Anger. Depression. I went through it all. It took years to recover from the setback.
In hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened to me. But those words ring hollow to someone getting kicked in the stomach.
To those who’ve been laid off recently, I feel for you. I’ve been there. It’s really hard. It may get harder.
I’ve written a lot about this topic. Here’s an article I wrote for The Muse that goes deeper: How to Bounce Back After You Lose Your Job (and Feel Like the World’s Ending)
I hope the piece brings you some comfort and support. You’re more than your job. You’ll bounce back stronger than ever.
(This was originally posted on LinkedIn)