I got fired Monday. Nobody made a big deal. It wasn't a blaze of Rebel DJ Glory. I simply got off the air, got called into a room with the GM and Human Resources and told that my services were no longer required. I was given the option to resign, but let's not kid ourselves, shall we?
I couldn't say anything. I packed my junk: books, CDs, notes from interviewees and listeners and coworkers, various accumulated knick-knacks -- put four years of my life back into my van and headed home.
And then I called my wife, got on the computer, and went into professional DJ mode: sent messages to colleagues and contacts and let them know I'd been shown the door and was now officially, for the first time in over nine years, "on the beach*." I searched radio jobs in the area (my wife has a great job, and moving isn't really an option) and updated my resume. Went outside, quietly celebrated my first ever firing (literally first ever) with a cigar, because it seemed like the thing to do, and prayed that God would show me what His plan was. Applied to two jobs that seemed like a good fit.
Those were my first four hours of unemployment. Things slowed down considerably after that.
Yesterday, my first full day of unemployment, was depressing. It was gray and rainy. My left hand ached with arthritis. I saw the kids off to school, which was nice, grabbed some coffee and... sat. I did manage to get industrious for a little while and went back into "unemployed professional" mode. Which mostly consisted of updating my LinkedIn profile and making contact with more colleagues to inform them of my newfound free agency. In a fit of aggressive optimism, went shopping for interview clothes and found out that if fat guys want dress shirts, we have to pay more than twice what "average" people do. So that was nice. My optimism dwindled swiftly.
Time moves differently when you're unemployed. When you have a job and are merely looking for an upgrade, you understand that job applications take some time to get into the right hands. That they have to be sorted, and gone over, and moved into piles. That it could take weeks before anyone even gets back to you with a "thanks but no thanks" or a "let's talk." In unemployment time, every phone call that isn't from a prospective employer is another reminder that you're waiting. Another reason to ask, "am I good enough?"
Because, no matter how big and strong your ego -- and in this business, they grow them pretty tough. Sampson tough. -- getting fired is a blow, and every minute you're not talking to someone who's telling you that you sound like a great fit for their organization just weakens it that much more.
And that's really what this all boils down to: Getting fired sucks.
Losing a job you loved, with people you truly enjoyed working with -- and getting the news from management you genuinely respect that you're just no longer a fit for their organization -- sucks.
So, it's 4am, the start of my second full day of unemployment.
I should be getting ready for work right now.
*("On The Beach" is a broadcaster euphemism for "unemployed." It... sounds nicer than it is.)